Known for his hyper-stylized and tense whodunits, such as a prophet, On my lips Where The Beat That My Heart Skipped, Jacques Audiard likes to challenge himself. Despite his ten César, his Palme d’Or and his Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, the son of the great master of good words and cult replies does not rest on his laurels. After having tried western with Anglo-Saxons with the very successful Brothers Sistersthere he is once again radically changing genre, with The Olympiads. This sentimental wandering, this amorous banter in black and white, broadcast tonight on Canal + is unlike any of his previous films. But is the film successful?
From comics to the big screen
If it bears the name of a Parisian district (and a metro station), The Olympiads is adapted from a series of comics signed by an American goldsmith of realistic chronicle and independent comics: Adrian Tomine. To adapt these little sentimental and very human adventures, Jacques Audiard, who for some signed a virilistic and very masculine cinema and who had confided in the drama that marked his life, enlisted the services of a director and screenwriter on the contrary very feminine and who has always been very interested in gender representations in cinema: Céline Sciamma, the director of girl band and sublime Portrait of the girl on fire, which blasted French cinema in the foreign press. They also wrote with another woman, Léa Mysius, noted director ofAva. Together, they sign a choral film which is interested in several characters, all living in the same district and all confronted with very modern impulses of the heart. The Olympiads thus follows the tiny but fundamental adventures of Emilie, Nora, Amber and Camille, three girls and a boy.
A catalog of talents to follow
Jacques Audiard revealed Tahar Rahim (who said he had always been supported by his mother) with a prophet and participated in affirming the talent of Romain Duris and of Vincent Cassel. Hiring the right actors for the right roles seems so easy with him. From that side, The Olympiads (shot in full containment!) is a new success. If Noémie Merlant had already proven her talent in Portrait of the girl on fire, Lucia ZhangMakita Samba and jehnny beth off to an explosive start. None should remain unknown for long (Jehnny Beth is already appreciated as a rock singer and host on Arte) so endearing are they and show great emotional depth.
Should we watch The Olympiadsthe film by Jacques Audiard?
Jacques Audiardwhose mother recently passed away, had previously played with feelings, melodrama and romance in Of rust and bone, with Marion Cotillard. But there was also all the same tension, suspense, criminal issues. This is not at all the case in The Olympiads. Hardly any sudden, breathless outbursts of violence here. What drives the characters Olympiads, these are the tortuous paths between feelings and sexuality. It is better to know that. Audiard fans might be surprised. Maybe even disappointed. But it would be a real shame to refuse the film simply for fear of the change of register of Jacques Audiard (his episodes of The Office of Legends had fans divided). Even if the narrative arcs of the film are not all equal, the whole is absolutely delicious and sometimes even moving. So, frankly, no reason to deprive yourself!
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Les Olympiades (Canal+): should you watch this atypical film by Jacques Audiard?