Nathan Nicholovitch likes to hold his ambitions regarding fiction up against the constraints of a reality that tends to elude it. After the suburbs of Phnom Penh, haunted by the Khmer Rouge genocide (Avant l’aurore, 2015), this time he set the scene in a high school in suburban Paris, fighting against Parcoursup, the higher education admission platform, and against the reforms of Minister Blanquer. While he was invited to host a film workshop for eleventh graders, seeing how some of them were involved in the conflict, the director used this opportunity to turn fictional storytelling into a driving force to intensify the present and disclose the emotional and political truth of the situation. The method is simple enough: he pushed reality a little bit further, by inventing the fictional character of a high-school female student who, just like her real classmates, has spent several hours in custody for writing a tag against Macron, but who ultimately died. Les Graines que l’on sème is a film about mourning and anger, in which the wrath of a generation finds tragic gravity in the tone of bereavement, held throughout the film, alongside the work of pain. Chiara is dead, she does not have a face nor a voice: she is but a name, an outlook on her own world – which is filmed eagerly – and an absence. The film winds around this void the voices and faces of the living, in a spiral, together with their words which recall and mourn the departed. The spirit of age-old tragedy flies over those faces and swirls those words. Yet the filmmaker is driven by the most urgent questions. For instance: what is the purpose of school, and what is a high-school student? When it is a French teacher’s turn to speak to Chiara’s classmates, she conjures up the words of other deceased persons: La Fontaine, Hugo, Char, Kant. Talking to the dead, listening to them is a way to wrest legacy and its transmission from identity-driven discourse, to replace it in the tradition of social struggles, and to restore its revolutionary power. A beautiful and fiery programme indeed for a French fiction. (C.N.)
- French Competition
The Seeds we sow
- French Competition
France / 2020 / Color / Mixed Media, Stereo Dolby Digital / 77’
Original version : French.
Subtitles : English.
Script : Nathan Nicholovitch in collaboration with the students of the 1ère L class from Romain Rolland Highschool, Marie Clément, Clo Mercier.
Photography : Florent Astolfi.
Editing : Gilles Volta.
Sound : Graciela Barrault, Jean Jouvet.
Casting : Ghaïs Bertout-Ourabah, Clémentine Billy, Marie Clément, Maëlys Gomez, David D’ingéo, Kamla Errounane, Yhadira Fabat-Delis, Alicia Fleury, Luna Lafaye, Célia Lazla, Chloé Lemeur, Rose Fella Leon-Lys, Flontin Masengo, Sandrine Molaro, Sara Naoui, Lucile Noël, Pauline Perrin-Bequart, Hamza Sadi, Angèle De Sentenac, David Talbot, Tristan Trouvé.
Production : D’UN FILM L’AUTRE (Eurydice Calméjane et Nathan Nicholovitch).
Distribution : NOUR FILMS (Patrick Sibourd).