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GIFFONI EXPERIENCE 2015 - 17.26 July

Sections & Films

ASTRAGAL

Category: Edition 2015

Synopsis
One night in April, 1957. Nineteen-year-old Albertine escapes from prison, where she is serving time after a hold-up. She leaps from the prison wall, and in so doing, breaks a bone in her foot: the astragalus. She crawls to the road and hails down a car. She is rescued by Julien, on the run from the law, who takes her to a friend’s house in Paris to hide out. While he continues his life of petty crime in the provinces, she learns to walk again in the French capital. Julien is arrested and imprisoned. Alone and avoiding the police, who are on her tail, Albertine turns to prostitution to survive and, from hide-out to hide-out, and from encounter to encounter, struggles at all cost to maintain her fragile freedom. But the physical suffering she endures is nothing compared to what Julien’s absence provokes in her body and soul.

Original Title L’ASTRAGALE
Category Official Competition
Section Generator +18
Tipology Feature Film
Duration 97'
Production Year 2015
Nationality France
Directed by Brigitte Sy
Screenplay Brigitte Sy, Serge Le Péron
Based on the book “L’astragale”
by Albertine Sarrazin
Director of photography Frédéric Serve
Editor Julie Dupré
Production Design Françoise Arnaud
Costume Design Françoise Arnaud
Sound Luc Meilland
Music Béatrice Thiriet
Main cast Leïla Bekhti (Albertine)
Reda Kateb (Julien)
Esther Garrel (Marie)
Jocelyne Desverchère (Nini)
India Hair (Suzy)
Jean-Charles Dumay (Roger)
Produced by Paulo Branco

Photo-officielle-Brigitte-Sy OKBrigitte Sy
Born 1956, Paris. She is an actress and director. As an actress, she appeared in several feature films directed by Philippe Garrel: LIBERTY AT NIGHT (LIBERTÉ, LA NUIT, 1984); EMERGENCY KISSES (LES BAISERS DE SECOURS, 1989); I CAN NO LONGER HEAR THE GUITAR (J’ENTENDS PLUS LA GUITARE, 1991); REGULAR LOVERS (LES AMANTS RÉGULIERS, 2005). In 2008 she made her debut fiction short film as a director, THE BEST PLACE (L’ENDROIT IDÉAL), followed in 1999 by the documentary short film FRUITS DE MER. In 2009 she directed her first feature film, FREE HANDS (LES MAINS LIBRES). ASTRAGALUS is her second feature film as a director.

Director’s statement

«I spent a quarter of my life in prison, I moved to juvenile court, correctional, Assises, I fought, I sighed, I laughed; also I know deep in my certainty that under the tangled bushel of rock and scrap metal, sleepless nights and gray hours, there is always one day, a way back...» A.S.

“When very young I read ‘Astragal’, I must have felt my destiny would be tied, though not exactly like Albertine Sarrazin’s, to prison.

“It’s possible that in my distant nights, I dreamed of being Albertine, long before walking myself on the other side of the wall. Or maybe I dreamed that this royal and mischievous woman, gentle and violent, ironic, intellectual, sensual and tender, aggressive and determined, was my mother.

“ASTRAGAL is the story of a passionate love: from a 20 years old young girl to a man who took her in, wounded, at the foot of the prison wall she just escaped one night of April 1957. Albertine’s escape will end in June 1958 with her arrest in Paris.

The action of my movie is set between these two dates.

“ASTRAGAL is an extraordinary story, through the miraculous encounter between Albertine and Julien, intensified by their obstacles to be together.

“Thanks to him, she walks again. She suffers from her physical injury but it’s mostly from love that she aches.

“It’s also the portrait of a young woman whose passion for extreme, love of freedom and exhilaration of youth make her an eternally modern heroine. Albertine doesn’t belong to anything, she belongs to herself. She is her world, her land, her own planet. A planet on fire that will explode later in full flight.

“On the run, and in a war against everything that hampers her at the time when Algeria is running with fire and blood, when the first attacks occur in France and when the National Liberation Front hunt is launched. Albertine, born in Algeria, abandoned then adopted by a French couple, ‘ignores’ her North African origins. She walks the streets of Paris and runs throughout France. Wanted, every minute of freedom may be the last, every frown threatens her of a treason.

“If her extraordinary ability to believe she is indestructible preserves her from the dangers that threaten her, it’s mostly her indomitable need to write that saves her. Writing is Albertine’s skin. To reach her in her body and soul, it would have been necessary to prevent her from writing.

“This run, the prostitution, the loneliness, the wait, the risks taken, it’s a way to keep living while waiting to find Julien. All things considered, the end of the film, at the moment of their radical separation, is the true beginning of their great love story, as Albertine wrote, ‘without land, without home’.

“Recently I was listening to a philosopher on the radio quoting another. ‘There is no explanation for love’, this is obvious, but when he added ‘We do not love someone because of its qualities, but it’s because we love this person that we find qualities’, he enlightened my whole day...”.

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festival contact
Alfama Films Production
78 rue de Turbigo, 75003 Paris - France
phone +33 142010705
fax +33 142010830
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www.alfamafilms.com