Sundown, the new film by Michel Franco is released this Wednesday in our cinemas. Tim Roth and Charlotte Gainsbourg star in this summer drama.
Two years after winning the Silver Lion – Grand Jury Prize at the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival for New orderthe Mexican director Michael Franco comes back with Sundown.
Worn by Tim Roth and Charlotte Gainsbourg, the feature film follows a wealthy English family who come to spend a luxurious vacation in Acapulco. But the announcement of a death forces them to return urgently to London. When boarding, Neil (Tim Rorh) claims that he forgot his passport in his hotel room. Returning from the airport, he asks his taxi to drop him off at a modest “pension” in Acapulco.
And if the director chose to set the action of this drama in Acapulco, it is not by chance. Located in the southwest of Mexico, the city is now considered to be one of the most dangerous in Mexico (behind Tijuana).
Michel Franco, who knows the city well for having visited it several times in his youth, explains: “It breaks my heart to see how much she has changed. It is often ranked among the most dangerous cities in the world, which can affect tourists, but not that often. The paradise it once was is now run down, and I’m not talking about Sinatra’s Acapulco or Elvis Presley..”
He adds: “Its decline more generally symbolizes the decline of my country. There’s a lot of tension in Acapulco these days, but in the end, during filming, she was very welcoming. Guess I was looking to prove it was the same Acapulco I remembered when I was young.”
And this is felt throughout the film. If at first the city seems welcoming, the latter will gradually reveal its true face, like what the trailer above reveals.
A character written for Tim Roth
Sundown is the filmmaker’s second collaboration with British comedian Tim Roth. He had in fact already directed him to Chronic in 2015. The director also wrote the character of Neil especially for him. He explains : “Our sensibilities are similar, and I thought he would be receptive to this story. I wrote the screenplay in a few weeks, unlike Nouvel Ordre, which took me years.”
“As soon as I finished writing the screenplay, I thought about everything I hadn’t described, which is always the case for a screenwriter, especially when you’ve written in one go. But I knew that wouldn’t be a concern for Tim, so I sent it to him and he understood exactly where the movie was going. He said to me: don’t change anything, we film it as it isI.”
In Sundown, the character played by Tim Roth tries to run away from his obligations and decides to stay in Acapulco without telling his wife. A parallel to be drawn with the situation in which Michel Franco found himself when writing his film.
The latter explains in fact that he himself was going through a deep existential crisis. The filmmaker was indeed carrying out a kind of assessment of his personal life, and for the first time realized that life is not eternal.
He says in the press kit: “This happened after a trip to Acapulco with a friend, and when we had left the hotel by car to go to dinner, a little after 8 p.m., I was arrested by very aggressive federal police officers, who were pointing their weapons on me.
They wondered if my friend was in danger – if she was with me against her will. They wanted to get me out of the vehicle, but I knew that was the wrong thing to do. My friend did not understand what was happening, she told me to comply.
I managed to get out of it when I left, and they followed us threatening us, but we managed to get back to the hotel safe and sound. It really saddened me because Acapulco is one of my favorite places.”
Sundown is out this Wednesday, July 27 in theaters.