“Terrorism, yellow vests, Covid-19 …”: for Régis Wargnier, it is urgent that young people talk about it


The director ofIndochina, Oscar winner in 1993, chaired the jury of the fifth edition of the Semaine du Cinéma Positif. On this occasion, he confided in his wish to see a new generation of directors seize the crises which cross the French society.

“But let them tell us who these young people are!” Director Régis Wargnier, Oscar winner for his film Indochina , this year chaired the jury of the 5e edition of the Positive Cinema Week, from December 10 to 16. On this occasion, he was keen to reward young shoots of the seventh art. “This kind of festival is also used for that. Help those who are starting out», He explains. Of the four awards, two directors were crowned for their first feature film. Édouard Bergeron for In the name of the Earth , poignant film on the world of agriculture and Maryam Touzani with Adam, portrait of two Moroccan mothers united in adversity.

In an industry that drains more “called than elected», Difficult to immediately start a career with committed subjects. “It is so much easier to make a first well-crafted comedy or thriller-type film, rather than a feature film that deals with the plight of farmers., notes the filmmaker. I am very respectful to see that some dare to engage in this kind of theme.

The future of French cinema

Like his colleague Bertrand Blier, Régis Wargnier places the future of cinema in the hands of this new generation. And many tools are now available to learn the trade. “ At the time, making a film when you were 20 was complicated. You had to borrow the backup camera from the shoot you were working on, seduce assistants, edit the film, go to the lab… It took months. Now you just need a phone and a computer. It’s an incredible time saver when you have talent.

“Between terrorism, yellow vests, Covid-19 … How does it feel to live in there when you’re 20? “

Regis Wargnier

All the more reason to act. The 72-year-old director is convinced that only young people can paint a realistic portrait of the emerging concerns of society. While the pandemic has brought all activities to a halt and left room for introspection, it seems, more than ever, the time to reflect on a beautiful “generational fiction“. Where did the cinema goA world without mercy? When Éric Rochant, in 1989, aimed his camera on disillusioned young people. Where this Fury of life, teen movie par excellence of 1956, that portrayed Nicholas Ray across the Atlantic?

“In France, there is so much to say under the Macron five-year term, resumes Régis Wargnier. Terrorism, yellow vests, Covid-19 … What does it feel like to live in there when you’re 20?The director is sorry. Perhaps he does not know enough about this new generation, the one who carries the torch of French cinema. “Do we know at least what do they want? Experience, adventure, lightness? It’s up to them to say it. “Too often I see films about young people made by adults. It is a look that is too far removed from reality. It is the look of a parent on a child. This is not what we want to see.

“Too often I see films about young people made by adults. It is the look of a parent on a child and it is too far from reality ”

Regis Wargnier

“Before, going to the cinema was a reward”

Like its counterparts, the Semaine du Cinéma Positif 2020, under the aegis of the Cannes Film Festival, was held online, broadcast on the MyCanal and TV5Monde platforms. A heartbreak for all players in the sector, even if for Régis Wargnier, constraints sometimes give rise to some benefits. “You know, from the day the image entered homes, the face of the cinema changed. When I was a kid, we booked our seats weeks in advance to see Ben-hur on a Sunday afternoon. When we went to the cinema, we were amazed since there were no other places to see a moving image!

For the director, moving around in the dark rooms was “like a reward, it meant that we had worked well, it was an event.A feeling that has faded with the arrival of new technologies. So what to do? “It’s unfortunate, but I think we had to maintain this edition, even if it means doing it digitally.And then positive cinema is also defined by this: “A few hours of education, sharing and openness”, To which the Internet gives us access.

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