February 8, 2023 Screening

La Baleine

With the director present.




Claude Schmitz

France, Belgium / 2021 / Colour / 82’

  • GNCR Prize

Lucie is an actress and a mother. She’s kind of lost her way in life, or rather between lives – her life as a mother, an actress, and the lives of the characters her profession obliges her to become... “Tomorrow, I’m setting off with my sword.” That night she falls asleep and suddenly she’s a knight in armour astride her steed, crossing the plateaux in central France. During her first siesta, she loses her horse. Reduced to roaming vast landscapes, she meets two companions in misfortune who have also lost their mounts. Deprived of adventure, the actresses abandon their roles and talk about life in general. A siesta later, and there they are, all three asleep on the stage of a theatre that’s closed. Backstage, King Lear’s daughters are bored and flirtatious in this failed production. The tale unfolds from slumber to slumber, from person to character, between worlds that, with their ordinary course suspended, deliver their inhabitants over to idleness. Whether with natural lighting or under multi-coloured projectors, Claude Schmitz makes the most of this lull in the intrigue to throw together scenes that straddle the line between the trivial and the marvellous, leaping effortlessly from the most banal banter to the enchantment of a show that’s still possible. “Wanna know something? Theatre is shit, you just have to be there” repeats the stage director. That’s Lucie’s problem, she finds it hard to be there. She misses her daughter when she’s being an actor; she’s missing her horse when she has to be a rider. Since Braquer Poitiers (FID 2018), this is almost all Schmitz has been filming – ways of being there, the beauty and grace of his actors and their presence during the hiatus of the story. This is the advantage of idleness – it gives you time to live your life and find yourself again in the other’s clothes. But how does one “be there”, between self and other? Under the guise of a jubilant comedy, it’s the old, lofty issue of the actor, his peculiar lifestyle, that this great, moralist, gravity-defying tightrope walker of a film re-enacts.
(Cyril Neyrat)Claude Schmitz

La Baleine

Tél : 04 13 25 17 17
Web. labaleinemarseille.com