& How to Watch Them:
Polisse (2011): Yeah, they were right to award this the Jury Prize at Cannes. Maïwenn wrote, directed and played the bespectacled photographer in this raw, compelling drama about Parisian cops who fight crimes against children by day, then struggle to maintain some semblance of personal lives and happiness when they’re off the clock. The dance scene is everything.
My King (2015): Intense. Uplifting. Sad. Insightful. The full cycle of a relationship that should burn out like a Roman candle but instead flickers hopefully…despite the odds and information we gain as viewers along the way, which makes us root for Emmanuelle Bercot’s character all the more.
What can I say, other than Wow (Sensationnel)? I guess I could say Thanks (Merci), or Brilliant (Brillant) or Amazing (Incroyable) or any number of adjectives, but there’s not a single word (in English or French) that fully describes the naturalistic, emotional, gripping and real magic you bring to the screen. In Polisse, which rightly received critical applause at Cannes and beyond, the story of the people (so different in their approach and temperaments, so intriguing to see outside of work, so conflicted, so passionate) who work in the Children’s Crime Unit is compelling enough, but the way you filmed it, the nuances, the suspense, the heartbreak, the hope, the humanity of it all. Again, Wow. And you didn’t just write and direct it, you also played the shy photographer who starts as an outsider and hesitantly joins the group. The pure joy of the dancing scene, where these hardworking cops try to shed their worries on a rare night off, is unforgettable. And in My King, you portrayed the trajectory of a relationship that’s as spellbinding in how it self-destructs as in how it sparks and gains momentum. Emmanuelle Bercot’s acting is mesmerizing, slightly untethered, cautious yet trusting, cynical yet optimistic: in other words, real. For Polisse and My King, you are My Queen.