Presented in Cannes in 2021 and in theaters this week Ouistreham is a free and romantic adaptation of Florence Aubenas’ book, a real immersion within a group of precarious workers. Meeting with a team finally brought to light.
It is in Cannes on the Terrasse Albane of the grand hotel Mariott that the Ouistreham team was installed this Wednesday, July 7, 2021, relaxed, joyful, in its place within this world famous festival, ready to put it in the spotlight. This team is that of Emmanuel Carrère, famous novelist, back to directing fifteen years after La Mustache, thanks to the joint impetus of a determined Juliette Binoche and a Florence Aubenas finally convinced. Their film, important in more than one way, is finally released in theaters on January 12.
An adaptation that was not at all obvious
“Originally, Florence didn’t want us to adapt her book, Juliette worked on her body year after year and she ended up dropping my name, she confessed it to me afterwards, a bit like a way to I got out of the woods. I found myself getting stuck where I wouldn’t have gone on my own but if I find this great book. Sometimes luck brings you much closer to yourself than your own will “, Emmanuel Carrère tells us, himself a novelist four times adapted for the cinema.
When asked about Florence Aubenas’ initial reluctance to see her beautiful investigative work reflected in the daily life of precarious housekeepers, the filmmaker specifies: “I don’t think she was worried about disrespecting her book but disrespecting her characters, which she painted with authority and force. One of the issues in the film was to ‘have the same attention to the characters. “
By resuming his adaptation, Emmanuel Carrère added to it, necessarily, as a novelist as we have said, more inclined to mix zealous documentarism and welcome romanticism:
“Florence’s book is really a documentary, she is there as a narrator but does not expand at all on her moods because she thinks that this is not her job as a journalist. Me, I have more tendency to focus also on me as an observer. Here, then, the fictional character invented from Florence, but who is not her, finds himself embroiled in a story of friendship which includes a real moral ambiguity. “
“If you want to do what Florence is doing, you have to lie”
At the heart of the film is indeed an ethical question, when to better reveal and denounce the invisible daily life of these women, the heroine (luminous Juliette Binoche) passes herself off as one of them. . At the risk of threatening the strong bond that she will forge there on the spot, a bond immediately tinged with lies and an identity theft with which the heroine sometimes finds it difficult to come to terms. A discomfort that Carrère himself knows?
“I have already done immersion journalism but I am putting my card on the table for myself. This is not the case with Florence and if you want to do what she does, you are forced to do that, to lie. At one point for the film, I needed a dramatic stake. Even though everything is done with the best of intentions, for a good cause and the feeling is sincere, the stake emotional and the risk revolve around this friendship which is based on a lie. “
“This film is not a feel good movie on this subject, moreover: the class struggle, it exists. This world speaks of the violence of the world of work and here a fortiori the one who is at the bottom of the hierarchy, the less qualified, hard, badly paid jobs. Even if the profession of the actors does not overlap completely with their characters, the latter are well paid, or badly paid to know him precisely. This is why the film does not open on Juliette Binoche but on Hélène Lambert and closes in the same way. “
The Hélène Lambert revelation
So that his film keeps the authenticity of the documentary, Emmanuel Carrère took care to cast around Juliette Binoche non-professional actresses, overwhelmingly authentic. Among them, you will discover the aforementioned Helene lambert, heroine literally bursting through the screen from beginning to end of the film. During these rather formal interviews in Cannes, we took pleasure in seeing her bustle about in front of the media around the world. She took the time to come and talk to us, between main course and dessert, relaxed, happy to be surrounded by her fellow travelers and adventurers.
“I was cast in a ‘wild’ way, while I was in an interim box and came to hand in my hours sheet. I immediately said ‘yes, why not’, I love the unknown and attempting things. Then I read the …