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Global Economy

Director Laurent Cantet: Words always have a meaning

Euronews met French director Laurent Cantet. One of his biggest hits was “Die Klasse”. The Frenchman’s fifth feature film, a social study about a Parisian school class, won the main prize at the 61st Cannes Film Festival in 2008 with the Palme d’Or. Months later, the film was selected as the official French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film nomination at the 2009 Academy Awards and was nominated for the European Film Awards that same year.

With many amateur actors, the film “Die Klasse” tells of multicultural everyday life and the problems of a school in Paris.

Director Laurent Cantet likes to be inspired by reality or concrete events to take a close look at our society.

This year he returns to the screen with “Arthur Rambo”. The film tells the story of a young man from the suburbs who is enjoying success in the Parisian media – until homophobic and anti-Semitic tweets in his past are dug up and triggers his downfall.

complexity of French society

Cantet created the fictional character Karim, who went on social media under the pseudonym Arthur Rambo:

“He chose this pseudonym, which for me is already a portrait of his character,” says Cantet. “There’s those two literary ambitions, Arthur Rimbaud, and then there’s Rambo, that anger, that violence… He’s a mix of those two personalities.”

Two contrasting facets that point to the complexity of French society, rocked by the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the Bataclan, in which young people with a migrant background have a hard time finding their place:

“This status of social defector that these young people often have is a very fragile status. They fought to become, for example, writers, like Karim, the hero of the film,” says the director. “He knows very well that he doesn’t belong in this new world, which is very happy to accept him.”

The responsibility of writing

Karim’s rise is meteoric, his fall brutal. The director does not condemn his main character: he portrays him neither as a monster nor as a victim, he examines the question of responsibility for one’s own actions and the role of social networks:

“I hope that the film shows the responsibility that writing brings, whether it’s in the words, the books that made him famous, but also in the tweets he writes in a few seconds,” said Cantet. “Words are never insignificant and most importantly they are never deleted, the internet has an infinite memory.”

The film has just hit the cinemas in France and Portugal and will be shown in other European countries in the spring.

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