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Zabladowski
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Diables, Les (2002)
20. Sep 2002 at 11:14
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Les Diables, which in English is The Devils, is another film that won't be on my wish list for long. I expect to see it in October. It features Vincent Rottiers who appears to be making his film debut. The official website is at (You need to Login or Register to view media files and links) it is possible to download the trailer from there. The story summary is courtesy of the Toronto International Film Festival.

In his uncompromisingly intense yet delicately emotional second feature, Christophe Ruggia presents the world of two youngsters abandoned by their mother. Fearlessly, and with a keen sense of identification, he builds a deeply troubling universe where the children seem caught in a vortex from which they cannot escape.

Chloé (Adèle Haenel) is 13 years old and unable – or unwilling – to speak. Damaged by years of abandonment, she cannot bear to be touched, but loyally and unquestioningly follows her younger brother, Joseph (Vincent Rottiers). The years on their own, running from every home to which they have been sent, have made Joseph mature and cunning far beyond his years. He looks out for Chloé, fully aware that the special nature of her trauma could cause them to be separated at any turn, but prepared to fight at all costs to preserve the only family either sibling has ever known. He is fiercely protective of his sister, jealously guarding her from any attempt to make her whole again.

Theirs is a mutual dependency of tragic proportions, but to gain any sense of health and normality in their lives, the cycle will somehow have to be broken. When they end up in a hospice for runaways and disturbed children, and in the care of a professional psychiatrist, a door opens for the first time – but will the two of them enter?

Ferocious, emotional, kinetic and restless, Les Diables marks the arrival of a filmmaker with the courage to face this material without flinching. The clarity of Ruggia’s direction and the unaffected, wonderfully honest performances of Haenel and Rottiers combine to create an unforgettable experience. In this steel-tipped film, the world of children is stripped of its pastel glow and rendered as a stark urban cage, making Joseph’s ardent, inexhaustible love for his older sister meaningful, if deeply troubling.
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« Last Edit: 16. Feb 2004 at 22:09 by cal-Q-L8 »  
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Zabladowski
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Diables, Les (2002)
Reply #1 - 07. Oct 2002 at 02:00
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I saw this film make its American premiere. After reviewing what I had posted about it, my feeling is that the synopsis is a little misleading. This film is indeed about Joseph's fierce attachment to his sister and the lengths he will go to maintain that bond. The question of them staying in the Children's home was never in doubt - I'm not sure why the publicists wanted to raise that issue. What the psychiatrist helps Chloe do is get over her fear of touching and being touched.
What the synopsis does not prepare you for is the brutality and sensuality contained in the film. If L.I.E. is NC-17, this movie is NC-34! The film is very powerful, violent and sensual sometimes all at the same time. Both stars perform fully nude in some scenes. It is highly unlikely that this film will ever see a commercial release in America - at least in its present form.

Christophe Ruggia was in attendance to discuss his film. He stated that the film was based in part on his own personal experience of being a delinquent from a broken home. The title, which I thought referred to his two lead characters, is actually directed at the adults who mistreated these characters. Ruggia wants to make the case that the blame for juveniles becoming delinquent is solely that of adults. He added that he worked with Vincent Rottiers and Adele Haenel for six months to prepare them for the roles they were going to portray. He claimed Vincent was picked off the street for his role and is now 15 years old (although he looks younger in the film). Adele is now 12 (she definitely looked "more developed" in the film).

Overall my rating movie rating (9/10) boy movie rating (7/10) Joseph is central to the story and appears in almost all scenes, there are other boy characters -  one of them a moderate supporting role, with deductions taken for appearance and temperment.
  
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Sir Jacob
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Diables, Les (2002)
Reply #2 - 07. Oct 2002 at 10:27
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Zabladowski, thanks for bringing us this update of your review after seeing this film. I've got to tell you that your reviews are some of the best I've ever seen here, and I couldn't appreciate your efforts more. A thousand thank-you's to you for taking the time to share your thoughts about these great film festival movies with us both before and after you've seen them.

I do hope I get to see this one sometime, and I hope they don't censor it to where it loses the power and sensuality that you've protrayed here. It's hard to find truly "honest" movies in the U.S. anymore when they deal with the issues that children face.

Love,
Sir J
  
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Zabladowski
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Diables, Les (2002)
Reply #3 - 19. Oct 2002 at 14:58
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Newsflash from Chicago!
Vincent Rottiers received the ONLY individual acting award issued this year by the Chicago International Film Festival. He received the gold plaque for his great performance in this film. Thumbs Up:
  
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Reply #4 - 19. Oct 2002 at 21:17
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I really hope I get to see this one day. Thanks for your updates and awesome reviews, Zab. The boy's got some really beautiful eyes!
  
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cal-Q-L8
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Diables, Les (2002)
Reply #5 - 27. Oct 2002 at 00:40
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Profile added.

Great review as usual Zab.  Smiley
  
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