The latest movie by Camille Vidal-Naquet, in U.S. theaters on April 10, follows a young man who sells his body on the streets of Paris for a bit of cash.
Léo (Félix Maritaud), 22, works as a prostitute to earn a little money in the Bois de Boulogne park in Paris or outside an airport. The romantic but “wild” young man lives either on the street or in a squat, and spends his days fighting, putting up with insults, taking drugs, drinking, and eating unsavory meals. This is until he meets Ahd (Eric Bernard), another prostitute he falls in love with. But Ahd rejects him. The movie follows Léo’s character closely, offering a full-frontal, almost documentary style, without falling into pornography or sugar-coating reality.
While writing the screenplay, the director claims to have drawn inspiration from the character of Mona in Agnès Varda’s Vagabond and Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke, “a dreamer who finds himself in prison among gangsters, a misfit, and something of a poet, fearless, who faces violence and humiliation but always gets back on his feet.” A sincerity reminiscent of the cinema of Pier Paolo Pasolini. Sauvage is also a big break for the young actor Félix Maritaud, exceptional in the role of Léo and who was already noticed in Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats per Minute). A first feature-length movie that confirms the energy of the new generation of French art house cinema.
U.S. release: April 10, 2019
Running time: 97 min
Director: Camille Vidal-Naquet
With: Félix Maritaud, Éric Bernard, Nicolas Dibla, Philippe Ohrel, Marie Seux
U.S. distributor: Strand Releasing
Article published in the April 2019 issue of France-Amérique