Who will win the presidential elections? The result of the vote on April 24 will be announced, as usual, at 8:00 p.m. by means of a full-screen portrait of the winning candidate on television. The suspenseful climate of this great media event followed by millions of French people for decades has become a source of inspiration for two young artists aged 28 and 35: Jeanne Frenkel and Cosme Castro.
These authors and directors have spent seven years exploring a genre of creation that they themselves have called “metacinema”, defining it -with humor- as a “art of projecting films at the same time as they are filmed or filming films at the same time as they are projected.”
After investing in the Opéra Bastille, in 2017, for the short film Adieu Bohème, Jeanne Frenkel and Cosme Castro made the crazy bet of a feature film entitled glory day, filmed and broadcast live, on the afternoon of the second round, to integrate television images that reveal the face of who will occupy the Elysée, during the next five years. It will take place from 7 pm in Lot-et-Garonne, in a single shot, with the same risks as the live ones and with a documentary component through the historical dimension of the collective event.
glory day It stages the reunion of two politically opposed brothers, played by Félix Moati and Julien Campani, in the town of their childhood after the death of their mother, at the time of this final phase of the presidential election.
The film broadcast on the arte.tv site will also be screened simultaneously in some thirty cinemas in France.
“Bringing reality to fiction”
glory day is for Jeanne Frenkel an important step in creative film research and its relationship with time: “We have been making films in this way for several years, fiction films that we shot live. And we really wanted to be able to turn reality into fiction, that there be a time stamp in our productions that is well identified, that we are firmly rooted in reality.“
Cosme Castro also adds the desire to “tell a little story in the big story“, between 7 and 8 p.m., before the announcement of who will win the presidential election: “A parenthesis at a time when the news channels are going around without being able to say anything, when France is a little crystallized, pending the result. This electoral result will be the end of the film. Our characters will find out along with the viewers and react based on that result.” Throughout the entire article, the presidential election is going to be “a kind of weather, the backdrop. It is she who will set the pace, who will punctuate the entire story. It is the electricity of the film about the reunion of two brothers who have lost their mother and with whom we relive their story and all their memories.”
The scenario whose composition began several months ago has been refined since the results of the first round, as Cosme Castro explains: “We weren’t entirely sure of the final two candidates. There were waiting areas. But we knew which parts of the stage we were going to be able to bounce off of, the parts ready to be studied..”
From 70% before April 10, the written part of the film has gone to 85%.
“The part of the unknown forms part of our metacinema projects”
The result of the second round, the weather conditions on the day of the shooting outside… all the unknown is perceived as a component of Cosme Castro’s creative process: “There are a lot of things that will be added to the narrative, that will be injected into the story. The part of the unknown is part of our metacinema projects. We like to meet her. We will dominate it but we will also wait for it. We are here to rub shoulders with reality.“
glory day it will be “99%” a long sequence shot of just over an hour, without the camera following the characters leaving them at any time. “His path in the village“, as detailed by Cosimo Castro, “on a rural road, in the town hall, in a bar, in a square, in a house… like a snake seen from the sky, we will do all that walking in the town without cutting the camera. This is the device we use to make metacinema. Everyone depends on everyone. There is no hierarchy. There is no scale. The operator of the boom is just as important as the actor who enters the picture..”
Obviously, each sequence is also precisely timed so that the actors are well at 8 pm in front of the television to discover the face of who will win the presidential election. “So there is very little room for improvisation.” Cosme Castro comments, in order to be successful in this challenge: “There is a lot of work to choreograph it. It requires many repetitions. Sometimes we take longer, or on the contrary less time. You have to do all this adjusting between the technique, the actors, the people in walkie-talkies or headsets to direct this. At this level, we can even talk about orchestration, from filming to projection. It is a new way of thinking and making movies..”
The idea of registering the film for the night of the second round of the presidential elections did not come up immediately. The directorial duo were invited last year to a writing residency in the Lot-et-Garonne, following a proposal they had made to make a live film on location, soaking up the locations of the department. As part of a “very, very small project” at first, they found the town (whose name they prefer to withhold until the last moment to remain discreet) for the shoot and constructed a draft of the reunion story. of the two brothers, seeking to integrate it as best as possible into reality, in 2022.”First we think of a sporting event, the football world cup or a rugby match in Agen”, says Cosme Castro, before deciding for the night of April 24: “In order for the viewer to fully understand that what they are seeing is live, we realized that at that time everyone could detect it and that everyone was directly or indirectly concerned about the situation..”
“Strong Means for a Mission”
With the deployment of 4G antennas along the actors’ route, the 1h05 “metacine” project in the village of Lot-et-Garonne mobilizes about sixty technicians. Must “strong means !”, exclaims Cosimo Castro, since “everything is done at the same time“All the components of the film production system are effectively linked during filming, he stresses: “Doing it live requires that the actors act, that they be filmed, that the sequence shot is edited, mixed and calibrated. Music is also produced live, as is broadcast over the internet and in theaters. This involves many technicians, but also exhibitors, announcers… all these people get together at the same time to do their job..”
Like the musical creation of the composer Flavien Berger, already a partner in his previous projects, throwbacks to the past, memories of election nights, adds Jeanne Frenkel, they will also be filmed live: “They are specific moments that remain etched in our memory. There is this idea at the beginning of our scenario. The film tells this with live flashbacks. We go back in time. We go back to all the elections that the two brothers have experienced, since 1995. It is a time milestone where we also see our lives pass. The film uses this rhythm of the presidential elections, far from the capital, to evoke his melancholy about a world, that of his childhood, that no longer exists, a world that has been transformed. His view of the world has also changed. They have opposing worldviews that overlap with political views. He confronts them, shares them without being a supporter or a candidate.”
A sequence will show the scrutiny, the real scrutiny this Sunday night at the polling station of the town chosen for the film, with a documentary scope, according to her: “We will make history no matter what. These are always chapter changes, time changes in those times. Filming in the open air, filming a town, we film the cars, we film how people are dressed… it’s a very vivid and quite crude testimony, being a fiction, according to a very well written film script. It is the fusion of these two things that fascinates us..”
This unprecedented project in the history of presidential elections is even considered “a mission” by Joan Frenkel:In this difficult time we are going through today, we are here to experiment, to try to create poetry and put a filter of beauty on life. Metacinema is a new way of thinking about the tools of our generation. We are always in search of new technologies. The people we work with almost invent new machines. There is all display of brain and technicality. But the metacimena is also for us a reflection before the profusion of images on the screens. We are trying to figure out how to make the way we see the world valuable..”
At 8:00 p.m., the actors of glory day You will discover the result of the second round live on television. All the options have been studied, for their reactions according to the political convictions of each of the characters according to the result, even in case of uncertainty, in case of a possible 50/50…