In the shadow of girls, with Alex Lutz, is on view this Wednesday. The actor plays an opera singer, responsible for a singing workshop in prison, with a choir of women, including Agnès Jaoui and Hafsia Herzi.
What is it about ?
Luc is a renowned opera singer. In the midst of a personal crisis, he agrees to lead a singing workshop in a detention center for women. He quickly finds himself confronted with the difficult temperaments of the inmates. Between good conscience and personal quest, Luc will then try to offer these women a semblance of freedom.
The mysteries of Alex Lutz
If in the shadow of girls puts in the foreground a group of women detained in prison, the main role of In the shadow of girls is played by Alex Lutz with restraint and modesty. The actor plays a character whose cracks, flaws and part of mystery are very quickly guessed. A former lyrical singer, the spectator wonders what is the trajectory of this man of whom we guess a dark and secret part.
Like the whole film which plays a lot on contrasts, the character of the singing teacher is very contrasting, both dark and bright when he is in the exercise of his profession and his passion. The setting of the film works a lot on this idea of contrasts, in particular by the choice of lights but also in the tonality of the scenes. Etienne Comar, director, and co-screenwriter with Maud Ameline, multiplies the scenes mixing drama with a lightness, or another emotion, which surfaces.
A fiction with a documentary approach
Thanks to a very realistic approach and always very fair acting, we quickly let ourselves be carried away by this group. First, with the choice of Alex Lutz, which highlights another facet of the comedian and actor, in which he excels. Facet that he was able to show in particular in Guy, which was both funny and touching.
The idea of mixing well-known and lesser-known faces on the actress side was essential for the reasons detailed by Etienne Comar in the film’s press kit. “It’s hard to believe in a group of inmates if there are only known faces. From the outset, I wanted to mix professional and non-professional actresses. There were several wild casting sessions. We saw several hundred women. All these faces, these attitudes and these bodies were very inspiring and two women remained from these sessions with non-professionals: Fatima Berriah who plays Noor, and Anna Najder, who plays Marzena“. On the identifiable faces side, we find Agnès Jaoui in a rather hard role, Hafsia Herzi (The Seed and the Mule, You deserve a love) or even Veerle Baetens, noticed in Alabama Monroe.
The group lent themselves to the game of actually singing during filming: “In preparation, they practiced vocals both together and separately, in order to record all the vocals live during filming. The absence of playback was essential in my opinion to capture truthfully these songs that take shape as Luc’s sessions progress. I absolutely wanted this vocal learning to be done without nets with a share of risk and imperfection inherent in this type of workshop.“.
The absence of playback was essential in my opinion to capture these songs truthfully.
“I wanted the naturalistic side of the singing lessons, that it was almost documentary”, continues Etienne Comar. “I remembered The Audition of Milos Forman, a documentary about girls who sing that he shot in format 1.33. This format is ideal for filming close-up faces. For my film, it also allowed to more easily express the feeling of confinement of these girls.”
And to add:For each class of the workshop, it was necessary to find a different staging device that transcribed the emotional state of each character..”
It should be noted that a scene of lyrical singing interpreted by Alex Lutz has been dubbed, in this case Vivaldi’s “Cum Dederit”. Alex Lutz is voiced here by countertenor Maximin Richard.