Of the films we’ve watched so far this festival, The Origin of Evil is one of the standouts and a must-see at the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023.
Starring the wonderful Laure Calamy who has gone from strength to strength since Call My Agent, The Origin of Evil is a film from director Sébastien Marnier, who also wrote the screenplay.
The film is about Stéphane (Laure Calamy), a young woman who works in a fish factory who decides to meet her father, Serge (Jacques Weber), that she never knew after her mother’s death. She enters into a world completely different to her own with a lavish mansion with sea views and where money is no object. However, she soon realises that she will have to battle 4 very strong, secretive women in order to stay in her father’s life.
Doria Tillier (also in Smoking causes coughing at this year’s AFFFF, and you may recognise her from La Belle Époque from the 2019 festival) plays George, the daughter who is in charge of her father’s business. She thinks that Stéphane has only appeared to try to get hold of her father’s money, and tells her on her first visit that she is not to come back.
Dominique Blanc plays Louise, Serge’s eccentric, shopaholic wife (who he claims spends 1500 euros a day). She doesn’t warm to Stéphane either telling her she looks nothing like her father and that he had slept with many women, some prettier than others suggesting her mother was not one of the prettier ones.
Véronique Ruggia Saura is the maid, Agnès, who also makes it clear early on that her allegiances lie with Louise. She is the eyes and ears of the mansion. Celeste Brunnquell (from the TV series In Therapy) plays George’s daughter, Jeanne, who spends weekends at the mansion with her mother. She too makes it clear that she is suspicious of Stéphane.
Then there is Suzanne Clément, the woman in prison who Stéphane is in a relationship with. She’s a volatile character, often bursting into emotional fits when she doesn’t get what she wants.
The cinematography is notable with some scenes being portrayed in particularly original ways – for example at a lunch when Stéphane is being quizzed by the mother, daughter and granddaughter, rather than filming each of them in turn, the screen is split to reveal all of them at once in separate panels. It effectively portrays the feeling the world is tightening around Stéphane. An aerial shot when Serge collapses is also an interesting change from the norm.
The score from composer Pierre Lapointe also adds to the tension and the intrigue. Director Sébastien Marnie describes his intentions for the score as: “I wanted something organic, but I also wanted to have accidents, like electric and emotional jolts. That is why there are sudden impulses, screeches (which are closer to sound design), eerie frog croaks…”
The Origin of Evil is expertly written revealing its secrets through a number of twists and turns that the audience won’t see coming. Told from Stéphane’s point of view as she gets to know her new family, we experience the revelations at the same time that she does.
There are always two sides to a story and don’t trust anyone seem to perhaps be the underlying messages in The Origin of Evil. It’s a film we recommend seeing at the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023.
Matilda Marseillaise viewed the film via a screener.
Find out when The Origin of Evil is showing in your city, via this link:
KEY INFO FOR AFFFF 2023
WHAT: Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 (AFFFF 2023) – the 34th edition of the largest celebration of French film outside of France!
WHERE & WHEN:
Sydney, NSW: 7th March to 5th April – Palace Central, Palace Verona, Palace Norton St, Chauvel Cinema, Hayden Orpheum Cremorne
Melbourne, VIC: 8th March to 5th April – Palace Cinema Como, Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Westgarth, The Astor Theatre, The Kino, Pentridge Cinema
Perth, WA: 8th March to 5th April – Luna Leederville, Luna on SX, Windsor Cinema, Palace Raine Square, Camelot Outdoor Cinema
Canberra, ACT: 9th March to 5th April – Palace Electric Cinema
Hobart, TAS: 9th to 19th March – State Cinema
Brisbane, QLD: 15th March to 12th April – Palace James Street, Palace Barracks
Byron Bay, NSW: 16th March to 5th April – Palace Byron Bay
Adelaide, SA: 23rd March to 19th April – Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinemas
Port Pirie, Renmark, Whyalla, Mount Gambier: 24th March to 26th March – Northern Festival, Chaffey Theatre, Middleback Arts Centre, Sir Robert Helpmann Theatre
Gold Coast, QLD: 29th March to 16th April – Dendy Southport
Parramatta, NSW: 29th March to 2nd April – Riverside Theatre Parramatta
Victor Harbour, SA: 3rd and 10th April – Victa Cinema
Bendigo, VIC: 21st to 23rd April – Star Cinema
HOW: The full program of 39 films can be viewed at the official Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 website via this link: https://www.affrenchfilmfestival.org/
HOW MUCH: Ticket prices vary between cities and there are also discounted festival passes available if you want to see several films. (NB You will need to pick the films and sessions when purchasing the pass)
See below for more AFFFF content
Our picks from the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 program
Alliance Française French Film Festival 2023 first 15 films announced
Country Cabaret: a fun farm film to see at AFFFF 2023
Final Cut: a comedic zombie film that’s even for people who don’t like horror or gore
Sugar and Stars: an inspiring tale about the road to sweet success
Silver Rockers: a film inspired by the story of rocker retirees from Normandy
The Colours of Fire: an heiress seeks revenge
Which films won at the César 2023 and where you can watch them