The Players: Jean Dujardin dares
by Fabien Lemercier
29/02/2012 - Released on 500 copies by Mars Distribution, the collectif film The Players [trailer] hits French cinemas with perfect timing, just a few days after the memorable Oscars ceremony on Sunday that crowned The Artist [trailer, film focus], Michel Hazanavicius, and Jean Dujardin.
Jean Dujardin and Gilles Lellouche co-wrote the screenplay of The Players along with Stéphane Joly, Philippe Cavernière and Nicolas Bedos, a series of short films reminiscent of Monstres by Dino Risi and of Bertrand Blier's caustic works. They also directed one of its six segments, with the others directed by Emmanuelle Bercot, Fred Cavayé, Alexandre Courtes, Michel Hazanavicius, and Eric Lartigau, and acted in the film alongside Guillaume Canet, Sandrine Kiberlain, Alexandra Lamy, Géraldine Nakache, Mélanie Doutey, and Manu Payet. A talented troop of actors for a quite a transgressive result, that oscillates between comedy and drama, and that doesn’t miss an opportunity to be cruel in its treatment of the archetype of masculine infidelity.
"We used this theme to play guys who are spineless, slippery, cowardly, cunning,” explains Jean Dujardin. "I had a desire for a certain excess, to go far with words, far with the body. We speak to free and consenting adults. The aim is never to shock gratuitiously but to go after things, to suggest situations that are funny and a little subversive, to shake you and make you react.” The actor, and producer of The Players with JD Prod and Black Dynamite Films, is not afraid to be bold: “This project allows me to offer something else, to not become "The Artist". I don’t want to let myself be trapped in a frozen image. I want to always surprise, even if this means burning my wings. It's not calculated, it’s my nature.”
Also out this Wednesday are the brilliant Oslo, August 31st [trailer, film focus] by Norwegian director Joachim Trier, unveiled at the Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes and selected for Sundance (Memento Films sur 38 copies), the Franco-Belgian co-production Last Winter [trailer] by John Shank (watch the interview), well-received at the Journée des Auteurs in Venice (Le Pacte on 21 copies), Rives [trailer] by Armel Hostiou (discovered during the Association du Cinéma Indépendant pour sa Diffusion (ACID)’s Cannes programme - Epicentre Films on 10 copies), and the documentary De mémoires d'ouvriers by Gilles Perret (distribution Cp Productions).
(Translated from French)