• First Film Competition



Mario Valero

The story of Cross Words is based on a news item, which quickly becomes a pretext for a sensitive, sensual portrait of a generation represented by two main characters, Pierre and Mila, and a group of thirty-somethings. They’re journalists, teachers, carpenters and artists, between Paris, Marseille and Brussels. Valero portrays fragments of everyday life, interweaving them with impressionistic urban and bucolic slivers. The noise of the world in the background – distant rumbles from the street, visual echoes of demonstrations, snippets of news, presidential speeches – marks the passing of time. We don’t really know if it’s a good idea to split up. We don’t really know where to live. “Why do we walk on eggshells when it comes to politics?” An opening shot lingers on a computer screen where the right word is being sought, just as the camera, agile, seems to be seeking the best distance between zooming in and out. Emotional ups and downs come along one after another without narrative emphasis. Severe editing curtly interrupts both the parties and the characters’ private conversations: Cross Words is careful not to let anything unfold or take root in scenes framed on bodies. This fragmentation encapsulates a muted uncertainty, expressing a fluctuating and confused world. Inspired by the New Wave, and mastering its codes and motifs brilliantly, Cross Words remains a proudly enigmatic film, however, offering no message to explain itself. It portrays an emotional landscape in autumnal colours, symptomatic of leaves turning and a sadness deepened by exquisite polyphonic singing in a wistful key. What remains, inherent, are the faces, the friends and loved ones, gathered by Valero in close, caressing shots like a bunch of flowers we know will wither and fade.
(Claire Lasolle)

  • First Film Competition

Technical sheet

France / 2022 / 80’

Original version : french, spanish, catalan, occitan
Subtitles : english
Script : Mario Valero
Photography : Raimon Gaffier, Mario Valero
Editing : Léo Richard
Sound editing : Théophile Gay-Mazas
Music : Cocanha
Sound : Ona Balló Pedragosa
Casting : Élise Vilain Gosselin, Hugues Perrot, Judit Naranjo Ribó, Marius Loris, Clémence Arrivé, Lisa Merleau, Raimon Gaffier, Júlia Losada Alsina

Production : Lisa Merleau (LLUM), Jordane Oudin (Hippocampe Productions).

Filmographie : Rodeo, 2019.