Cinema. Fraternity at the center of Sentinelle Sud, Mayennais Mathieu Gérault’s first film

Sentinelle Sud, by Mathieu Gérault, starring Niels Schneider and Sofian Khammes, was released on April 27, 2022. A session in the presence of the director at Vox in Mayenne is scheduled for Sunday, May 1, 2022. (© UFO distribution)

From the Lasséenne campaign to the premieres of Parisian cinemas. This Wednesday 27 April 2022in 80 theaters nationwide, it was released Southern Sentinelthe first feature film by Mathieu Geraultdirector of Mayenne origin.

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Among these rooms is the voice, to Mayenne, much to the director’s satisfaction. “I am very happy to be able to do this national trip to Mayenne,” appreciates the former student of Lavoisier high schoolwho maintains a privileged bond with his own North Mayenne native. “I go back regularly, introduced it to my wife and children. “

Southern Sentinel is a fiction at the crossroads of genres: film noir, social news, “brothers” films … The day after a clandestine operation that decimated his unit, soldier Christian Lafayette (Niels Schneider) returned to France.

As he tries to resume a normal life, he soon gets involved in the opium trade to save his two surviving brothers in arms.

“I have always been interested in violence and fragility, in the desire for love. I also like American thrillers from the 1940s.

Mathieu Geraultdirector

Staging soldiers in their difficult return to civilian life allows him to associate this aesthetic with his favorite theme: fraternity.

“When I was young, I was separated from my brothers, forced to leave rural North Mayenne and its agricultural challenges to find myself in a building in Saint-Nicolas. For me it was Brooklyn. “

Mathieu Geraultdirector

Mathieu Gérault has put a little bit of himself into all of his characters: Christian, nicknamed “the farmer”, is a nod to his childhood in the bocage.

Video: currently on Actu

Mounir (Sofian Khammes) may have been one of the guys who populated his new environment, “fickle, plagued by integration problems, he is nicknamed” the historian “because he tries to understand France, from a political point of view”.

“A subject little dealt with in France”

With this theme, Southern Sentinel is part of a legacy: that of Vietnam’s postwar films New Hollywoodsuch as A dog afternoonfrom Sidney Lumet. “It is a topic that is rarely addressed in France. I wanted to do it by responding to the problems of the genre but with a specific intimate look at European cinema. “

To embody his two main characters, he turns to two actors whom everything seems to oppose.

Niels Schneider was seen among others in Saverio Dolan. “Rather romantic, he had to be fattened and looked very earthy. On the day of the casting, he wore two large wool sweaters to give himself a peasant side, “says Mathieu Gérault.

As for Sofian Khammes, the director found out Chouffrom Karim Dridithen inside The world is Yoursfrom Romain Gavras. Two actors with “very different methods” who were able to satisfy the director’s “desire for a duo”.

To write his screenplay, Mathieu Gérault did not meet a veteran. “I was in the mood for fiction. Instead, he explored the “periphery” of the subject:

“I spoke to the caregivers of the psychological cell of the French army. I’ve seen documentaries, which I’ve shown to actors, and I’ve read a lot. “

Mathieu Geraultdirector

This first feature, Mathieu Gérault, wore him for “seven or eight years”. Before that, he fed on the films he discovered during his studies in economics, a reindeerin the early 90s, then from his odd jobs in Paris. “I was the first in my family to study. I discovered the arts at that time. “

Self-taught, he directed his first short film, Tall grassin 2001, awarded at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. Southern Sentinel earned him the audience award a Bergamo and, to its two main actors, the best actor award a Saint Jean de Luz.

A film released in the ’80s bocage

Monday, April 25, 2022, premiered the film in a major Parisian cinema. The “catastrophic” situation of the market does not scare him. “The film no longer belongs to me. “

Mathieu Gérault is already thinking about his next project, “still in an embryonic stage”, but already very personal: “I want to explore the bocage of the 80s and 90s. Preferably with a female character this time. »With a recovery in North Mayenne ? Not impossible: “We are always outdone where we come from. “

Practical: Sentinelle Sud is scheduled at the Le Vox cinema, in Mayenne. Sunday 1 May, at 2 pm, screening by the director.

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