Sibyl (2019)

Sibyl
Director: Justine Triet
Writer: Arthur Harari, Justine Triet
Cast: Virginie Efira, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Gaspard Ulliel, Sandra Hüller, Laure Calamy, Niels Schneider, Paul Hamy, Arthur Harari
Seen on: 3.8.2020

Plot:
Sibyl (Virginie Efira) is a therapist who feels inspired to return to her first passion of writing novels. So she lets go most of her clients and prepares to write a novel. When she gets a call from the young actress Margot (Adèle Exarchopoulos) who is in obvious distress, she makes an exception and takes her own as a client as well. In Margot’s story, she finds the inspiration she needed for her novel, but the more time they spend together, the deeper Sibyl gets sucked into the story herself.

Sibyl gives us an antiheroine in quite a few very complicated relationships (and if they aren’t complicated on their own, she knows how to complicate them). This is engaging material, especially with that cast, but it does spiral a little too much at times.

The film poster showing half of Sibyl's (Virginie Efira) and half of Margot's (Adèle Exarchopoulos) face.
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Furie [Get In] (2019)

Furie
Director: Olivier Abbou
Writer: Aurélien Molas, Olivier Abbou
Cast: Adama Niane, Stéphane Caillard, Paul Hamy, Eddy Leduc, Hubert Delattre, Marie Bourin, Matthieu Kacou
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
Seen on: 27.9.2019
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Content Note: sexualized assault, racism, sexism

Plot:
The Diallos – father Paul (Adama Niane), mother Chloé (Stéphane Caillard) and their son Louis (Matthieu Kacou) – return from their vacation to find that their nanny Sabrina Bolso (Marie Bourin) and her husband Eric (Hubert Delattre) went from house-sitters to being full-on squatters. They call the police, but thanks to a legal loophole the police can’t actually do anything. Their only legal option is a drawn-out legal battle that isn’t really an option at all. So they turn to Mickey (Paul Hamy) and his group of thugs, hoping to scare the Bolsos away. But that’s really only just the beginning of their troubles.

Get In is a catastrophe in toxic masculinity with a dose of racism. I hated it.

The film poster showing Paul (Adama Niane), Chloé (Stéphane Caillard) and their son Louis (Matthieu Kacou) above an image of their house. Everything is black and red.
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Jessica Forever (2018)

Jessica Forever
Director: Caroline Poggi, Jonathan Vinel
Writer: Caroline Poggi, Jonathan Vinel
Cast: Aomi Muyock, Sebastian Urzendowsky, Augustin Raguenet, Lukas Ionesco, Paul Hamy, Eddy Suiveng, Maya Coline, Angelina Woreth, Théo Costa-Marini
Part of: Toronto International Film Festival
Seen on: 12.9.2018

Plot:
In a dystopian world constantly patrolled by drones, Jessica (Aomi Muyock) is the leader / mother figure for a group of young men. They are the drone’s prime targets and Jessica does her best to keep them all alive, but at the same time tries to retain some sense of normality and civility for them. The newest boy to join them is Michael (Sebastian Urzendowsky) who still has much to learn until he can fit in with them.

Jessica Forever was a film that alternately bored me and made me angry. It makes little to nothing of its setting and it confuses a female character wearing a uniform with an actually strong female character. It’s pretty frustrating.

The film poster showing Aomi Muyock.
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Maryland [Disorder] (2015)

Maryland
Director: Alice Winocour
Writer: Alice Winocour, Jean-Stéphane Bron
Cast: Matthias Schoenaerts, Diane Kruger, Paul Hamy, Zaïd Errougui-Demonsant, Percy Kemp
Part of: Scope100 (last year, I participated in the Scope50 project)
Seen on: 6.1.2015

Plot:
Vincent (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a soldier who struggles with PTSD after a tour in Afghanistan. While he’s home, waiting to be cleared for service again, he makes his money working as private security together with his friend Denis (Paul Hamy). They get a job at a party for a Lebanese businessman and Vincent is immediately suspicious of everything. Things get worse when he is asked to look after the businessman’s wife Jessie (Diane Kruger) and their son for a few days. Vincent feels drawn to Jessie but he can’t really trust his own perceptions: is he hallucinating or is there a real threat?

Maryland deeply impressed me. Not only does Winoncour manage to create an unbelievable amount of tension, Schoenaerts is absolutely hypnotic in his role. I was glued to the screen through the entirety of the film.

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Peur de rien [Parisienne] (2015)

Peur de rien
Director: Danielle Arbid
Writer: Danielle Arbid, Julie Peyr
Cast: Manal IssaPaul HamyDamien ChapelleVincent LacosteDominique BlancClara Ponsot
Part of: Scope100 (last year, I participated in the Scope50 project)
Seen on: 4.1.2016

Plot:
Lina (Manal Issa) comes to Paris from Lebanon to study. She is supposed to stay with her aunt and her husband but just before the semester actually starts, her uncle comes on to her. Lina runs away in shock. Without money, a place to stay or much idea about life in Paris, she sets out to build herself a life, with any means necessary.

Peur de Rien tells an interesting story and it tells it well, with one of the most fascinating and intriguing protagonists I’ve seen in a while. Every once in a while it strays a little too much and could have been more concise, but altogether, I really enjoyed it.

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