A serial killer of women, boastful, clean on himself and disturbing at will: first work of a director who wants to be resolutely post- # MeToo, the film Rascal, in theaters on June 9, dissects the gaze and male domination.
Djé, played by Pierre Deladonchamps (who had already slipped into the shoes of a pedophile for The Tickles) is a well-groomed, flirtatious, self-assured quadra who charms before killing. The camera follows this predator who roams France in search of victims, approaching without embarrassment all the young women he meets, at the bar, in the street or on a train.
But in Rascal, crimes are not shown on screen. “We can’t make a serial killer movie anymore like we did before #MeToo“, director Peter Dourountzis told AFP.”I wanted to be the first in a series of genre films that would be aware of their time“. Because Rascal was filmed after the great movement for the liberation of the voice of women, in the cinema in particular, and its lines in France, when the actress Adèle Haenel broke a certain omerta around the subject.
The actress Ophélie Bau, who plays a prey in the film, had just expressed her deep unease about a shoot with Abdellatif Kechiche (for Mektoub My Love: Intermezzo), recalls the director, who himself felt “uncomfortable” with the position of “omnipotence” what a filmmaker can have on a set.
Peter Dourountzis, who grew up in an HLM in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, explains that he also wanted to avoid the pitfall of “male gauze“, this masculine look on the body of women in particular, prevalent in films directed by men. He therefore chose to remove “the murders, the exceptional”, to keep “the ordinary situations that everyone experiences, a heavy guy in the subway, the bus, who follows you in the street …”. Rather than showing crimes, “to look at the one who looks badly at women”, he sums up.
An approach that the specialist in these questions Iris Brey considers “innovative“, while “serial killer figures have always fascinated“. By not filming the passage to the act, the camera of Peter Dourountzis has a role “protective”, she explains to AFP.
Peter Dourountzis was 23 years old and had a film school diploma in his pocket when he started working on this film: at the time he was hired at Samu social with the idea of ”consult the files of serial killers who call 115“. He will finally stay there for years in the service of the homeless, and will not shoot his film (in the Cannes 2020 Official Selection) until fifteen years later.
“We wanted to show that we were aware “, “to plunge the viewer (…) into the victim position, to make them feel uncomfortable“underlines the director, for whom Pierre Deladonchamps”very bourgeois, white teeth, handsome boy“had the ideal profile to embody”the archetype of male domination“.
More broadly, the filmmaker wants to show that as a man, “it is a permit that we were given very young to do what we want and never to feel in danger “. “From the age of 14 or 15, I tried not to look at a woman on the bus, so that my gaze was not weighed down on her. In doing so, I looked away from the guys who ostensibly look at her. In fact, I have made a film about these guys, about these unhealthy, heavy, uninhibited gazes “.