Ça brûle: Kindling romantic fiction
by Anne Feuillère
After A Foreign Body, her first feature, presented in Director’s Fortnight in 1997, Claire Simon went down the documentary route with 800 kms de différence – Romance (2001), followed by Mimi (2003).
This extraordinary and self-taught director, who never stops questioning what cinema storytelling consists of, has found a niche where she can blossom. That niche is desire. In 800 kms, she depicted her daughter’s teenage love affairs, while in Mimi she filmed the memories of a woman in Nice and the way in which they are brought to life through the places visited.
With Ça brûle, it is the desire of a very young and free but also strong and stubborn woman (Camille Varenne) that drives the film. In a sun-baked Provence, Livia falls off her horse and is saved by Jean (Gilbert Melki), a fireman with whom she falls passionately in love.
Simon follows her wanderings, adventures and enthusiasm with an approach that is attentive, silent and documentary-like. She films the body and this desire that kindles it right until the closing scenes, which centre on a catastrophic fire blazing in the hills, with a rare, suffocating intensity. Ça brûle is, above all, an incarnation of a romantic fiction that nothing can stop, with a passion that ignites the teenager’s body before it consumes the entire film.
Produced by Gilles Sandoz for Maïa Films and Promenade, in co-production with Switzerland (Vega Film & Promenades), the €2.3m film received an advance of receipts from the CNC, as well as funding from the Région Provence Alpes Côtes d'Azur and The Federal Office of Culture.
The film will be released in France on August 16 by Shellac.
(Translated from French)
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