Vive l’anarchie! Rock, rebellion and the teenage blues – a familiar formula gets a turbo-charged new treatment in this sub-culture panorama from French director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire.
Even if a screening is sold out, tickets are often available 30 minutes before the start of the film at the box office at each venue.
- Director Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
- Producer Victorien Vaney, Anna Lena Vaney
- Screenwriter Camille Vizzavona, Georgina Tacou, Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire
- With Paul Bartel, Béatrice Dalle, Marie-Ange Casta
- France 2012
- 90 mins
- Production company Anna Lena Films
These kids in leather jackets and super-spiked Mohicans may seem like a counter-cultural throwback to Kings Road circa 1978. But Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s drama – based on a book written at age 15 by Boris Bergmann – shows that in some corners of Europe, punk’s not dead as an outlet for seething youth rage. Up-and-comer Paul Bartel plays Paul, who lives with his mother (Béatrice Dalle) and deeply resents the absence of the father who never accepted him. Paul finds camaraderie on the Paris hardcore scene, and (only too briefly) love. Director Sauvaire made the startling Johnny Mad Dog, about African child soldiers, and the same confrontational energy is present here. With its quasi-documentary footage of a subculture that may seem fossilised yet refuses to die, Punk is ferocious, but tender too – the domestic scenes offer a rare sighting of Béatrice Dalle used not just as an icon but as a formidable performer.
At first, Boris Bergmann’s book, Viens-là que je te tue ma belle, written at the age of 15, as a necessity to communicate his experience, his loss, his agonies, with this vitality and violence appropriate to adolescence. Paul faces his life with all his strength, existing by any means possible, sometimes even putting himself in danger. Not having proper references: a mother as lost as him, an absent father, he has to confront himself with his reality, to create himself, to construct his own proper identity. A story of the rite of passage into adulthood, universal, almost oedipal, through music, punk as a genuine initiation, with its appropriate rites, its codes, its costumes, and this adolescent generation searching to leave its mark. A film constructed as a personal diary, a mental journey, that of Paul, in his questionings, his doubts, his fears, his joys, his meetings, his rage, searching to transcribe his own universe, to be within his thoughts, his memories, his search for his father, his carnal relation with his mother, her imagination, as much as in its breath and in its sweat. Concerts, friends, parties, discovery of love, the confrontation of the body, solitude. In these young people of today, in their ardour, their lust for life, their animal nature, their fragility, I rediscovered something of the children soldiers of Johnny Mad Dog. It is certainly this energy that touched me in this story, in its characters as well as a means to make a visceral film. Visceral because, as a spectator, one can live this film from the interior, in apnoea, ‘with’ the teenagers, ‘as’ the teenagers. Rediscover this unconscious madness, this universal period, timeless and common to each of us. Plunge back into the discovery of life and of love, at the rhythm of Paul, intense, passionate, sometimes naive but always with desire. In perpetual movement, the film embarks upon an urban and nocturnal universe in Paris, London and Berlin, its underground concerts, its squats, its underground passages, its passageways... Testify also to what has become the punk scene in 2012, with the concerts of mythical English groups such as The Addicts, Abrasive Wheels, the New York punk movement with The Casualties, or the German current punk hardcore scene with the group PestPocken. A diversity which seems to demonstrate that punk continues to survive, in spite of the fact that we could think it’s a bygone era. Punk is not dead.
An assistant director from 1994-2000, he made an instant impact with his boldly stylish shorts (Matalo! played at Sundance in 2005) and his documentary Carlitos Medellin, and had his Mathieu Kassovitz-produced debut feature about African boy soldiers, Johnny Mad Dog, premiered – and honoured – in the Un Certain Regard section of Cannes in 2008, prior to its LFF outing and subsequent UK release. Punk is his second feature, and he is in development on an adaptation of Laurent Mauvignier’s book In the Crowd, on the Heysel Stadium disaster.
2000 La Mule [s]
2001 A Dios [doc s]
2004 Carlitos Medellin [doc]
2005 Matalo! [s]
2008 Johnny Mad Dog