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FIDMARSEILLE 2022

Recensione: La Vie des hommes infâmes

di 

- Gilles Deroo e Marianne Pistone scolpiscono un'opera di finzione appassionante, ricca e sottile sotto la sua apparente austerità, sui confini delle regole sociali e della natura umana

Recensione: La Vie des hommes infâmes
Julien Nortier in La Vie des hommes infâmes

Questo articolo è disponibile in inglese.

"Did you see the individual? Be precise for the benefit of the painter (…) – He seems to be coming out of the ground which is spread out at his feet, and which seems to be a continuation of his body. They’re the same colour, the same kind, telluric and silent. But when he moved, he was supple and obliging. As if the wind were acting upon him". Unveiled yesterday in a world premiere within the 33rd FIDMarseille’s international competition, The Lives of Infamous Men by Gilles Deroo and Marianne Pistone - the French duo’s second feature film after Sheep [+leggi anche:
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(awarded a Special Jury Prize by the Cineasti del Presente jury and the Best First Film trophy in Locarno 2013) - fits perfectly with the tone of this enigmatic description offered to a judge by a witness (a hunter accompanied by his dog), which nevertheless helps to paint a surprisingly lifelike picture of the man at the heart of the film: the original and marginal Mathurin Milan (Julien Nortier), condemned by society at the beginning of the 18th century and whom the courts end up interning in Charenton Hospital on 31 August 1707.

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"His madness has always been to hide from his family, to lead an obscure life in the country, to have lawsuits, to lend usuriously and recklessly, to walk his poor spirit upon unknown paths, and to believe himself capable of the very greatest works." The preface of a book which never came to fruition by philosopher Michel Foucault, homing in on unique characters who were denounced by their loved ones, tracked down by the police, imprisoned and then outcast, acts as a guiding thread to a story crafted piece by piece by the two filmmakers, in a stripped-back and highly controlled style (with an incredibly impressive exploration of movement, both by the camera and the characters in small spaces) which verges on pictorial but is always deeply embodied, and which manages to create an increasingly captivating atmosphere.

The dice rolls in a tavern, IOUs are signed, a woman kneads bread between her thighs, a mother and her children flee into the night, assets are seized, soldiers search the forest, peasants rave at the alleged hexes attributed to the accused, clumsy judges are squeezed into their robes and their wigs, there are constant appeals to the king (Louis XIV, at this point in time) and to God, etc. Lust, bawdiness, disorder, public scandal, swindling… Charged with all possible and imaginable sins by the public, Mathurin Milan withdraws alone to the silence of the forest. Stalked by social conformism, he immerses himself in the wilds of nature as a symbolic figure for all free spirits: "it’s human (…) He could be anywhere."

An elliptical fable, both poetic and realist, a discreet treatise on the concept of degeneration (even the most beautiful tulips are the result of a parasite attacking a bulb) and, obviously, a portrait denouncing the dictates of social norms, The Lives of Infamous Men is infused with a nigh-on absurd brand of humour which breathes life into the film, beneath its seemingly rigorous and somewhat ascetic artistic bias. The film’s outer shell comes to life and its charm is unleashed.

The Lives of Infamous Men is produced and sold worldwide by Shellac.

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(Tradotto dal francese)

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