Selected at Cannes in 2020, rejected many times … The horror drama of Just Philippot was finally released in theaters this Wednesday, June 16. And from the first viewing, it cannot be denied that LA NUÉE is a pretty success for French genre cinema.
The genre is definitely benefiting from a new resurgence of interest in France. In the wake of a Xavier People or a Alexander Aja, Julia ducournau or Mathieu Turi ensure a brilliant succession with projects as sublime as they are radical, like Serious and Meander. Also, the CNC has decided to make a certain number of these projects possible by releasing help with their financing. So, Just philippot was able to start shooting his first film, THE CLOUD. A feature film as it is too rare to see in France and how we would like to see more.
THE CLOUD uses the fantastic and the terror in a generally ordinary environment. And this, in order to weave a metaphor of the consumer society. Virginie, embodied by a Suliane Brahim tried and tested, desperately tries to make his breeding of grasshoppers fruitful. Driven by ecological ideals, she wants to develop what she considers to be the food of tomorrow. Exhausted from the first minutes of the film, she is never particularly sympathetic to us. Because we are already observing it through the prism of this professional activity which devours it.
Very quickly, the bills pile up. The two dependent children weigh like a burden. Particularly the teenager, known – and indeed – difficult. However, Virginie discovers that there is a way to make the grasshoppers swarm, which are struggling to reproduce… They taste like blood. Therefore, the film deploys a very raw aesthetic and establishes a visceral relationship between the flesh and these insects. Grasshoppers. Who swarm and squeal until the end of the film. Grasshoppers. Who symbolically and literally devour Virginia. Scarified, in panties in the middle of her greenhouse.
Because the plot develops against a backdrop of personal drama. Little by little, Virginie gets eaten up by the system. Exit the small ecological farm. To get her head out of the water, she gave up her ideals and embarked on industrial production. She now only sells animal meal to breeders. However, we must produce. Always more, and relentlessly. Leave a little more of his blood there each time. As much blood as these farmers who end up killing themselves, riddled with debt and emptied of all their hopes. Just philippot thus delivers a strong political message, served by a crude and straightforward staging.
Indeed, inspired, the film is. Particularly in horror. Nothing is stranger and more disturbing than a large grasshopper’s head, filmed in close-up sucking on a pierced wart. However, we would have liked THE CLOUD focuses more on this arc. The family subplots actually drag the film out a bit. Also, some shots of the conclusion suffer from a notable underexposure, making its final – grandiose incidentally – sometimes difficult to read. Notwithstanding, despite these few flaws, THE CLOUD appears as a proud representative of the French genre. And Just philippot as a most promising artist, integrated with honors.
• Original title : The Cloud
• Production : Just philippot
• Scenario: Jérôme Genevray, Franck Victor
• Main actors : Suliane Brahim, Sofian Khammes, Marie Narbonne
• Release date : June 16, 2021
• Duration: 1h41min