Abdellatif Kechiche: after 3 years of silence, the controversial return of the director of La Vie d’Adèle

Abdellatif Kechiche at the Cinémed Festival in Montpellier: his eventful masterclass, the ongoing controversies, his projects… AlloCiné was there and tells you.

A long-awaited and… rowdy return! After three years of media silence, director Abdellatif Kechiche (L’Esquive, Mektoub My Love…) made his very first public release this Friday, October 28, since the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

The filmmaker, awarded a Palme d’Or for La Vie d’Adèle, was one of the guests of honor at the Montpellier Mediterranean Film Festival, Cinémed, which ran until yesterday, Sunday October 30. . Several of her films were screened, and above all, a masterclass was held in front of 300 spectators, including feminist demonstrators opposed to her coming. AlloCiné was at this very lively masterclass and tells you about some of the highlights.

The filmmaker, greeted by loud applause, first explained why he had agreed to break the silence he had imposed on himself since the controversial presentation of his latest (very) feature film at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival (with a duration of 3h30), the famous Mektoub My Love Intermezzo, a film which, since that day, has never been screened again.

In addition to what he said to the public at the Cinémed masterclass, the filmmaker also confided in an interview that he regretted showing the film Intermezzo at Cannes. “I was wrong to have shown Mektoub My Love Intermezzo at Cannes.” “Intermezzo, I don’t think it was seen. Too disturbed before its projection and not finished from a technical point of view, I should never have shown it“, he launched to our colleagues from Paris Match or even Worldtwo media present at a round table, handpicked, the day before this masterclass.

If it seems that Intermezzo will therefore never be able to be screened again – in any case not in the same version as the one presented in Cannes 3 years ago -, Abdellatif Kechiche is indeed still at work, and is advancing on the sequel to Mektoub My Love, articulated in total in three parts (apart from Intermezzo), Canto Due and Canto Tre.

I hope soon the end of Mektoub

As he explained in the footage you can see below, the filmmaker says he can’t wait to finish Mektoub and bring him to the public. “They are filmed, they are editing, re-editing. I’ve been spending my time there for all these years. I did practically only that: go up, go up, try… I hope the end of Mektoub soon“When will we be able to see these two new parts precisely? It is too early to say yet. Ready in time for Cannes 2023? Nothing has been said about it, but it is a possible scenario.

About the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, Abdellatif Kechiche agreed to say a few words about the controversy generated around the screening. “I didn’t know what had happened. If I had known that they had left (Roméo de Lacour and Ophélie Bau), the screening would not have taken place.” For the record, a conflict opposes the director Abdellatif Kechiche and the agent of the actress Ophélie Bau. In question (among other things) the long sex scene with Ophélie Bau at the heart of Mektoub My Love Intermezzo (our article summarizing the conflict, as of July 3, 2019).

Brigitte Baronnet – AlloCiné

One of the signs held up in front of the Corum in Montpellier, a few minutes before Abdellatif Kechiche’s masterclass.

Then, when the meeting had started for about 20 minutes, a certain commotion began to be felt in the room. Phone ringing, hubbub…

The meeting was held under high tension, welcomed by signs and a demonstration near the place where the Cinémed and this masterclass were organized. The day before, it was rumored that the meeting might not take place, because of the insistent rumor of this demonstration.

The disturbances had barely begun, Abdellatif Kechiche asked one of the demonstrators present in the room to come and speak on stage. Note that this protester refers to a complaint dating back to 2018 (see our article here). A preliminary investigation had been opened for sexual assault and, through his lawyer, Abdellatif Kechiche had made it known that he disputed “categorically the veracity of these accusations”, “coming from a person who has found only this means to make himself known”. The investigation had been closed without further action in May 2020.

The meeting was interrupted a second time, and gave rise to tense exchanges between spectators and the demonstrators. Under pressure, the latter then left the room, throwing one last time “We get up and we break!“, in reference to the formula of Virginie Despentes, welcoming the departure of Adèle Haenel at the César 2020. In response, the filmmaker replied: “I believe that the films I make have spoken and that I don’t need to make a speech about these films to [que l’on comprenne] that everything I’m accused of is downright stupid“.

Note that the event continued outside for the duration of the masterclass. Demonstrators were still present in front of the Corum of Montpellier, at the end of the meeting. The Cinémed Festival ended yesterday, Sunday October 30, with three prizes awarded to the Tunisian film, Ashkal by Youssef Chebbi.

For the record, Abdellatif Kechiche’s latest film, Mektoub My Love Intermezzo received a very controversial reception at Cannes in May 2019, as evidenced by this video taken in the wake of the Cannes screening.

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Abdellatif Kechiche: after 3 years of silence, the controversial return of the director of La Vie d’Adèle