The Promises: municipal derelictions

CHRONICLE – Thomas Kruithof signs a film with stunning realism, where Isabelle Huppert embodies a mayor suddenly seized by ambition.

Since Henri Queuille, political leaders have assumed their demagoguery using his famous formula: “promises only bind those who listen to them”. In the city of Seine-Saint-Denis where Thomas Kruithof set the scene for his stunningly realistic film (The promises ), Mayor Clémence Collombet says the same thing in another way to exonerate herself in advance of her bad (non-)actions: “A broken promise is not a lie.”

Well, let’s see, as the other would say. Isabelle Huppert lends her features to this endearing and detestable character. We follow her as a woman of local power suddenly seized by ambition (here again, a promise – to become a minister – will have sufficed to excite her), alongside her director of cabinet, Yazid (Reda Kateb, exceptional, as usual), devoted pure heart but fooled by nothing. A close-up of municipal “shadow mechanics” in action. Around a project to rehabilitate a city of unsanitary, slaloming housing…

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