Each time she goes to Arles, Fanny Molins returns to the Atlantic. Without a device, without a specific goal. From one round trip to another, an intimate relationship is soon formed with Nathalie and Jean-Jacques. The idea of a film takes shape around the disappearance of these bars, with the desire to individualize these regulars who are sometimes referred to collectively as bar pillars. She wants to talk about them without talking about their alcoholism. “Which is nice,” she said, amused by her Puritan reflex.
It revolves around its subject, first focusing on Sandro, the 17-year-old son, to tell the dreams and desires of this young man with life ahead of him, and put them in confrontation with the dreams and desires of those who look older than their age and who have their lives behind them. “But I made an amalgam between ‘dream’ and ‘desire’, she says sorry, I had a somewhat bourgeois projection of the definition of the word ‘dream’. »
Above all, over these three years, she slowly becomes aware of what constantly brings her back to bars: she grew up with the mood of alcoholism somewhere among her relatives. This is where her obsession comes from, why she seeks to shift her gaze to alcohol, in contact with those who talk about it without taboos and answer the healthy question she seeks to resolve: do we drink to remember to his wishes?
On the set, his camera navigates between the regulars, filmed in close-up, with their banter and their faces as exits from Verneuil’s films. Humanism between Frederick Wiseman and Raymond Depardon, she films them without overhang, nor complacency. Matter of respect. One replays an old robbery or explains how he cheats at cards with his tattoos on his fingers while another writes poems allegedly copied on Google and confides that he enjoys being taken for an idiot by others, because that is his way of existing. During filming, the bar is put up for sale, but in the end there is little question of it. “Nobody tells them who is buying and they have to manage to understand, continues Molins. We theorize the phenomenon of gentrification, but they are not thesis, it’s something they live, not something they talk about. Jean-Jacques sings, Sandro celebrates his birthday and Nathalie confides with lucidity about her alcoholism. Several times, the landlady challenges the filmmaker, who never appears on screen. “You don’t understand, I’m going to explain something to you. “From these hours of conversation, she drew “saving” conversations: “When one seeks an intensity of life, one wants to go to the borders of life, she says. There’s something quite deadly about it, but I find it beautiful. »
Fanny Molins is surprised that journalists talk to her about modesty, or note the absence of voyeurism in her film. Of course, she had been warned: be careful not to fall into the episode Striptease, stop at the “fair” or the “social zoo”. “I don’t know what to think about it,” she says. It implies embarrassment, but I don’t see how you can rationally avoid voyeurism. The approach I have is part of a friendly relationship, it’s a naive bet. “The proof that cinema can also be a matter of sincerity, even during a festival…
Atlantic Bar by Fanny Molins, in cinemas soon.
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Fanny Molins, the Palme to drunkenness