Working at the Child Protection Unit involves holding paedophiles in custody, arresting underage pickpockets, but also sharing couples’ problems over lunch break. It involves auditing abusive parents, depositing children, dealing with teenagers’ sexual drift, but also solidarity among co-workers and uncontrollable fits of laughter at the most unsuitable moments. It is also knowing that the worst can happen, and trying to cope with it… How do these police officers manage to balance their private lives with the reality they face everyday at work? After The Actress’ Ball, Maïwenn once again walks the tightrope between documentary and fiction. She took the plunge after watching a documentary, and after an immersion in the Child Protection Unit. Polisse is a hard-hitting, fast-paced and thrilling film, which puts together great moments of collective bravery thanks to an accomplished cast. Daring laughter, drama, performance and emotion, Maïwenn avoids dualistic pitfalls of a sensitive, if not taboo, subject—child molestation—as well as dogmatism in her representation of cops. Competition, 2011 Cannes Festival
The adaptation of Matthew G. Lewis’ famous gothic novel, published in 1796, The Monk tells the tragic fate of brother Ambrosio in Catholic 17th-century Spain. Abandoned at birth at the gate of the Capuchin convent, Ambrosio is brought up by monks. Now a preacher admired for his fervor and feared for his intransigence, he believes himself to be free from temptation. The arrival of a mysterious novice will shatter his certitudes and lead him to sin. Crucifix, black crows, moonlit cemeteries, Dominik Moll fervidly appropriates gothic folklore to craft a picture with great visual strength in a tale favoring emotion over historical realism. Influences from 19th-century Spanish paintings (Goya, Velasquez, Zurbaran…) combined with Pedro Almodovar’s composer’s ubiquitous music make for this tale’s ideal backdrop, in which the power of dream and the unconscious ranks it with Greek tragedy. Beyond the pleasure of history and the beauty of images (from monks holding candles to close-up faces consumed by darkness), Vincent Cassel’s astounding performance, filled with subtlety and of unexpected candor, expresses the inner conflict of a man torn by his fate.