La Terre des hommes: a “#MeToo in the countryside” with Jalil lespert, Diane Rouxel and Finnegan Oldfield – Actus Ciné

“La Terre des hommes”, Naël Marandin’s second feature film, is a subtle and powerful film about – to sum up – a #MeToo affair in the agricultural world, carried by Jalil Lespert & Diane Rouxel. We met the crew of the film that is being released in theaters.

La Terre des hommes is a film that takes your breath away, by its accuracy and its way of highlighting an ambiguous but above all abusive relationship. Against a background of agricultural exploitation (an environment portrayed with meticulousness and accuracy), a young woman (Diane Rouxel) will be confronted with an abuse of power (on the part of the character of Jalil Lespert) and find herself in an unwanted relationship, then that she is about to marry another man (Finnegan Oldfield).

This second feature film by Naël Marandin deals directly with the issue of consent, and the consequences of an abusive relationship not consented to. A film which finds a particular echo in the era of Me Too. we met the film crew, who told us precisely about the difficulties of carrying out a project like this, at a time then pre- # MeToo.

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We entered into financing for the film, with my producer, before the Weinstein affair“, remembers the director and screenwriter Nael Marandin at our microphone.”What was very surprising was the reactions to the project. People did not understand the problematic of the film, this murky relationship. “And to add:” JI came out of these meetings telling me that this is proof that the film had to be made … The news of recent years has completely changed the way people look at the film.

Jalil Lespert confides that he himself hesitated, had reservations at the start, before completely changing his mind. “I was very scared and it’s very weird because I remembered it when I discovered the movie here (at the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival, Editor’s note) Thinking back this morning, I thought to myself : “But in fact, it is true that at the beginning, I fled”.

La terre des hommes: a "#metoo in the countryside" with jalil lespert, diane rouxel and finnegan oldfield - actus ciné

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Jalil Lespert and Diane Rouxel in La Terre des hommes.

It’s amazing to think that playing a big bad guy, we find it super easy and even enjoyable in general … On the other hand, as soon as it touches the intimate, sexuality, it bothers me a lot. I don’t think I’m too cold-eyed precisely as an actor. But I was reluctant to say to myself: “how am I going to have empathy for him. “Then, precisely, I approached it by saying to myself: “the subject is stronger than your desire or no actor”.

“You have to bring this subject. I have someone very close to my family whose word was freed in quotes thanks to this Me Too movement. So I didn’t ask myself any more questions after that about my want to participate in the project. “

Then, with Naël Marandin, all of our discussions revolved around the notion of denial and the fact that this man, like many men of power, at some point in their life, do not think that they have power. when they seduce. We do not say to ourselves that we have a hold on the other because we have power over the other. Even more can be for this man. He uses that power to seduce, like you would use a nice car or whatever.

His blindness and denial interested me more than his violence. Because in fact, that’s what keeps the character going, looking at himself in a mirror, getting up in the morning …“, adds Nael Marandin.”It’s also his job to bring people to his senses. He kind of amalgamates all of that. Getting people’s consent is his job. Sylvain does not consider himself to be an executioner. Constance doesn’t consider herself a victim for most of the movie. “Diane Rouxel confides:”That’s what I find interesting about the character is that she doesn’t just have victim status in the movie. She is a fighter. “

La terre des hommes: a "#metoo in the countryside" with jalil lespert, diane rouxel and finnegan oldfield - actus ciné

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Jalil Lespert, Diane Rouxel, Naël Marandin and Finnegan Oldfield at the 2020 Angoulême Francophone Film Festival.

To qualify the ambiguous relationship that plays out between their two characters, Diane Rouxel speaks of “abuse of to be able to“, of”balance of power“.”For Constance, Sylvain is someone she admires, who is charismatic, handsome, rather sympathetic, whom everyone likes, and he is the only one who can help her to make her project come true and make her dreams come true. , who can help him and that’s what he makes him believe. It’s very complicated for her. When he abuses her, I think she doesn’t know well. ”

She continues: “The spectators understand very well. But for Constance, it’s more complicated, she takes time to put the words on what happened. At first, she thinks to herself that if she doesn’t tell anyone, life can go on as if nothing had happened. But she realizes that it is impossible.

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I do not wish to theorize. But I’m going to start from where the idea for the film came from. The project came from the observation, at one point, of the number of women around me, who told me how they found themselves in a situation where there was – and I will use this term generically for the moment, on purpose. – but unwanted sexual intercourse, within the couple, not within the couple … “, details Naël Marandin on what motivated this film.

“I realized how widespread it was, and that every time, it was a form of authority, a form of prestige, a form of domination, due to the fact that it was someone family, a teacher, a trainer, a hierarchical superior, someone for whom we admire, a friend of the big brother … “

“There is no need for threats or constraints to be in a form of domination, which becomes physical and sexual domination. That was what interested me in the film. I wanted to include sexual violence in domination. bodies, in the wider field of the fields of domination.

The Land of Men is showing this Wednesday.

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