Slalom | In the broken intimacy of the athlete

After participating in skating competitions until the age of 15, Charlene Favier wrote a film about psychological control and sexual assault without telling the same story in which she lived. At this time when speech is finally free, it reverberates Slalom, Which was selected at Cannes last year, couldn’t hear better.


Marc-Andre LucierMarc-Andre Lucier
Journalism

When she started thinking about her first feature film, while studying at FEMIS (a film school in Paris), Charlene Favier still didn’t know anything about the direction her writing would take. In 2014, reports of abuse of all kinds in the sports world were still very rare. So much so that the director, a former competitive figure skater, took a long time to understand what had happened to her as a teenager.

“After a while I realized that the same themes always came to the fore in my short films,” the director explained during an interview with Journalism, Produced by a videoconference as part of Unifrance French Cinema Rendez-vous.

“The heroines of my films have always been young women between the ages of 15 and 25, in the grip of something or someone, who were able to free themselves thanks to a strong instinct for resilience.”

Tired of always touching on the same topics a little, Charlene Favier felt the need to empty the question once and for all by delving into it. To do so, she looked particularly hard at her past, as there is a mysterious and unhealthy relationship between the teenage player she was and her coach.

Image provided by UNIFRANCE

Slalom It is Charlene Favier’s first feature film.

“And when he told me, I wanted to stop everything, because I didn’t want to. However, the part of the drama and romance that I brought into the story helped me take a step back in my journey.”

Obsessed relationship

Story of the Slalom It is mainly based on the relationship between a ski coach, a former champ himself (Jeremy Rainier) and a very talented 15-year-old teenager (Noée Abita). According to the victories of the latter, this relationship will quickly occupy all space in the life of one or the other. Unlike the excitement that a man offers to his “own” athlete when he takes him by car on snow-covered tracks for fun, sliding is not always controlled.

Image provided by K-FILMS AMERICA

Jeremy Renee and Noi Abita in SlalomFilm by Charlene Favier

The director notes that “the relationship between an athlete and his coach, even if it is very healthy and unmistakable, is always special, because the intimate relationship of the athlete is broken somehow.” His body becomes an object of success. We model it, touch it, see it as something more than a body inhabited by a spirit. After a while, this goal of success can also become an object of desire. How can we avoid this transfer? We never talk about this aspect. ”

Charlene Favier also evokes the very exclusive nature of such a relationship, from which parents are often excluded “because they cannot understand.”

It was also difficult to finance the movie, because nobody wanted to hear about it. no one ! It was crazy! When I tried to explain to them the importance of talking about it, I was told: Yeah, but no … it’s well written, it’s original, but no. After that, sports movies do not work! Go, Slalom Not a sports movie at all! “, Emphasizes.

Then came the #metoo movement in 2017. The sporting community definitely did not take the lead. In the United States, Canada, and France, almost everywhere, the world is finally aware of a phenomenon more widespread than one might think. Which had to be denounced.

“It gave me the strength to continue because I felt I had to move forward,” asserts the one who actually thought about settling in Quebec in her youth. Suddenly the athletes started speaking and I heard this word. Yeah Slalom It was released five years ago, and I’m not sure the company was ready to watch it. Now we know the importance of that. ”

An alternate ego named Noée

At the time of writing her script, Charlene Favier was afraid, as she had assumed the amount of responsibility that lay with her. With no feature film to be reckoned with yet, the director first wanted to embark on a short film, in order to properly assess her ability to project such a delicate story. Through development Odile Goree She was able to meet Noi Abita, the young actress who was revealed in Ava, By Léa Mysius, also seen in originBy Philip Lesage.

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“With Noée, it was love at first sight. She became my little sister, my other vanity. She understands everything, we get to know each other. A very strong bond unites us. After turning around. Odile Goree With her, it was clear that Noée would also play the main character in my feature-length movie. Now I can’t wait to get a little older, to make other movies, to try things. I want to see her again after a few years, nourished by her life experiences. Noée is an amazing actress and she is going to get bigger. Work done Slalom He is exceptional. She’s played a lot so far with young girls with sexual failure, like something stalking her. I think she loves me now she wants to move on. ”

Image provided by K-FILMS AMERICA

Jeremy Renee and Noi Abita in SlalomFilm by Charlene Favier

On his part, Jeremy Rainier (ClocloAnd the The double beauHe showed interest as soon as he could read the text. The director was a nicer surprise because she initially thought the actor wasn’t interested at all, as the script remained on the agent’s office for a long time before it got to him.

“It turned out that the connection was done very quickly, as is the case with Noée,” says the director. We lived some of the same life. We haven’t really studied, we’ve built ourselves, through rather messy travels. Something happened to this movie in a way that didn’t happen with the short films. The universe seems to have gathered forces for us to meet and act Slalom Together, all three. I especially had no right to crash! ”

Slalom The show premieres on March 12th.

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