From Claude Chabrol to the Silence of the Lambs, discover some of the references to L’Origine du mal by Sébastien Marnier, in cinemas since Wednesday 5 October.
What is it about ?
In a luxurious villa by the sea, a modest young woman finds a strange family: an unknown and very rich father, his whimsical wife, his daughter, an ambitious businesswoman, a rebellious teenager and a disturbing servant. Someone is lying. Between suspicions and lies, mystery sets in and evil spreads…
A film influenced by cinephiles
Warning, this article contains potential spoilers for the film. If you want to keep the surprise of the plot of the film as much as possible, we advise you to read this article after having seen it.
After discovering The Origin of Evilit’s a safe bet that you’ll want to know a little more about some of the references that are hidden in this film, full of winks that will delight the spectators.
Whether it’s the opening scene, this big house or the look of some of the characters, The Origin of Evil echoes films that are sometimes very well known. We will list some of these references, without being exhaustive.
Asked about the question of influences, Sébastien Marnier indicates, at our microphone, in the preamble not necessarily to consciously put references: “We don’t necessarily think about very precise references when we make a film, he explains. “We devour the cinema, we analyze it, we digest it. We only live a little for the cinema, so obviously all that has infused and we don’t necessarily ask ourselves the question.” In turn, Laure Calamy tells us: “I can’t give all the references I would think of [pour mon personnage]. To not give too many clues, I would say it would be a mixture of Ready for anything, No spring for Marnie and Gone Girl“.
Iconic female characters
Among the qualities of the film The Origin of Evil, there is precisely the highlighting of strong female characters, reserving many surprises in their development. Around the character of Stéphane (Laure Calamy), who is at the heart of the plot, there is a gallery of figures, like that embodied by Doria Tillier or Dominique Blanc.
The character of Dominique Blanc, who plays the mother of this intriguing family, echoes an iconic figure of cinema, Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) in Dusk Boulevard.
As we can see in this photo from the film, the setting of the film is also reminiscent of The Origin of Evil. In these two films, the vast and sumptuous house occupies a central place. We also think of eight women by François Ozon, who also puts the architecture of the house at the heart of the scenario, and a gallery of female characters based on archetypes.
Always about mysterious characters and with an intriguing look, we can summon Rebecca by Alfred Hitchcock by observing the hairstyle or the behavior of the servant, Agnès, played by Véronique Ruggia Saura.
During our interview, Laure Calamy mentioned other notable influences: “We talk a lot about [Claude] Chabrol, but for me there are also a lot of [Luis] Bunuel. There is something absurd, irony, this biting thing…“, she adds to our microphone.
Each of the characters’ looks are very studied, right down to the character of Suzanne Clément, who is inspired by a thriller from the 90s.”I really wanted her to be dressed like Jodie Foster in Thesilenceofthelambs. With the costume designer, we went looking for sweaters with a turtleneck. Even at the hair level, it was really an influence. Moreover, since it’s a fairly physical role for Suzanne, how to sculpt her, how she sculpted herself… I really wanted to film all the bodies. Suzanne Clément sharpened herself for the film“, tells us Sébastien Marnier.
The codes of the thriller of the 90s
Another strong influence, that of the thrillers in vogue in the 90s. The look of Suzanne Clément can indeed recall that of the film Bound of the Wachowskis.
“Bound made history because it’s a lesbian thriller. I love thrillers and these films with a real sensuality, a real eroticism, and I find that it disappears a little too much for my taste. We either have the totally prudish films or the totally porn clips, and there’s not really an in-between. As a viewer, when I was a teenager in the 90s, there was this whole wave of kinda sexy thrillers with Sharon Stone, Last Seduction with Linda Fiorentino… Perhaps less Bound than films like Liaison Fatale by Adrian Lyne.
There weren’t that many movies with great female characters. They were said to be sluts and bitches, when they were just powerful, and maybe Machiavellian. We wanted this sensuality, this slightly underground, poisonous sexuality that runs through the whole film.“, underlines Sébastien Marnier, at the microphone of AlloCiné.
Let’s mention another filmmaker whose presence hovers over the film, that of Brian de Palma. The opening scene in the locker room can evoke Carrie’s first minutes at the devil’s ball, but above all the repeated use of split-screen can also be seen as a nod to de Palma. “The first split-screen came from a constraint: the first lunch scene was very long and I wanted to energize it. The split-screen imposed itself as a revelation. We took a sequence shot of Stéphane – who is at the center of all the split-screens – and as she was poorly received by her hosts, I wanted her to have less and less space, to be surrounded“, says Sébastien Marnier.
“This idea revealed part of the film’s grammar. (…) It’s complicated because everything is a question of looking and cheating but once again, it was exciting to make. I’ve always liked the split-screen, like the zoom for that matter. These are my cinema references and I like when the staging is visible. I wanted in The Origin of Evil, the artistic direction, the staging and the sound work to take on an important narrative charge..
At our microphone, the filmmaker stressed the importance of “entertain the spectators“, whether “real cinema films to see in theaters“, “that these films are not paths all traced“.”We want in this film, whatever it says, to have fun, and so do we by making it“, concludes Sébastien Marnier.
The Origin of Evil is in theaters since Wednesday, October 5.