Champs Elysées Film Festival: Our ceremonies, nugget of fantastic cinema made in France [critique]

Presented last night, this first feature film, as destabilizing as it is bewitching, centered on two brothers linked by a mysterious secret, reveals the talent of a filmmaker to follow: Simon Rieth

Our ceremonies belongs to this category of films about which it is necessary to know as little as possible beforehand, otherwise it will damage the effect of surprise(s) and bewitchment that it provokes. We will therefore simply say that it is the story of two brothers that we discover, kids, in a particularly powerful start to the story. Two children, Tony and Noé playing a dangerous game on a cliff near Royan. The game of death and chance. They sprint as fast as they can and must, to win, stop as close to the end of the end of said cliff as possible. And we barely have time to fear the worst for them until the worst happens. The eldest, 8-year-old Tony, fails to stop and falls several meters spectacularly. He is believed to be dead. He is not. But this miracle then tilts the film towards this mystery that we evoked, a secret to life and death that will unite these two brothers whom we will find ten years later, in the same place, when their father has just died. . A place where they had not set foot for ages, after the divorce of their parents, and where they find Cassandre, their childhood sweetheart, the only witness of the accident and the miracle that followed and therefore bearer of a secret whose ramifications will never cease to amaze.

This first feature film by Simon Rieth, discovered as part of the Cannes Critics’ Week, seduces by its way of revisiting the genre of the coming of age story through this pact between brothers which will crack because of a story of love. In their younger years, Cassandra had a soft spot for Tony. As a teenager, it is Noé, as reserved as his big brother seems to have become a boaster, to whom she is closest. This provokes increasingly uncontrollable reactions in Tony, which Noé observes with a phlegm that inevitably confuses and creates a muted tension, including or more precisely especially in the most peaceful moments. There is in each plan of Our ceremonies everything we see and everything we are aware that they are hiding from us. Simon Rieth mixes in a fluidity never faulted learning story and fantastic fable by the power of suggestion of his staging and the direction of the photo signed Marine Atlan (another name to remember, that we had already seen at the work for jessica forever by Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel) its anamorphic scope, its bright contrasting colors but also thanks to the stunning charisma of the two beginner actors – and brothers in “real” life – who play Tony and Noé: Simon and Raymond Baur. The fact of calling on unknown faces contributes to this essential loss of bearings so that nothing interferes with the essential: this fusional relationship struck by the venom of jealousy which will make Tony and Noah real enemy brothers suddenly seeking to take advantage against the other of the pact which unites them. Our ceremonies he never tries to startle us, he takes us on board and shakes us gently and deeply. Without a single second we guess how this duo will end. Its quiet power amazes for a first realization. There is still a screening to discover it this weekend… nine months before its theatrical release. Don’t miss it!

By Simon Rieth. With Simon Baur, Raymond Baur, Maïra Villena… Duration: 1h44. Released March 22, 2023

Screened at the Champs-Elysées Film Festival: Saturday June 25 at 5:45 p.m. (Publicis Cinéma)

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