Occidental

Genre : Adventure
Type : Fiction
Column : Cinema/tv
Year of production : 2017

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The mood is heated. Demonstrations are taking place across France, also in front of the Paris hotel where an Italian named Giorgio is booking the bridal suite for him and his boyfriend Antonio. Hotel manager Diana doesn't trust them and calls the police to get rid of the odd couple. Italians? Homosexuals? Criminals? In the charged atmosphere of the Hotel Occidental, little is needed for initial suspicions to be aroused. While street battles rage outside and a politician tries to play down the situation in a TV interview, everyone inside attempts to turn things to their own advantage. This leads to faith in the security camera, absurd dialogues and mad conclusions, fainting spells and an explosive showdown complete with fervent gestures. The music provides the suspense, aside from the schmaltzy Italian love song. Art prints comment on the action, referencing the history of civilisation from Napoleon's military campaigns to Warhol's banana. The 70s look of the lobby, which evokes the set of a boulevard play, turns out to be the setting for a comedy shaped by the current social climate. Everything is fake here, including love. Or is it?

A film by Neïl Beloufa

France, 2017, Drama, 73 min · Colour, French / Italial

With
Idir Chender (Antonio)
Anna Ivacheff (Diana)
Paul Hamy (Giorgio)
Louise Orry-Diquero (Romy)
Hamza Meziani (Khaled)
Brahim Tekfa (Karim)

Second feature

NOTE BY THE PROGRAMMER

The arrival of a gay couple at a retro-'70s Parisian hotel sparks a series of absurd anecdotal actions involving homophobia, racism, misogyny, terrorist threats, and political manipulations, in artist-filmmaker Neïl Beloufa's clever, hyper-stylized critique of today's xenophobic ideologies.

Acclaimed artist-filmmaker Neïl Beloufa is known for his ingenious sculptural set pieces and mock mises en scène that refract cultural assumptions via inventive ricochet. His second feature, Occidental, is terrifically deceptive and smart. It recasts today's mainstream ideologies and fears as dramatic triggers within a narrative hothouse composed of fake scenery, a loose storyline that satirically reflects the uneasy context of our contemporary world, and evocations of multiple genres: neo-noir, comedy of manners, thriller, romance.

The film takes place almost entirely within Hotel Occidental - a retro,'70s-inflected set built by Beloufa in his artist studio - which functions as a geopolitical microcosm while a mass demonstration rages in the streets of Paris. Inside the hotel, the atmosphere is thick with intrigue and eroticism since the arrival of mysterious, flirty, and handsome "Italian" Giorgio (played by Paul Hamy from João Pedro Rodrigues' The Ornithologist), who requests the bridal suite for himself and his male companion. The receptionist may be smitten, but the hotel manager instantly suspects their attitude and alerts the police, despite there being no evidence of any wrongdoing. The cops and hotel staff soon find themselves confronted by a series of absurd anecdotal actions involving homophobia, racism, misogyny, terrorist threats, and political manipulations.

Wilfully claustrophobic with its boxy aspect ratio, and coloured in high Godardian artifice, Occidental is hyper-stylized, clever, and comical, parsing the complexity of present-day morality using the likes of Coca-Cola (?) and a hidden love story in order to reflect upon French life, politics, and pervasive xenophobia.

ANDRÉA PICARD - TIFF 2017, Toronto

Written and directed by Neïl Beloufa
Director of Photography: Guillaume Le Grontec
Editor: Ermanno Corrado
Music: Grégoire Bourdeil, Alexandre Geindre
Sound Design: Arno Ledoux
Sound: Arno Ledoux, François Bailly
Production Design: Dan Perez

Producers:
Jacques Dodart, Hugo Jeuffrault, Pierre Malachin (Bad Manners)

Production
Bad Manners
Montreuil, France
+33 6 42272469
pierre@neilbeloufa.com

World sales
MPM Film
Paris, France
+33 6 45059110
rmonastier@mpmfilm.com


2017 | 42th Toronto International Film Festival, Canada | 7-17 sept 2017
* Selection - Wavelengths
* North American Premiere
www.tiff.net/tiff/occidental/

2017 | Berlinale 2017 (67th Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin), Germany | Feb 9-19
* Selection - Forum
* World Premiere
www.berlinale.de/en/archiv/jahresarchive/2017/02_programm_2017/02_Filmdatenblatt_2017_201713445.php

_____________

DE

Die Stimmung ist aufgeheizt. In ganz Frankreich finden Demonstrationen statt, auch vor dem Pariser Hotel, in dem der Italiener Giorgio die Hochzeitssuite für sich und seinen Freund Antonio bucht. Die Hotelmanagerin Diana traut den beiden nicht und ruft die Polizei, um das merkwürdige Paar loszuwerden. Italiener? Homosexuelle? Verbrecher? Für einen Anfangsverdacht braucht es im Kammerspiel-Ambiente des Hotels Occidental nicht viel. Während draußen eine Straßenschlacht tobt und ein Politiker im TV-Interview abwiegelt, versucht hier jeder, das Beste für die eigenen Interessen herauszuholen. Das führt zum Glauben an die Überwachungskamera, zu absurden Dialogen und irrwitzigen Schlussfolgerungen, Ohnmachtsanfällen und einem explosiven Showdown mit Kniefall. Die Musik sorgt für Suspense, wenn nicht gerade eine italienische Liebesschnulze intoniert wird. Kunstdrucke kommentieren das Geschehen mit Zivilisationsgeschichte von Napoleons Feldzügen zu Warhols Banane. Die Hotellobby im 70er-Jahre-Look, die wie die Kulisse eines Boulevardtheaterstücks wirkt, erweist sich als Schauplatz einer vom aktuellen gesellschaftlichen Klima geprägten Komödie. Hier ist alles Fake. Auch die Liebe. Oder?

von Neïl Beloufa

Frankreich, 2017, Spielfilm, 73 Min · Farbe, Französisch

Mit
Idir Chender (Antonio)
Anna Ivacheff (Diana)
Paul Hamy (Giorgio)
Louise Orry-Diquero (Romy)
Hamza Meziani (Khaled)
Brahim Tekfa (Karim)

Regie, Buch
Neïl Beloufa

Kamera
Guillaume Le Grontec

Schnitt
Ermanno Corrado

Musik
Grégoire Bourdeil, Alexandre Geindre

Sound Design
Arno Ledoux

Ton
Arno Ledoux, François Bailly

Production Design
Dan Perez

Produzenten
Jacques Dodart, Hugo Jeuffrault, Pierre Malachin (Bad Manners)

Produktion
Bad Manners
Montreuil, Frankreich
+33 6 42272469
pierre@neilbeloufa.com

Weltvertrieb
MPM Film
Paris, Frankreich
+33 6 45059110
rmonastier@mpmfilm.com

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