Q&A with Lise Akoka and Matthias Jacquin on March 5
Belgian director Gabriel (Johan Heldenbergh) and his crew (including Matthias Jacquin) arrive in the small town of Boulogne-sur-Mer to cast non-professional teenagers for his debut feature. The plan is to fill out a loosely sketched script with local performers scouted from working-class northern France, and Gabriel lands on four talented teens: Lily (Mallory Wanecque), Ryan (Timéo Mahaut), Jessy (Loïc Pech), and Maylis (Melina Vanderplancke). Concerned with improving their town’s image in the media, some residents disapprove of these seemingly disreputable representatives of the housing projects being chosen for the production. Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret’s thorny, complex debut (winner of the Un Certain Regard section at last year’s Cannes) walks a remarkably fine line between fact and fiction, allowing their young performers to give star-making turns as “themselves” while considering the ways in which ostensibly well-meaning documentary and fiction films can exploit nonperformers in the name of authenticity. A Kino Lorber release.