A bright start for Charlotte Le Bon in Cannes

We meet Charlotte Le Bon and her young actors on the terrace of the Hôtel Carlton, which overlooks the sea. Today is her day. The Quebec actress, graceful and simple, based in Paris, had the honors of the Directors’ Fortnight for her first feature film Falcon Lake. This delicious chronicle of teenage love, sunny, poetic, modest and unusual, is well received here, for its sensitivity and crazy charm. Early reviews are enthusiastic. The official screening was vigorously applauded. In 2018, Cannes had already presented his short film Hotel Judith in a darker section. This time, the filmmaker feels dubbed by the big festival, in consecration. “Especially since Paolo Moretti, the general delegate of the Fortnight, did not know me and chose the film without a priori”, she underlines.

Artist in visual art, drawing and photography, performer: her cinema lessons she will have taken on the sets with often recognized filmmakers, Michel Gondry (The foam of the days), Jalil Lespert (Yves Saint Laurent), Laurent Tirard (Asterix in the service of Her Majesty) and, in the United States, Terry George (The Promise), Lasse Hallstrom (The Hundred Foot Journey), Robert Zemeckis (To Walk the Clouds).

Jalil Lespert had advised Charlotte Le Bon to read the graphic novel A sister, by Bastien Vivès, on this strange transition to adulthood, with poorly managed sexual urges. “For my feature film debut, I needed to start from concrete material and start from a structure. With her co-writer, she decided to put it in her hand. “Our first two versions of the script were rejected by SODEC. The film took almost four years to make. »

When she came up with the idea of ​​inserting a ghost, a lake monster, and a familiar atmosphere of weirdness into her psyche, it all clicked into place. “Films of coming of age, there are plenty. To infuse them with a singularity, it is better to use your own experiences. »

The universe of Falcon Lake, which Vivès located in Brittany by the sea, she transplanted it to the Laurentians, a region where she spent the summer in her young years and which marked her own career. A summer, a vacation, shadows full of mystery. The beautiful teenager Chloé (Sara Montpetit) and Bastien, a younger boy (Frenchman Joseph Engel), smell each other, have fun, desire each other, manipulate each other, discover each other in scenes full of salt. Monia Chokri embodies Chloé’s mother with aplomb.

For a long time, the actress has been burning to tell her own stories. Being filmed by male filmmakers who only fantasized about her femininity exasperated her. “I had disappointments, frustrations,” she admits. They had ready-made ideas. I was the lover. So I wanted to create a girl character that wasn’t super feminine, that she could dress up as a ghost. »

Giving yourself the limelight, however: no thanks! “I admire those who, like Monia Chokri, can act and direct, but acting requires vulnerability, and directing a set, just the opposite. »

Charlotte Le Bon tastes the ambivalence of Quebec landscapes in summer. “Nature has absorbed the snow. The waters are black. There is a death hovering. Lakes are more mysterious than the sea. There are monsters at the bottom. »

She wanted to render this age when the boy experiences his puberty with its troubles and its humiliations. “Chloé has one foot in adolescence, the other in adulthood. Bastien evolves between childhood and adolescence. Chloe feels distressed by the sexier looks of older men. A young person seems less threatening to him. She has an ascendancy over him, then realizes that he can dance, impress her. At this age, we test ourselves socially, sexually. All my memories of adolescence are cruel. I put myself in the position of the two characters, having known the role of the lover in love and the one who hesitates to commit”, explains the filmmaker.

When she chose Sara Montpetit, Maria Chapdelaine by Sébastien Pilote, where she stars, had not yet been released. The 18-year-old actress responded to an online ad, and the filmmaker liked her natural, nonchalant attitude. It was her! Charlotte Le Bon had admired Joseph Engel in the film The faithful manby Louis Garrel, before finding him matured at 14 years old.

On Sunday, Sara Montpetit discovered Cannes and its contradictions. “I feel like I’m living in a circus,” she said. A unique, lively, beautiful and ugly spectacle. It’s vertigo. When reading the graphic novel, the actress had feared her pornographic side. But if the film offers raw scenes, Charlotte Le Bon has treated them in a sensitive and delicate way. “This shoot gave me one of the best summers of my life,” says the young actress. Sara Montpetit liked to shoot in a house with its own ghosts, in the middle of a village in the Laurentians named Gore, with a cemetery nearby, where they ate among the graves. An unusual atmosphere hovered. But Joseph Engel found it odd to discover in the end Falcon Lake a bit dark. “For me, it had been a vacation. »

This first feature film, subtle, tender and disturbing, knew how to integrate the beauty, the threat and the sounds of nature into the psychology of the characters. By inserting a magical side, Charlotte Le Bon breathed into it a soul that throbs on these initiatory holidays. As for the young performers, they are great. We welcome them to Cannes!

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