France 2 broadcast last night the last episodes of “The island of 30 coffins”. Charles Berling, alias Vorski, Virginie Ledoyen, and the team of the series return to the final revelation and to the themes of influence and toxic masculinity.
New adaptation of the eponymous novel by Maurice Leblanc, Arsène Lupin’s dad, L’île aux 30 coffins, carried by Virginie Ledoyen and Charles Berling, ended last night on France 2 and offered viewers an extremely tense finale, in which the revelations are linked until the ultimate confrontation between Christine and her husband. Who was actually hiding behind the attempted murder of their child sixteen years ago.
If the scenario of Elsa Marpeau and Florent Meyer remains partly faithful to the work of Leblanc, the authors of the series of France 2 decided to spare the suspense vis-à-vis the guilt of Raphaël Vorski, contrary to the novel and the previous 1979 adaptation with Claude Jade which quickly showed Vorski as a negative and potentially Machiavellian being.
“It seemed very important to us that a thriller lead to a final revelation”explained to us Stéphane Moatti, the producer of The island of 30 coffins, during a press conference organized shortly before the launch of the series on France 2.
“The novel and the 1979 series are built like that, it’s a choice, it’s said very early on. Here, we wanted to go towards something else. And besides, we created a false trail before the final revelation. It’s a choice that seemed more appealing to us, more playful in relation to the viewer”.
“I had the feeling that this final revelation made it possible to densify the subject of the series”explained for his part Frédéric Mermoud, the director of the series, who notably worked on The Returned. “What I appreciate about the last two episodes is that they really develop the subject of the series: the couple, but also the bankruptcy of a certain masculinity”.
“I find that what Charles Berling embodies, in a way, is a tragedy of contemporary man who loses all his bearings”continued Frédéric Mermoud. “It’s the serial dramaturgy that has led us to keep this mystery as long as possible, even if those who have read the novel know that Vorski is the villain of the story”.
“Vorski is caught up in his own amorous radicalism”
Obviously more up-to-date in its storytelling techniques and in its staging, The Island of 30 Coffins 2022 version also addresses more contemporary and topical subjects than ever before, such as the influence and toxic masculinity through the relationship between Christine and Raphaël Vorski, interpreted by Virginie Ledoyen and Charles Berling.
“Christine is a very paradoxical character. She is both very determined in her quest, and at the same time very vulnerable”confided Virginie Ledoyen, seen recently on the small screen in Nona and her daughters. “She’s almost under control. She has this relationship with her husband which is almost sclerosing. She feels like she can’t do anything on her own, even though she’s quite determined”.
And for Charles Berling, the other headliner of the series, it was precisely the very negative side of Vorski that interested him. “What I liked right away was the very nature of the role. I’m often offered to play rather positive characters, but it’s rare that I’m offered to play such bad people”.
“You can’t say that Vorski shines with his humanity. He is a little sick. All we were building with Frédéric and Virginie was to establish plausible leads while advancing masked to preserve this revelation at the end of the series. Frédéric directed me a lot according to that. He sometimes said to me “Be careful, you are revealing too much there”. It was exciting and very new for me”.
And if Vorski, guilty of the death of Emilie Clavel and of the attempted murder of her son, Paul, at birth, commits horrible acts, it is above all out of “love madness” because he is convinced that without “death” of Paul, Christine and he could never have moved away from Sarek and lived happily all these years.
“I really like gray areas, I don’t like pronounced Manichaeism”continued Charles Berling during this press conference. “I was trying to find a strong, radical love relationship between these two characters, which leads to this catastrophe. But I didn’t have in mind to play a villain. I play someone who is caught up in his own loving radicalism. It’s out of love madness that he does that, but it’s still out of love.”.
“There are resonances of a very cultural machismo here that is pushed to the extreme. And what’s interesting is that Christine ends up realizing that she was with this horrible guy. We can live years with someone we don’t know. It’s one of the very beautiful points of this series”.
“Charles did not judge his character. That’s the intelligence he had from the start”ended up concluding the director Frédéric Mermoud. “And thanks to that, he brings his character to a place not at all expected in episodes 5 and 6. There is a real outpouring of love, so crazy, which also tells of a masculinity that wavers”.
“The fact of not judging Vorski gave real strength to the story. We were able to stylize the last two episodes, and this confrontation between Christine and Raphaël, with moments of rather crazy ambiguity. Even at the end, when they are on the shore, it has a kind of momentum that makes this couple take us to quite new places”.
A rather surprising proposal for France 2, between thriller, horror, and saga, which allowed the channel to be the leader during the three weeks of broadcasting, with 3.38 million viewers on average, or 16.7% of the public. . Good scores which will not however motivate a season 2 since The island of 30 coffins is a complete mini-series which is self-sufficient.