Donoma breaks production boundaries
by Fabien Lemercier
21/11/2011 - A debut feature self-produced for a €150 budget, selected at Pusan, Montreal, London’s Raindance, Athens, in the ACID line-up at Cannes, at Budapest, Miami and New York, with rave reviews from critics enthused by the film’s realism and intensity despite its technical imperfections: Donoma [trailer] ("The day is there" in Sioux language), which will be launched in French theatres on Wednesday by Commune Image Média on a print-run of about 50, is creating a stir. Thirty-year-old Djinn Carrénard helmed the film as director, screenwriter, DoP, sound engineer, editor and producer (via Donoma Prod). The emerging filmmaker’s own life is original in itself for he was born in Haiti which he left at the age of 11 to spend two years in Togo followed by four years in French Guyana before settling in Paris in 1998.
Donoma has found a significant champion in Abdelatif Kechiche who talks about "a magnificent, intelligent and sensitive film. It has something very free and very controlled about it. The script is completely mad, as well as being orchestrated with great mastery. It dares to broach inner problems, which are difficult in cinema. There is great ease and subtlety in the directing. All the actors are outstanding! It’s really a film in a class of its own, which heralds a new era for French cinema. Donoma is a film made without a producer. A pure artist’s film."
Featuring Emilia Derou-Bernal, Sékouba Doucouré, Salomé Blechmans, Vincent Perez, Matthieu Longuatte, Laetitia Lopez and Laura Kpegli, Donoma interweaves three stories of couples: the ambiguous relationship between a female teacher living in Paris with the dunce of her suburban school class, the experiences of a young woman disappointed in love who decides to go out with just anybody and those of a young agnostic girl who asks herself questions about the Christian religion and meets a former skinhead turned religious believer.
"I brought together some actors and I tried to set it out to them with as few false hopes as possible: we’re going to make a film without money, we’re nobody and we know nobody in this profession, we mustn’t hope for more from this project than a screening in a cinema with all our mates", said Carrénard. "I set up a strategy that could be summed up thus: when we need something for the shoot, we borrow it, otherwise we do without. The resources are almost non-existent, not out of pique, but because I’m filming a war: the couple. The war reporter that I am carries his equipment alone, ﬁlms quickly and simply. When it is supposed to be 3 a.m. in the story, it is 3 a.m. when we shoot. No foundation cream, no boom, no waiting to set up the lighting... Are we ready? Let’s shoot." This adventure has been widely talked about on the social networks, but it would never have reached screens without an essential ingredient: talent.
(Translated from French)