lessons of darkness
With Flawless And Exit time, Sébastien Marnier had already shown a certain plastic ease and a particular attention to the elegance of his frame, the richness of his colors and the creativity of his machinery. This love of form is found even more vividly in The origin of evilwith large split screen shots, zoom, ratio games and bubble shots.
The director also uses anamorphic lenses to distort the image and show the characters’ monstrosity or the anxious nature of the setting. These cinematic tools are never gadgets, but constant vectors of sensations and meanings. Like his first two films, The origin of evil allows Sébastien Marnier to enjoy the formal possibilities of cinema without ever succumbing to visual swagger or fake tour de force.
Great cinematic fun
All of this contributes to a particularly exciting toxic atmosphere, in particular embodied by a handful of strong images like that of the incandescent Laure Calamy who extricates herself from a foggy corridor, or that of the female troupe enthroned on their imposing sofa. Sébastien Marnier uses a keen sense of framing to iconize his characters and offer the viewer powerful and impactful images.
An art of staging that comes to dress what begins as a social drama, in which the themes of the psychological thriller gradually interfere, while it is crossed by moments of pure grotesque comedy. The origin of evil mix genres with infectious funwhile it doubles these codes with a decoration and structure that appeals to the macabre tale.
Between heaven and hell
These different registers combine and contaminate each other, Sébastien Marnier to have fun to pervert the genres and styles he stages. In fact, if Exit time it was a poisonous exploration of teen movie, The origin of evil it takes up the codes of drama and / or family comedy, and augments them with a dark and ambiguous tone that is quite enjoyable.
Between the dinner scene and the morning walk, the director contaminates the family film with darkness and transforms it into a spectacular game of massacre where the blood bond is only a source of hypocrisy, betrayal and manipulation. The origin of evil thus upsets a certain family ideal, in the same way that it reveals an unprecedented aspect of almost each of its actresses.
The sunny Laure Calamy signs perhaps her role in the darkest cinema, the elegant Dominique Blanc has never been so extravagant and Suzanne Clément unveils a game of astonishing brutality, little exploited until now. Sebastian Marnier perverts the image of its actressesallowing viewers to rediscover them, more extraordinary than ever.
An extraordinary cast
The same goes for the huge mansion that houses this strange family. Resplendent and bright on the outside, the house is stuffy and messy on the inside. These immense rooms saturated with extravagant objects, these crushing lines and this protruding marble therefore act as an organic and sensory catalyst to the anxious relationships that unite the characters.
Protagonists who, like that of Marina Foïs in Flawless and that of Laurent Lafitte in Exit timeare constantly evolving and they in turn turn out to be captivating, disturbing and detestable. The origin of evil plays with the viewer’s empathy, constantly upsetting their expectations and preconceptions. The result is a great pleasure in writing, emotionally as stimulating as it is disturbing.
The devil’s house
It is not a country for old people
With Sébastien Marnier, the protagonists are often the most ambiguous and off-center characters. However, almost everyone seems to have it a common challenge, that of finding one’s place in a group, be it family, couple or friendship, to survive or simply to be loved. A reason that in no way justifies their actions throughout history, but which makes their journey even more palpable and sensitive.
Laure Calamy’s character is a particularly strong example of this because behind the ambivalence and complexity of her character, the evidence and simplicity of her motivations make her immediately moving, if not tragic. In Sébastien Marnier’s cinema there is neither Manichaeism nor morality.
This is demonstrated by these characters for whom the end always justifies the means, but also the treatment without clumsy didactic of dense and complex themes like patriarchy, sisterhood and class struggle. By distributing a collection of political motivations around these various topics without posting ready-made answers, The origin of evil thinks the contemporary with force and relevance, without ever giving a lesson or appearing overbearing.
The origin of the male
This is, after all, all the subtlety and intelligence of the film: when The origin of evil speaks of the end of patriarchy, it does so by presenting a destructive and manipulative male dethroned by a dominant and predatory sisterhood. When she talks about a class defector, she takes the point of view of a proletarian heroine crushed by a bourgeois family, while her very innocence hides a heavy secret.
Sebastian Marnier it does not affirm a submoral view of society. You enjoy constantly reworking and redistributing the political charge of your film, remembering the origin of evil, but continually problematizing its consequences. This third film becomes a simple and entertaining story, which nevertheless leads to a rich and complex meditation on our society and the human race in general.