A triumphthe uplifting comedy-drama from writer and director Emmanuel Courcol (In the name of the Earth, Ceasefire…), is broadcast unpublished this evening on Canal +. The story of this film, noticed at several festivals, such as Angoulême, and which was able to be financed thanks to the help of Dany Boon, follows Étienne Carboni (Kad Merad), a theater actor once in demand, but who today struggling to find work. To make ends meet, he resigns himself to leading a theater workshop in a high-security prison. Only a handful of detainees show up for class, which they see as more of a fun break. But as Étienne discovers their potential, he begins to dream bigger. After a few conclusive tests, he decides to stage with them the famous play “Waiting for Godot”, by Samuel Beckett, to have them perform in a real theatre. We still have to convince the prison authorities… Inspired by a true story, this film takes the viewer on a moving, funny and jubilant human adventure, embodied by remarkably fair actors (Pierre Lottin, Sofian Khammes, David Ayala, Lamine Cissokho, Wabinle Nabie…)
Based on an amazing true story
Emmanuel Courcol chose to situate, nowadays and in France, a story that happened in Sweden in the 80s. The director discovered it a few years ago, through his producer, who made him discover a documentary entitled The Prisoners of Beckett. This related the adventure of a director named Jan Jönson, who had staged the play “Waiting for Godot” in a prison environment. “The show was so successful that they went on tour, until the rather hair-raising ending at the Royal Theater in Gothenburg”relates Emmanuel Courcol in the press kit.
The call of the sea (SPOILERS beware)
Of “hair-raising outcome”, it is indeed a question! But let’s go back to the beginning of this story. In 1985, the actor and director Jan Jönson was asked by the director of the high security prison of Kumla, in Sweden, to come and play in front of his prisoners. At the end of the performance, some come to congratulate him and ask him to give them acting lessons. Jan Jönson ended up bringing together five motivated inmates to lead these workshops. He offers them to put on Samuel Beckett’s play. A year of rehearsals later, the troupe presents its work at the prison, in front of an audience of three hundred people, partly made up of celebrities. The show is a triumph. Experience comes to the ears of Samuel Beckett, who sends a telegram of congratulations to the director and invites him to meet him in Paris. The troupe then received offers from several theaters in Sweden, and after long hesitation, the prison management authorized the prisoners to go on tour. During this, the prisoners once again taste a form of freedom, and each return to their cell is all the more difficult. When they are invited by the Gothenburg theatre, they decide, just before going on stage, to run away. Some will never be taken back!
a triumph, a film to discover on Canal+