Venice 2022, Romain Gavras in the banlieue as in a Greek tragedy

(Adnkronos / Cinematografo.it) – “The Greek tragedy has always inspired my life and my education. I am fascinated by its symbolic meaning, the concept of unity of time and the way to transcend reality, and I wanted to get as close as possible to this method of storytelling, to translate it into images and create an immersive cinematic experience ”. Romain Gavras brings to Venice 79 Athena, a film written together with Ladj Ly (already awarded at Cannes for Les Misérables) and Elias Belkeddar. Targeted by Netflix, which will make it available in streaming from 23 September, Athena recounts the days of guerrilla warfare in the community of the same name following a video from which it seems that the police have killed a defenseless young man for no reason. He was Abdel’s younger brother: called back home from the front line, he finds his family devastated. Trapped between his younger brother Karim’s desire for revenge and his older brother Moktar’s criminal affairs, he struggles to calm the escalating tensions. But when the situation deteriorates, the banlieue turns into a fortress under siege, thus becoming the scene of a tragedy for the family, and beyond. “This is a film that could be set in any era, past or future. Behind every war there is in fact a manipulation, an original lie; history repeats itself, from the Trojan war to contemporary conflicts. There are always forces in the shadows that feed hostility: they know that when the intimate pain is too great, violence blinds the thought, and when the nation is fragile, it is easy to push it into the abyss “, says the 41-year-old director, son by Costa-Gavras and journalist and film producer Michèle Ray-Gavras, here on their third fiction feature, starring Dali Benssalah (Abdel), Sami Slimane (Karim), Anthony Bajon (Jérôme), Ouassini Embarek (Moktar), Alexis Manenti (Sébastien), Athena – the goddess of war and wisdom – is “a strong film, difficult to digest, born with the idea of ​​creating a modern tragedy, starting from an interrupted brotherhood, passing through sadness, anger and pain that end up being distributed on a large scale to inflame an entire nation “, says Gavras, who on the aesthetics of the film – characterized by long sequence shots – adds:” We wanted an important iconography, to be immersed in what was happened do, to make the audience feel emotions as the characters progress, without having time to reflect just as happens to the characters. “Characters who break free from the usual good vs. bad: “It is true that when one explores such a tragedy one cannot make a too simplistic distinction between good and bad, the discourse is much more complex. Here we start from a crime and because of that crime this battle is unleashed ”.