The Drift of the Continents (in the South): an Italian comedy with Isabelle Carré – Actus…

With The Drift of the Continents (In the South), Lionel Baier signs an Italian comedy, as a form of homage to these often political comedies of the 60s and 70s. Meeting with its director and the duo Isabelle Carré and Théodore Pellerin.

What is it about ?

Nathalie Adler is on a mission for the European Union in Sicily. She is notably responsible for organizing the next visit of Macron and Merkel to a migrant camp. Presence with high symbolic value, in order to show that everything is under control. But who still wants to believe in this European family on the verge of a nervous breakdown? Probably not Albert, the son of Nathalie, an activist committed to an NGO, who arrives without warning when he has cut ties with her for years. Their reunion will be more explosive than this diplomatic trip…

An auteur comedy about Europe

With The Drift of the Continents (In the South), presented this year at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, Lionel Baier signs an Italian comedy, as a form of homage to these often political comedies of the 60s and 70s. We laugh at bureaucratic language and the Swiss filmmaker takes a look at the question of migrants to better point out the contradictions of each on this subject.

This comedy surprises in its way of mixing humor and drama. Is it a comedy? An “auteur comedy”? As its director and screenwriter Lionel Baier tells us, on our microphone, “the only things that really lend themselves to comedy are terrible subjects! The situation really has to be desperate to be laughed at intelligently.“. And to add: “Laughter is a real form of intelligence. (…) By betting on humor, I tell myself that I could speak to people in a slightly different way. Humor allows you to talk to people in a more sensitive place.

Humor allows you to talk to people in a more sensitive place

Stressing that the film had not been easy to finance, precisely because of its mixture of genres, Lionel Baier indicates that its theme can also be disturbing. “The subject of migration, it tenses everyone”, he says. “Also, because I believe that sometimes our desire for seriousness, or rather the fact of being very affected by everything that happens, that doesn’t mean much. Very affected by what? Let’s try to see what we can do, how this reception works…

The drift of the continents (in the south): an italian comedy with isabelle carré - actus...
Diamond Films

Isabelle Carré and Théodore Pellerin in The Drift of the Continents (in the South)

As a European, this is a subject that questions me a lot. My family is from Polish immigration. I am a Swiss citizen, but I live in France. It’s completely linked to life, I feel European because I come from an immigrant background“, summarizes Lionel Baier.

We should also specify that this film is the third episode of a “caustic and sentimental tetralogy” crossing the 4 cardinal points of Europe, aiming to tell in particular what Europe is today, in particular thanks to an approach more intimate.

Europe only works if there is desire

Europe is the person we love to hate and about whom we love to say that all our ills come from her, like our mother! It’s her fault, she doesn’t love us enough or she’s too restrictive, or she does too much of this! I thought it would be interesting to say that this Europe is embodied by a woman, a lesbian woman, who is really the worst of mothers”, continues the filmmaker at our microphone. “As a man, you can blame everything on her! It’s his fault, and that this Franco-German couple is a couple of women. Europe only works if there is desire: do we want to be together or not?“, he concludes.

La Dérive des continents (in the south) brings together Isabelle Carré and Théodore Pellerin in its cast, as mother and son, reuniting after years of separation. Ursina Lardi and Tom Villa among others complete the cast. This is the first French film by Théodore Pellerin, at the head of an already rich career in Canada and the United States (Boy Erased, Genesis, Never Rarely Sometimes…)

This movie has a very unique tone and it’s incredibly like Lionel [Baier]confides Théodore Pellerin, met in tandem, in Cannes, with his partner Isabelle Carré. I recognize who he is in the script and in the film, in his intelligence, in his precision, in his remarks and in his humour. It’s exciting when a director really manages to apply his signature“.

It’s exciting when a director really manages to apply his signature

Isabelle Carré explains that she was “initially touched by the subject of migrants“, recalling that she had “already shot a film in the Calais Jungle with Jean-Pierre Améris about ten years ago (the tv movie mama is crazyreleased in 2005, Ed.). It was very shocking what I discovered. It’s always the same: when you see the images on television or when you read, you can be touched, but it’s still something distanced. When we go on the spot, when we talk with people, when we share an experience with associations, we feel concerned in a different way.”

What I found interesting in Lionel’s remarks [Baier]she continues, was this time to approach the subject not from the side of the associations, but from the side of the European authorities, but also from the side of the communication of politicians, and to mix that with an intimate subject: that of a mother who has abandoned her son to live with a woman because this son did not accept this homosexuality and neither did his ex, and she had to make room for this freedom. I found very beautiful this intimate in this subject which concerns us all“, she concludes.

Continental Drift (in the south) is on view this Wednesday, August 24, 2022.

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