NewsWorld"Athena" on Netflix: Romain Gavras, the "son of" who...

“Athena” on Netflix: Romain Gavras, the “son of” who made a name for himself by directing shocking shorts, clips and films – franceinfo

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Athena, Greek goddess of warfare and wisdom. A dichotomy at the heart of the new film by French director Romain Gavras (Our day will come, The world is yours) which is released on Netflix on Friday September 23. Athena has been preceded by a flattering reputation since its appearance at the Venice Film Festival. The feature film recounts the burning of a French city, named after the goddess, after the death of one of its young inhabitants in troubled circumstances. It immerses us in a family, bereaved by the loss of the youngest brother, who will implode. When it was uploaded, the trailer was also criticized by supporters of the National Rally, who inevitably linked the violence to the suburbs. A smell of controversy to which the director is accustomed, but which he refuses to seek. Seen as a “tragedy in the Greek sense of the term”, the film nevertheless arrives in a tense social context. “I’m not saying that ‘Athena’ will not be controversial, warns the director to Premiere magazine. But this polemical spirit was absent from its making.” Co-written with Ladj Ly, director of Les Misérables, who already recounted the revolt of a city after a police blunder, Athena gives the opportunity to look into the career of Romain Gavras. Romain Gavras, 41, was born in Paris. And if this surname resonates in the ears of cinephiles, it is normal since Romain is the son of producer Michèle Ray-Gavras and Greek director Costa-Gavras (Z, L’Aveu, Amen…). Difficult to escape the seventh art in this family, since one of his brothers is a producer and his sister a director, like him. “I have an older brother who runs a bed and breakfast. He was saved by the gods of cinema or the gods of bed and breakfasts,” he laughed in The Guardian (in English). “Children build themselves as opposed to something.” Romain Gavras, director in “The Guardian” This label of “son of” does not bother him. “It’s part of me. On the contrary, it’s a pride to be the son of Costa-Gavras. I’ve never seen it as a burden,” he says in an interview for the Chaosreign site. From his father, a political filmmaker, he learned “rigor … And brushing your teeth every morning!”, He laughs in an interview with AFP. He also discovered very early on “films that weren’t [son] age”, he says in Premiere. Hence a pronounced love in adolescence, as opposed to paternal, for Bruce Willis and the Die Hard trilogy. Romain Gavras grew up in a building in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, where he met his sidekick Kim Chapiron, son of Christian Chapiron, known as “Kiki Picasso”, a graphic designer and painter. Among the neighbors, Mathieu Kassovitz, who was preparing to produce Métisse and La Haine, and the artist Chris Marker. “This building , which at the time was a bit in the middle of nowhere, is all our youth. When we started making small films, we used it as a set”, says Romain Gavras in Le Monde (paid article). He was 14 years old when he discovered the film of “Kasso”. “It was the neighbor cool who suddenly made the coolest movie on earth. It necessarily completely influenced us”, he recalls, questioned by Konbini. He even put pressure on his mother, Michèle Ray-Gavras, member of the jury of the Cannes Film Festival in 1995, so that the film, which was presented, do not leave empty-handed. In lipstick, in the bathroom of his mother’s room in Cannes, he had written: “If Mathieu is priceless, it is not worth going back at home”, she recalls for franceinfo. Mathieu Kassovitz and Vincent Cassel will take Romain Gavras and his friend Kim Chapiron under their wings, appearing in short films they are making. “Oddly, I don’t never considered ‘my little ones’, remembers “Vinz” from La Haine at Konbini. For me, they were very talented. I think we were supporting each other. Me, of course, I opened doors for them, but they brought me a kind of fresh air and a desire to work.” This is how “Kourtrajmé”, the collective created by Romain Gavras, Kim Chapiron and a childhood friend, Toumani Sangaré is making a name for himself. The trio will soon be joined by Ladj Ly, or the actors Olivier Barthélémy (Our day will come), Alexis Manenti (Les Misérables), the journalist Mouloud Achour, the photographer JR and rapper Oxmo Puccino. The collective now has more than a hundred members and is a “dating family, thirty-year-old friends”, compares Kim Chapiron in Le Monde. The first short film to make noise is La Barbichette which, in 2002, featured the Wanted brothers played by Vincent Cassel, Olivier Barthélémy and Marko Payen. It garnered 1.5 million views on Dailymotion, almost 2 million on YouTube. “An unimaginable success for a video shot in barely two hours with a friend”, says its author, Kim Chapiron, in Le Paris fine. Years later, the group intends to share their experience with younger generations and created in 2018, the Kourtrajmé film school located in Montfermeil (Seine-Saint-Denis), where Ladj Ly grew up. “We simply think that there are talents everywhere and that when we train young people in this school, we will later benefit from their skills, justifies Romain Gavras in Première. Those who have not followed a traditional course will offer singular points of view. Before rubbing shoulders with feature films, Romain Gavras cut his teeth in advertising and music videos. If his first clip for the Ile-de-France rapper Rocé (Changer le monde in 2002) goes relatively unnoticed, the one for the group Mafia K’1 Fry will make a lot of noise. For those who highlight the rappers Rohff, the 113, Manu Key as much as the inhabitants of the cities of Val-de-Marne. “It was the rap anthem of that time,” says Romain Gavras in the magazine Rockyrama. “This clip is as much Kim [Chapiron] and me, than them. We were two little buffoons with cameras, we just said: ‘We would like people there’ at some point, and then they brought all their guys back.” The impact is enormous and is felt as far away as the United States. where a certain Jay-Z is blown away. Years later, the American rapper and the French director collaborate for the clip of No Church in the Wild, taken from the joint album with Kanye West, Watch The Throne. “The first time that I met him, he said to me: ‘You come from France, there is this crazy clip that I saw at the time’. He shows me ‘For those’, I tell him that we did it. He said to me: ‘Don’t you realize, at the time we were going crazy on this clip'”, he tells Télérama. Nominated for the Grammy Awards for this clip and those of Bad Girls by British pop singer MIA and Gosh by British producer Jamie xx, Romain Gavras had less success with Stress from the group Justice. Released in 2008, the clip caused an outcry. Paris to smash everything. The director was amused by the controversy ten years later. “I remember that I had taken a malicious pleasure in seeing myself being treated as facho by ‘Liberation’ and at the same time as an anarchist. by ‘Le Figaro’.” Romain Gavras, director in the magazine “Rockyrama” Faced with accusations of racism, stigmatization of the suburbs, the French electro-rock group had to publish a press release to explain: “This film n ‘was ever intended as a stigmatization of the suburbs, as an incitement to violence or, above all, co even a hidden means of conveying a racist message.” The director assured him, still at Rockyrama, that “between the music, what the clip is, what it provoked, whether it was hatred or love, it’s one of the things I’m most proud of”. Coming to directing with absurd short films, but visually innovative for the time, notably with the use of the “fish-eye”, this wide-angle lens which curves the image, Romain Gavras, like his acolytes Ladj Ly and Kim Chapiron, has always wanted to stand out from a certain French cinema. This is why La Haine, in particular, had such an impact on the trio. “What was striking was its aesthetics, this research in the staging which contrasted with the French cinema of the time”, he dissects in Télérama. “My favorite movies are visual movies where you don’t get a message. You get feelings and emotions through the power of images.” Romain Gavras, director in “The Guardian” To write and direct Athena, Romain Gavras fed on police violence on the sidelines of the demonstrations of “yellow vests”, the rise of the far right, but he denies wanting to do send any message. “I try to convey emotions to the public, not serve them hashtag phrases like ‘war is bad’, ‘racism is not good'”, he analyzes in Vanity magazine. Fair. “I make images, I don’t have a solution. I’m not a politician, he assures AFP. The idea is not to have bad guys and good guys, c is more complex than that.”

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