“Bunker”: youth, transition and identity | LeMagduCine

Camille Poulie publishes Bunker published by Dupuis, in the “Les Ondes Marcinelle” collection. In transition to adulthood, in search of sexual identity, in crisis of pride, his teenage characters, all cracks, find themselves during a summer that will redefine them touch by touch.

The authenticity that emerges from the feature film Between the walls, Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival 2008, is linked with the sociolectic, raw and spontaneous language used by its young protagonists, schoolchildren from the 20th arrondissement of Paris, mostly from immigrant backgrounds. The slang and filthy lexical field of Jessica and her acolytes in Bunker contributes to the same effect: Camille Poulie establishes through her intermediary a generation, social conditions and a painful transition towards adulthood and the sexual maturity supposed to result from it. Main character, Jessica is none other than a tomboy inseparable from her short hair, her sports tracksuit and her virile postures, characterized by a square and massive silhouette. She behaves like a little striker, struggles to hide her breasts and maintains power relations with the boys she frequents.

The latter also express, in their own way, a certain malaise. Antoine is complexed by the size of his sex and driven by a feeling of helplessness. Wounded in his pride, he does not hesitate to turn against Jessica and peddle all sorts of rumours, sometimes unfounded, about her. With his narcissistic pervert attitudes, he seeks to assert himself by altering the image of others. Bozo is perhaps even more pathetic, since he is the more or less willing whipping boy. Unable to stand up to others, he adopts a passive and gregarious attitude. Around them gravitate essentially functional secondary characters, from the promiscuous teenager cutting pipes in an abandoned bunker to the local cailleras, customary for outbursts and ranting. The insults fuse, the reflections remain primary, everything in Bunker is thick, trivial and dotted. It should also be noted that Camille Poulie’s graphic proposals, singular, in black and white and abrupt, are in perfect harmony with the spirit of the album. In this respect, the osmosis is total.

If the relations between one and the other turn out to be so uneven and conflictual, it is above all because each character seeks his place in a gigantic Sartrean hell. Taking place under the presidency of Jacques Chirac, Bunker is an adolescent fresco without complacency or embellishment, moored to young people from modest backgrounds, and in the midst of an identity crisis. Archetypal accusations of lesbianism (highlighted by the black “bubbles” which invest the vignettes), defied prohibitions (sex, cigarettes, etc.), crystallization of relations of domination, social and cultural stripping: Camille Poulie shows great relevance in the portraits she draws, all melted into a disenchanted, not to say sticky universe. There is a bit of Charles Burns and of David Small. And a lot of know-how.

See as well

BunkerCamille Poulie
Dupuis, October 2022, 144 pages

We wish to thank the writer of this write-up for this amazing content

“Bunker”: youth, transition and identity | LeMagduCine