News from the Locarno Festival

Dom Juan – Rocking Dom Juan

Dom Juan – Rocking Dom Juan



Vincent Macaigne’s rocking Dom Juan is a gift from Heaven for the Comédie-Française. A few years ago, the illustrious French theatre institution launched, with the help of TV network ARTE, a program of film adaptations openly aimed at interesting to its repertoire a larger, younger audience.

The series has already seen the likes of Mathieu Amalric and Arnaud Desplechin demonstrate their talent at playing around the game’s constraints: shooting at the speed of light with limited budgets, committing to respect the original text and work with the Comédie’s own troupe of actors. Within such a restrictive framework, what more brilliant an idea could there be than to have French theatre’s lead agitator Vincent Macaigne take to the screen one of the most disturbing yet popular plays in the country’s literary heritage.

The first-time filmmaker goes full blast, reaffirming the character’s anti-social, anti-clerical and anti-militaristic anger. He introduces us into a dazzling world of nocturnal subversiveness (the cinematography is signed by Julien Roux) and makes clear that Dom Juan (Loïc Corbery) is but a dead man seeking to precipitate his end.

Everything in his behavior is about cutting ties. The cruelty of his words leaves no hope in the confused hearts of his pleading mistresses, whose lust for life only but feeds his suicidal rage. Only his right-arm Sganarelle (a spectacular Serge Bagdassarian) has the patience to keep on trying to save his beloved master’s soul. A weighty attachment rarely depicted with such depth and fierceness, this most unhealthy addiction is the most difficult knot for Dom Juan to untie.

Aurélie Godet

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