Cannes Diary 8 – A Workshop, An Experiment, A Bit Of Interpretation

Posted on June 5, 2017


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Lqaurent Cantet’s L’Atelier (The Workshop) is about, among other things, the word “granular.” Antoine (Matthieu Lucci) encounters it in a book written by Olivia (Marina Foïs), a famous Parisian novelist. He has enrolled in her summer writing workshop, where the aim is to craft a crime thriller based on their surroundings. Antoine wants to set his story in Boston or New York. At least in fiction, he wants to “escape this shit life.” The others in the workshop are like him, from blue-collar backgrounds. This seems to be the flavour of French cinema today: haves and have-nots, locals and outsiders.

Olivia is the outsider here in the economic, social sense. She brings with her rarefied ideas about literature. When Antoine scoffs that no one would use “granular” in day-to-day conversation, she says writing is also about using words that feel right. In other words, we are witnessing the clash between life as lived through books and life as lived through… life. At first, the plot for the crime thriller is generic. A rich man is murdered on his yacht. That kind of thing. But soon, Antoine begins to infuse a strain of right-wing-ism into the proceedings. What if the perp is an Arab? Olivia is both repelled and attracted.

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Posted in: Cinema: Foreign