‘Grounds of Hope’ impresses at film festivals – Film Daily
Lionel Bernadin just won Best Director at the 15th Montreal Independent Film Festival for his stellar storytelling and thunderous climax in his film land of hope.
With the film’s visceral and poignant conclusion still fresh in everyone’s mind, it’s clear to see why the film’s cast and director regularly appear in Oscar conversations. As festival season continues, let’s take a closer look at what went into making a film as impactful as Bernardin’s by listening to the man himself.
In the film, Alex is a former professional boxer who lives as a rural laborer in a small town at a concrete materials company. One night, pursued by armed men, his twin sister burst into his home with a migrant and his daughter. Alex, constrained by the situation, agrees to hide them, unaware that they are the object of many desires. The spiral begins. Without choice and under financial pressure, he starts boxing in illegal matches.
In the director’s own words, “The story is about a man who lives in a rural, working-class community, under economic pressure. Through the fate of this man, the film speaks to us of economic and social subjects such as poverty in rural areas, but also the problem of these people who came to France, leaving everything to flee their country, and who are called the “migrants”. .”
“I wanted to speak from the point of view of reception in France, of the person who opens their home and the risk of this “crime of solidarity”. Something very intimate, very close to real working class people. Part of the story came from the numerous trials in France, for “crimes of solidarity”, of people who chose to help “migrants”, and who were prosecuted for having extended a hand”, Bernadin continued.
Before writing the screenplay, Bernardin spoke with a journalist who had been investigating for months a prostitution network of unaccompanied minors, all from the recent wave of immigration. “I co-wrote a biopic about the youth of a naturalized French boxing champion, from a country in the Middle East. I thought of associating these universes within a new ensemble, anchored in a rural and working-class environment. said the manager.
When it came to setting up land of hope, Bernardin took a surgical approach to getting it right. Luckily, he didn’t have to search very hard.
“The scouting took us to the north of Charente (France). This region, which has experienced significant rural desertification, was the perfect place to put my story. he said. “When we arrived, I saw a strong visual potential and real possibilities to develop the universe of this film. I went there, I spent time with the local people and I was able to understand the socio-economic mechanisms of the region.
Ultimately, Bernardin wanted the energies of the film to point to one simple thing. “I created a dramaturgical link between all this material, and this link was Love. That of a man who has been trying to cope with grief for four years, day after day. It is the very deep heart of the film, in this intimate, impossible to heal, this absolute pain and this bravery that one must have to live with that.
Lionel Bernardin was born in Angoulême, France in 1981. A graduate in image and communication, he began working as a composer of short films and worked with several Hip Hop artists from the New York scene in the early 2000s. music videos and ended up writing and directing his first short film in 2009.
In 2018, Lionel Bernardin wrote his first feature film, A Promised Land / Lands of Hope which was shot in August and December 2019. The editing process was carried out during the COVID-19 pandemic. The challenges of the pandemic forced the teams to adapt to the situation, to rethink the workflow to allow the creative process not to be interrupted by the national confinement in France.
What other themes would you like Bernardin to address in his future films? Do you think he can make it to the Oscars? Let us know in the comments!