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, overlooking the sea. Today is her day. The Quebec-based actress, sleek and simple, based in Paris, had the Directors’ Week honors for her first feature film. Sokol Lake. This delicious chronicle of teenage love, sunny, poetic, modest and unusual, is well received here, for its crazy sensibility and charm. Early reviews are enthusiastic. The official show was loudly applauded. In 2018, Cannes had already introduced his short film Hotel Judith in a darker section. This time the director feels duplicated by the big festival, in sanctification. “Especially since Paolo Moretti, the general delegate of Fortnight, did not know me and chose the film without a priori”, she underlines.

Artist in visual arts, drawing and photography, performer: she will have taken her cinema lessons to the square with the often known 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 journey with a hundred feet), Robert Zemeckis (To walk on Clouds).

Jalil Lespert had advised Charlotte Le Bon to read the graphic novel A sister, by Bastien Vivès, in this bizarre transition to adulthood, with poorly managed sexual desires. “For my debut in feature film, I had 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 was born with the idea of ​​introducing a ghost, a lake monster and a familiar atmosphere of eccentricity into her psyche, everything went into place. “Movies e coming of age, there is plenty. To fill them with a singularity, it is better to use your experiences. »

Universe i Sokol Lake, which Vivès placed in Brittany by the sea, she transplanted it to the Laurentians, a region where she spent the summer in her younger years and which marked her career. A summer, a vacation, shadows full of mystery. 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 full anger.

The actress has long been burning to tell her stories. Filming by male filmmakers who only fantasized about her femininity angered her. “I have had disappointments, disappointments,” she admits. They had ideas ready. I was the boyfriend. So I wanted to create a girl character who was not super feminine, so she could dress like a ghost. »

However, putting yourself in the spotlight: no thanks! “I admire those who, like Monia Chokri, can act and direct, but acting requires vulnerability, and directing a scene is quite the opposite. »

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

She wanted to make this age when the boy experiences his puberty with his worries and humiliations. “Chloé has one foot in her teens, the other in adulthood. Bastien evolves between childhood and adolescence. Chloe feels disturbed by the sexier look of older men. A young man seems less threatening. She has an advantage over him, then realizes that he can jump, impress her. At this age, we test ourselves socially, sexually. All my memories of adolescence are cruel. I put myself in the position of two characters, recognizing the role of the lover and the one who is reluctant to engage “, explains the director.

When she chose Sarah Montpetit, Maria Chapdelaine by Sébastien Pilote, where she plays, had not yet been released. The 18-year-old actress responded to an online ad and the director liked her natural and unattractive attitude. Was she! Charlotte Le Bon had admired Joseph Engel in the film Loyal manby Louis Garrel, before he found it had matured at the age of 14 years.

On Sunday, Sara Montpetit revealed Cannes and its contradictions. “I feel like I’m living in a circus,” she said. A unique, vibrant, beautiful and ugly spectacle. It’s vertigo. While reading the graphic novel, the actress was afraid of her pornographic side. But if the film offers raw scenes, Charlotte Le Bon has handled them in a sensitive and subtle way. “This shoot gave me one of the best summers of my life,” says the young actress. Sara Montpetri liked to shoot at a house with her ghosts, in the middle of a village in the Laurentians called Gore, with a cemetery nearby, where they ate between graves. An unusual atmosphere hung in the air. But Joseph Engel found it strange to discover in the end Sokol Lake a little dark. “It simply came to our notice then. »

This first feature film, delicate, gentle and disturbing, knew how to integrate the beauty, threat and sounds of nature into the psychology of the characters. Introducing a magical side, Charlotte Le Bon inspired in her a soul that pulsates on these pioneering holidays. As for the young performers, they are excellent. Welcome to Cannes!

To see it in the video

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