Olympic Games-2024: French cinema goes to the Paris Games

(AFP) – The fiasco of the French delegation and the bugs in the Olympic village in “L’Esprit Coubertin”, the shark in the Seine in the middle of the triathlon competition in “Sous la Seine”… Six months before the opening ceremony, the Olympic Games in Paris inspire French cinema.

“I didn’t expect the world of culture, whether cinematographic or otherwise, to take over this event to such an extent,” emphasizes Dominique Hervieu, responsible for the Cultural Olympiad, the form of artistic variation for the 2024 Olympics.

This year, the Lumière Institute of Lyon dedicated the eleventh edition of the “Sport, Literature and Cinema” festival to the centenary of the Winter Olympics in Chamonix and the Summer Olympics in Paris in 1924 with photo exhibitions, screenings and meetings with the president of the organizing committee of the games, Tony Estanguet, accompanied by Dominique Hervie.

“There is a long tradition between sport and cinema,” recalled Thierry Frémaux, Director of the Lumière Institute and General Delegate of the Cannes Festival, during this meeting. The history buff spoke to a packed room about the International Olympic Committee’s commission for filmmaker Claude Lelouch for the 1968 Grenoble Winter Games.

The film was called “13 Days in France”, in reference to the thirteen days of suffering, from February 6 to 18, 1968.

– “People’s Forces” –

According to Dominique Hervieu, “Cinema and sport historically have something to say: they are the two main popular forces of fervor that attract millions of people”. “I think it’s amazing that artists, even in cinema, want to join the party by harnessing the rush of Olympic energy,” he enthuses.

In addition to the Lyon Festival, the 2024 cultural program offers more than 2,000 Olympic-themed events in France in bookstores, major museums and cinemas.

French audiences could already see “Comme un Prince”, a comedy with Ahmed Sylla telling the story of Souleyman, a young multi-medal boxer who gives up his dreams of Olympic victory with the French team after a stupid fight. and irreversible hand injury.

Thirty-nine-year-old director Ali Marhyar, a former boxing partner of several members of the French team, himself “dreamed of the Olympics” when he was younger.

“I met many athletes who were promised gold medals and peaks,” he recalls, noting the depression of one of them after an injury. The “starting point” of his film.

Previewed at the Alpe d’Huez International Comedy Film Festival, “L’Esprit Coubertin” will be released in French cinemas on May 8, the day the Olympic flame arrives in Marseille.

– “Evidence” –

Then in June, Netflix will air “Sous la Seine,” Xavier Gens’ thriller starring Bérénice Bejo, which imagines the world triathlon championships in Paris disrupted by the presence of a shark in the depths of the river.

For Jérémie Sein, the director of “L’Esprit Coubertin”, the use of the Olympic Games in 2024 was “a matter of course”.

“I said + but wait, in your country, in your city there are Games +, it was important for me to make the first film whose arena will be sports,” he explains to AFP. His references: the Barcelona edition in 1992, before which he was “excited” or even the swimmer Laure Manaudou, whose story is “intimately linked to the Games” and to whom “they thought of dedicating a film”.

“L’Esprit Coubertin” tells the fiasco of the French delegation in Paris, all hopes for a medal fell on Paul, an exceptional but immature and not very smart sports shooter, around whom the whole country vibrates, played by Benjamin Voisin.

“That’s also what the games are: enthusiasm for athletes we didn’t know an hour before,” laughs the actor, a fan of these Olympic televised marathons every four years.

And if pessimists see the cautionary side of the French move depicted in the film, its director assures us: “We will already have many medals from day one”.

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