We expected a lot from Athena, the film by Romain Gavras, and we were not disappointed with the trip. It’s available today on Netflix.
What is it about ?
Called back from the front following the death of his youngest brother, who died following an alleged police intervention, Abdel finds his family torn apart. Between the desire for revenge of his little brother Karim and the business in danger of his big brother dealer Moktar, he tries to calm the tensions. Minute after minute, the Athena city is transformed into a fortified castle, the scene of a family and collective tragedy to come. When everyone thinks they have found the truth, the city is about to fall into chaos…
Who is it with?
You probably saw it on TV in The Savages or at the cinema Dying can wait where he replies to Daniel ‘James Bond’ Craig: Dali Bensalah amazes and detonates in Athena. He is one of the headliners alongside the promising Sami Slimane, unearthed during a wild casting. Ouassini Embarek completes this fraternal trio at the center of the tragedy of Romain Gavras.
A Greek tragedy in the city
The first teaser ofAthena unveiled by Netflix last June had tickled our interest. The trailer posted a few weeks later confirmed our desire to see the new production of Romain Gavras (Our day Will Come, The world is yours) . He surrounds himself this time with Ladj Ly (Les Miserables) and Elias Belkeddar to the scenario. So many reasons to take a serious interest in it.
From the first seconds of the film, Gavras creates a suffocating and distressing atmosphere: here we are in the heart of an urban guerrilla scene, between molotov cocktails, police station attack and panic. The camera turns, twirls, follows the protagonists one by one without any cut. An immersive sequence shot that sends us a strong message: we are not here to laugh, and Gavras has no time to lose.
As we say, the subject is scary. Especially in view of the news and the discussions that followed the release of North ferry Last year. But Athena is a very clever film, centered around a family story. And above all, he does not take sides. The director has constantly presented it as a Greek tragedy, in the first sense of the term. And the music – remixed by Gener8ion – amplifies this approach even more. Athena is a timeless film that will be relevant as long as men go to war.
The teams chose the Parc aux lièvres district in Evry-Courcouronnes to set up their cameras there. This plateau was then arranged to make it a labyrinth where the protagonists get lost. Romain Gavras is the demiurge of the action and films with his camera a choreography, a dance that transports us from the first scene to the last.
If we were to play the comparison game, it looks like Athena starts where it ends. Wretched while gaining height. Yes, Athena is violent. In the images and in what he says. A suffocating, poignant, intimate violence that hurts. Everything is served by a succession of “clipped” paintings shot in IMAX, a technical demonstration that should make everyone agree.
Let’s also talk about the actors, incredible accuracy, whether it’s the young Sami Slimane, Dali Bensalah which never ceases to amaze or Anthony Bajon, in the role of a CRS that moves us. As for that ofAlexis Manentiwe will keep you informed.
One regret remains. That subscribers cannot discover Athena on the big screen. So to make the most of this cinema experience, put yourself in the best possible conditions. And expect to take a nice slap.