Midnight Madness – A Babysitter and a Life-Size Board Game
This year we have two Midnight Madness screenings to choose from, both equally exciting films with a fresh take on the classical thriller theme so why not see both! These are the films: Babysitter, a horror-inspired comedy and Murder Party, a comedy-thriller that features a life-size boardgame and an eccentric set of characters.
In Monia Chokri’s horror-inspired comedy, Babysitter, Middle-aged Cédric is suspended from work after drunkenly kissing a female reporter on live TV. Stuck at home with his girlfriend, Nadine, and their crying baby, Cédric teams up with his brother to co-author a book apologizing for their past misogyny. Enter Amy: a mysterious and provocative young babysitter who, like a Mary Poppins of the libido, forces the trio to confront their sexual anxieties while turning their lives upside down.
Actress/director Monia Chokri
Since graduating from the Conservatoire d’art dramatique in 2005, Monia Chokri has appeared in more than a dozen plays on the stage. On television, she was seen in ‘Les rescapés’ and ‘Nouvelle adresse’. Revealed on the big screen by Xavier Dolan’s ‘Heartbeats’ she also starred recently in Robin Aubert’s ‘Les Affamés’. Her first feature as a director, ‘A Brother’s Love’ won the Un Certain Regard jury’s Coup de Coeur at the Cannes Film Festival in 2019. Babysitter is her second feature, where she appears alongside Nadia Tereszkiewicz and Patrick Hivon.
Like her first feature, Babysitter is shot on film. ‘A Brother’s Love’ was shot on 16mm, but Babysitter on 35mm. “For me there’s nothing like the grain of film. It’s a matter of perspective and taste.” It adds to the mysterious and vintage look of the picture. Chokri wanted to pay tribute to the horror genre, which has long developed a peculiar perspective on women. “Horror movies of the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s have always portrayed women in the same fashion – they’re almost always the source of evil and terror.”
Adapted from a play
The film is an adaptation of Catherine Léger‘s play with the same name. Chokri said she was aware that Léger was looking for a writing partner to bring her projects to the screen. Before meeting her, Chokri went to see her play. She thought “it dealt so aptly with the muted, grumbling anger and frustration that would, a few years later, be referred to as the #metoo movement. Catherine illustrated the general anxiety that men and women experience today, as they redefine their respective roles, both socially and privately.”
Of Catherine, Chokri also said that her “sense of humor is scathing – she spares no one, but she always has a sharp eye.” She also liked how the characters say things to each other that they don’t mean. “In real life… you tend to tone down what’s actually on your mind… it creates layers that make the characters richer and more fleshed-out.” She also points to how the characters aren’t either good or bad. They all struggle with their own neuroses and obsessions. “It’s close to real life, and even though I gave the film a fable feel, the characters are relatable.”
Nicolas Pleskov´s Murder Party
Murder Party is Nicolas Pleskov’s directorial feature debut and premieres this March. He also wrote the film along with Elsa Marpeau. He has previously directed three shorts. His second short film, ‘Zoo’, won the New Visions Award at the Catalonian International Film Festival in 2013, and was nominated for a Golden Horseman at Dresden Film Festival in 2014.
A life-size boardgame
In Murder Party, Jeanne (35), a brilliant architect, has a new assignment: To renovate the sumptuous Daguerre mansion owned by an eccentric family, which is the head of a board game empire. When the landlord and patriarch César is found dead, everyone present becomes a suspect. Suddenly Jeanne’s mission turns into a life-size investigation to expose the murderer.
This comedy-thriller features a life-size board game and an eccentric set of characters. The father, César (Eddy Mitchell), is the founder of a large board game company. Jeanne Chardon Spitzer (Alice Pol) is a young architect who enters the world of the Daguerres intending to help renovate the mansion. In the wake of the sudden murder of the patriarch, she is drawn into the mysterious enigma. She’s forced to find clues, solve tests and decipher puzzles, as well as unmasking the assassin.
Miou-Miou the leading actress
Acclaimed actress Miou-Miou plays the part of Joséphine Dguerre. She’s been nominated for a César Award ten times for best actress, which she won in 1980 for her role in ‘La Dérobade’. She and Eddy Mitchell have worked togheter a few times before and in a recent interview with Femme Actuelle she said that she feels like they’re a couple. “He is so good… I respect him enormously.” When asked about working with director Nicolas Pleskof she said they got along right away and that Murder Party was his vision – “something a bit special.”
Both films will be screened during Midnight Madness at this year’s festival.