Cannes 2021 – Les Intranquilles: how Damien Bonnard prepared for this intense role

Cannes 2021 - les intranquilles: how damien bonnard prepared for this intense role

Joachim Lafosse is competing for the first time in Cannes with “Les Intranquilles”, an intense film, telling the story of a couple put on hard by illness, the bipolarity of the husband (Damien Bonnard) facing Leila Bekhti.

Les Intranquilles follows a couple, Leila and Damien, who try everything to stay together, despite their illness. Joachim Lafosse’s new film focuses on a man suffering from bipolar disorder.

This role required special preparation for Damien Bonnard. In addition to meeting people with bipolarity, the actor has undergone a long preparation, to which he returns to our microphone:

When I turn on the machine for preparation, I try to light all the buttons. I have been to a lot of different places and it was Joachim Lafosse who allowed me to do it and the production, who accompanied me there.

I first worked with the referent painter of the film to be able to paint in his place, and that it would be believable. Then I trained in the catamaran. After that I learned the crawl. I also learned to overcome my fear of the high seas. Swimming in the open sea was something that scared me very much. Joachim accompanied me and we spent time to be reassured in the water, and I’m not afraid anymore. I gained 14 kilos for the film.

And to continue: “I spent a lot of time in Sainte Anne with a doctor specializing in manic depression called Luc Foucher, with whom we discussed a lot about the scenario, about the effects of the drugs.

I also worked with a psychiatrist who allowed me to meet patients who suffered from this with whom I was able to talk. I read books, notably by Gérard Garouste, who wrote a very beautiful book, L’Intranquille. Then I created my Damien.

Damien Bonnard details what he learned about this disease from patients: “This disease is composed of manic phases, which are phases of great envy, great joy, great euphoria.

It’s like a kind of vital but energized impulse, and to want to do rich and hyper generous things. Suddenly, they are very amplified, and sometimes too much. But it is also a place of total freedom, and which at the same time, sometimes, attacks others.

This is followed by phases of total depression which are places where one is practically lifeless, often accompanied by drugs which are very strong, including lithium and things like that.

Each manic phase is followed by the depression phase. We know that after each phase of enjoyment, it will necessarily be followed by a backlash that is ultra violent, but when we are in it, we only dream of one thing, and that is to be able to relive the euphoria. It is a kind of Damocles sword which is permanently above you.

If illness occupies a central role in the film, Les Intranquilles tells above all a love story: “The film is mostly about love and what we do when something disturbs a stability and a balance, and how we transform it.

Do we abandon it, do we run away from it, do we leave it, do we fix it … In a world where we tend to give up quite easily as soon as there is a small difficulty, we stop the stories, we do not try to repair them“, emphasizes Damien Bonnard.

Les Intranquilles will be released on screens on October 6, 2021. It is in competition this year at the Cannes Film Festival.

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