Summary: Laurent Cantet’s films tackle burning political and social issues, giving him a central place in French cinema. He films the actors and actresses together and thus develops an extremely precise and sensitive dialectic between individuals and groups. From Human Resources (2000) to Arthur Rambo (2021), he observes society straight in the eye, without giving lessons, offering keys to understanding the modern world in all its complexity.
If the name of Laurent Cantet was discovered by the general public at the time of the release of Between the walls (2008) which allowed him to obtain the Palme d’Or, his filmography was already rich in several productions which had affirmed the singularity of an audio-visual writing whose acuity is still affirmed today with Arthur Rambo (2021). film critic at Unbreakable and at Three colours, Marilou Duponchel introduces this book of interviews in a very beautiful way by returning precisely and concisely to all the facets of Cantet’s work. From major themes to staging issues, including the characterization of roles and the dramaturgical treatment of spaces (and eras), the author points out the originality of an approach that was able to assert its independence while managing to adapt to the contingencies of each production. This concern for precision is also what determines the quality of the conversations led by Quentin Mével, general delegate of Acrif. Going back to Cantet’s first short films (All at the demo  ; beach games ), the dialogue highlights the lucidity of a work of uncompromising flexibility. Aware of the durability of the issues that run through his filmography, Cantet does not hesitate to adopt the approach of self-analysis. Describing his way of guiding and letting himself be carried away by his actors and his scripts, the director takes care to recall the importance of his creative collaborators in the development and formatting of his projects. It is alongside its scriptwriters and its chief operators, but also its decorators, that the encounter between the real and the imaginary can be established.
Playing an essential role in the case of a historical film like Foxfire (2013), Cantet’s emphasis on the believable holds true for his fact-based dramas. The accomplishment of The timetable (2001) andArthur Rambo rests less on heavy documentation than on the way in which the reality of the characters was approached. refusing to sign biopicsCantet considers the real as the fruit of a work on the wire, which is constructed both during filming through the reality of situations born during rehearsals and improvisations and during the editing phase which drives the rhythm. final work.
Above all, the filmmaker impresses with his desire to maintain the possibility of change within the different stages of his creation. Open to the random and to the possibilities offered by the discovery of a new environment, the cinema of Cantet affirms a power of adaptation which refers both to the raw material of many of his productions and to the way in which the filmmaker manages to seize the voices of those who accompany him. This capacity also crosses the form of this small work which through the simple dialogic exchange manages to restore the choral value of a filmography unique in its kind.
- LAURENT CANTET. THE SENSE OF COLLECTIVE
- Authors: Marilou Duponchel and Quentin Mével
- Editions: Playlist Society
- Collection: Interview / Cinema
- Release date: February 22, 2022
- Languages: French only
- Size: 144 pages
- Prices: €8 (print) – €5 (digital)
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Book / Laurent Cantet, the meaning of the collective: criticism | CineChronicle