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FESTIVALS Switzerland

Insecure, the simple and powerful story of a character adrift


- Reda Kateb puts on a splendid performance in a feature debut that gracefully rises above the clichés surrounding the topic of the lower-class suburbs. Revealed at Cannes in the ACID. programme

Insecure, the simple and powerful story of a character adrift

Marianne Tardieu astonished and moved the audience at the tenth edition of the Zurich Film Festival with a bold and elegant first feature film. Insecure [+see also:
interview: Marianne Tardieu
film profile
, the intimate portrait and diary of a character teetering between hope and desperation, has managed to tackle, in a simple, but at the same time aggressive way, the subject of life in French urban suburbia. Returned home to live with his parents, Chérif, a thirty-year-old with an uncertain future, dreams of one day working as a male nurse however, the entrance exam appears to be insurmountable. In the meantime he works as a security guard in a shopping centre close to his parents’ home where every day he has to endure harassment by a group of bored teenagers. Two major events turn his routine upside down: his encounter with the cheerful teacher Jenny (played by upcoming Adèle Exarchopoulos) and the unexpected appearance of his old childhood friend Dedah. Although his dream of becoming a nurse is within his grasp, his life begins to waver dangerously and the ghosts of his past return to haunt him.

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Marianne Tardieu depicts, in a simple but decisive way, working class life with its daily problems and its sad urban landscape, but illuminated by a vital energy, by an everlasting hope. Insecure portrays a world that is often overlooked, a universe populated by characters who fight for survival in a society that seems to have forgotten them. Marie Tardieu’s first feature questions the viewer and surprises them by revealing what hides beneath the banality of a seemingly grey and desolate existence. Chérif, excellently played by Reda Kateb, resplendent with strength and elegance, takes us into his private universe where nothing is easy and where dreams and ambitions have to contend with the problems of everyday life. The lead character of Insecure takes us by the hand and leads us through a shady and unknown district, which undermines and questions certain clichés about life in urban suburbia. Chérif is of rare elegance, always on the borderline between sadness and aggression, between the desire to change his life and the ease of living a life of petty crime. 

Marianne Tardieu focuses her camera on “real” characters, with feelings, desires and ambitions, continually in search of a balance that often seems out of reach. Insecure shows us how these “no man’s lands” are not just solid and impersonal concrete monsters in which violence reigns supreme. Marianne Tardieu deftly and simply reconstructs a space in which each character has a specific place; a place in which they battle against the monotony of daily life with willpower, with a rare urgency to live and with the firm desire to change their destiny. A radiant movie.

Qui vive is sold worldwide by Urban Distribution International.

(Translated from Italian)

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