Cinema: Abdellatif Kechiche resurfaces and promises new films

The director of the controversial Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo was invited to Montpellier to give a masterclass. Outside, feminist protesters expressed their anger at the invitation.

Franco-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche, lost sight of for three years, is actively working on the release of the last two parts of his trilogy Mektoub My Lovehe explained this Friday in Montpellier, where his arrival aroused the anger of feminist demonstrators.

In 2019, his film Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo, which included very crude sex scenes, sparked controversy at the Cannes Film Festival. Ophélie Bau, nominated for the César for her performance in the first part of Mektoub My Love – Canto Uno (2016), had climbed the steps but had slipped away before the screening of the film.

The director, Palme d’Or in 2013 for The Life of Adelehad not appeared in public since this episode and we did not know anything about the state of progress of this film, although he promised to modify the editing to rule out shots that would interfere with his actress, such as its third installment.

“Dirty laundry is washed as a family”

“They are filmed, they are editing, reassembling. I have been spending my time there, for all these years. I have done practically only that: editing, reassembling, trying… I hope the end of Mektoub“, explained the 61-year-old filmmaker during a masterclass in front of several hundred spectators, at the Mediterranean cinema festival (Cinémed) in Montpellier, of which he is one of the guests of honor.

“I also write scripts, but I’m not sure yet which one I’m going to tackle soon in preparation, casting, etc.,” he added, suggesting that he would probably shoot again in this Occitanie region. where he “feels good”.

Before and after this masterclass, around twenty people demonstrated in front of the convention center to denounce the director’s visit, accusing him of “sexism” in his way of filming women and denouncing his working methods, which would be akin to harassment.

“The work with actors and actresses sometimes goes wonderfully well, and then sometimes it can also go very badly,” admitted the director, saying however that he prefers “dirty laundry to be washed in the family”.

Interrupted by feminist activists

Returning to the progress of the projection of Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo at Cannes in 2019, he claimed he “wasn’t aware at the time of what happened” that night: “I didn’t realize the two actors most involved in the film were gone . Otherwise, the screening would not have taken place,” he said.

A few feminist activists then interrupted him from the ranks of the public, chanting “Here too, we get up and break”, in reference to the sensational departure of Adèle Haenel during the César 2020 after a prize awarded to Roman Polanski. Invited to speak at the microphone, one of them denounced his arrival, noting in particular that he had been the subject of a complaint for sexual assault (Editor’s note: closed in 2020).

“I think you are serving the cause you are supposed to defend,” replied the filmmaker calmly. “We fight as we want,” replied the young woman.

“I believe that the films I make have spoken and that I do not need to make a speech on these films for (that one understands) that everything of which I am accused is properly stupid”, then sighed the director.

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Cinema: Abdellatif Kechiche resurfaces and promises new films