Original title : –
Director: Catherine Corsini
Screenplay: Catherine Corsini, Laurette Polmanss, Agnès Feuvre
Interpreters: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Marina Foïs, Pio Marmai, Aissatou Diallo Sagna
Distribution: The Pact
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Release Date: October 27, 2021
At 65, Catherine Corsini is a well-established director in French cinema. The making of his first feature film, Poker, date 1987 and The divide is his 11th theatrical feature film. Even though the director has embraced several different genres over the course of her career, there is one theme that seems particularly close to her heart: dating. After a first selection in the official competition of the Cannes Film Festival in 2001, with Repetition, Catherine Corsini has again obtained this honor, 20 years later, for what is, for many, her best film, The divide. That this film came back empty-handed from Cannes will seem incomprehensible to the vast majority of spectators unless they are aware that it was leaving with a very serious handicap: this film is very often very funny! Unacceptable on the Croisette, regardless of the members of the juries.
Synopsis : Raf and Julie, a couple on the verge of breaking up, find themselves in an Emergency Department close to asphyxiation on the evening of a Parisian demonstration of the Yellow Vests. Their meeting with Yann, a wounded and angry protester, will shatter everyone’s certainties and prejudices. Outside, the tension mounts. The hospital, under pressure, must close its doors. The staff are overwhelmed. The night will be long…
Winter 2018-2019. The divide : that within the couple formed by Raf, cartoonist of BD, and Julie, editor of BD, editor of Raf. Raf is still in love but Julie can no longer bear his behavior and announces to him that she is going to leave her. The divide : the one that Raf makes on his elbow while pursuing Julie in the street and which will take her to the hospital. The divide, the one that reigns in French society and which, in November 2018, has just given birth to the Yellow Vests Movement. The divide, that which exists between the lack of resources granted to the French public hospital by successive governments and the extraordinary dedication shown, despite everything, by the nursing staff to provide the best possible care to the sick. The divide, the film of Catherine corsini who has decided to take head on, in one and the same film, all the variations of this word whose definitions range from “breaking a bone” to “cleavage within a group”, a task that seems a priori insurmountable but which the director performs with exceptional brio, making a copy which is at the same time moving, very informative and funny, very funny!
Emergencies, the ideal place
Wishing to make a film on what is happening in French society today, a film focusing in particular on social fractures, Catherine corsini couldn’t come up with what, for her, might be the best way to approach these themes. On December 1, 2018, a fall that brought her to the emergency room of the hospital Lariboisiere gave her the answer, an obvious fact then imposed on her: the Emergency Department of a hospital is the place, for example, for bringing together people from totally different, even antagonistic, social backgrounds. What is more, the hospital is a characteristic and often tragic example of the sad state in which, for lack of means, most of the public services in our country find themselves. Where, other than in a hospital emergency room, was it possible to meet Raf, a nicely bobo comic book designer, and Yann, a truck driver who came from Nîmes to Paris as part of his work and who took advantage of it? to participate in a demonstration of yellow vests during which he was injured by the police? Make them meet, make them discuss, make them insult each other, bring them closer, make them understand each other. The hospital, a place of improbable encounters but also a place of appeasement: when a couple is in crisis and a member of this couple finds themselves in the hospital, the conditions are often met for that to settle, at least temporarily, a truce in the conflict. This is how Julie, who we saw at the beginning of the film, being showered with text messages filled with anything but kind adjectives from Raf, puts her resentment in her pocket and her handkerchief on top in order to take care of that. who, after all, is still his mate. As for the description of a completely overwhelmed Emergency Department, it is (unfortunately!) Almost documentary, with the lack of beds and the lack of staff, but also the unfailing dedication of this staff, embodied here by the nurse Kim, able to chain 6 consecutive guards to replace those who, for budgetary reasons, are not there.
The divide could have been only a particularly informative and intelligent film on the problems of the public hospital following the policy deliberately carried out for years by the successive governments as well as on the social divide which gave birth to the movement of the yellow vests. Instructive, also, on police violence. And touching when he approaches the field of human relations. All of this would have been enough to make The divide a particularly recommendable film. But that’s not all : The divide is also a film with a particularly well-paced editing and which offers viewers a very large number of scenes of irresistibly funny, thanks, in particular, to a Valeria Bruni Tedeschi absolutely breathtaking.
You will understand that The divide is a totally inspiring film. This film was in competition at the last Cannes Film Festival and it left empty-handed. Why do you think? A question, in response to your question: apart Mash, Palme d’Or in 1970, have you seen other Palmes d’Or at the sight of which we often laugh out loud? It was a foregone conclusion: although it was the only really exciting film in the Selection of films in competition and despite all its qualities, The divide could not claim to leave with the Palme d’Or and, as long as it was awarded to a director, the jury chose to reward Titanium, perfect mix of stupidity and mediocrity. But then, why not an Interpretation Award? The Interpretation Prize was awarded to Renate reinsve, the Norwegian actress from Julie (in 12 chapters), which, in itself, is not a huge scandal, just a flagrant injustice, as this Prize should have gone to Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. Or, why not, together with Valeria Bruni Tedeschi and Aissatou Diallo Sagna, nursing assistant by profession, chosen to play the role of nurse Kim and who turns out to be an excellent actress. By their side, Marina Fois and Pio Marmai perform very well in the roles of Julie and Yann. Note that the photograph is the work of Jeanne Lapoirie, the very one who, thanks to her talent, had been the only one to save from a complete shipwreck Summer visitors, the pitiful film of … Valeria Bruni Tedeschi.
When we talk seriously about serious subjects such as the decay of the public hospital, the social divide and police violence, it is not forbidden to lighten the subject by accompanying these words with beautiful slices of a perfectly assumed comic. . This is the choice made by Catherine Corsini in The divide and it may have cost him the Palme d’Or. On the other hand, the spectators can only rejoice by finding in one and the same film intelligence, depth, emotion, performance of actors and actresses and formidable humor.
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Review: The Fracture – Film Review