News from the Locarno Festival

“Orléans” by Virgil Vernier

“Orléans” by Virgil Vernier


In his cinematic essays, short films and documentaries Virgil Vernier explores enclosed nocturnal worlds, governed by rituals and strict conventions, experienced and applied by a tight community of people: a police station in Commissariat, a nightclub in Pandore, and now a striptease club in Orléans.

The first part of his feature length film shows the two girls, Joane and Sylvia, hostesses in a nightclub, at work. Charming clients, getting them to buy drinks, monetising their attractions, using gestures and phrases, repeatedly enacted by girls who dream of being dancers or of meeting the man of their life that collide brutally with harsh reality grand and find escape through a kind of performance in which they can forget themselves.

In the same town, during the day, other, much more religious rituals, celebrations of Joan of Arc, are enacted, taking us into the heart of the town and an atmosphere of medieval Christian fervour. Every year one young girl is chosen to portray the Virgin Joan. On a walk through the woods, Joane and Sylvia meet her – riding a horse in her armour. 

Vernier is fascinated by capturing the world in the raw, with a primitive approach to film as a device with which to record reality. He thus abolishes the borders between fiction and documentary and transforms the most everyday places in our towns into mythological sites. Virgil Vernier’s films have a touch of the medieval mystery about them.

Olivier Père
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