“The Cold Head” relates the motivations of a smuggler, between opportunism and charity

“The Cold Head” relates the motivations of a smuggler, between opportunism and charity


We more or less have images of smugglers in our minds: the villainous figure, the smitten lover, the altruistic model who helps, out of charity, migrants to cross the seas and overcome barbed wire, ever higher walls, checkpoints. more and more numerous police… But who really are these mysterious individuals who double-lock the doors of vans in parking lots, keep watch in the mountains and work to lure new customers ready to take the risk of climbing into containers to start a new life elsewhere?

In his first fiction feature film, documentary filmmaker Stéphane Marchetti ( Rafah, chronicles of a city in the Gaza Strip , co-directed with Alexis Monchovet, Albert-Londres prize, 2008; Calais, children of the jungle , 2017) s is of great interest to two beginners in terms of crossing…

In the snowy Alps, in the coldest of winter, Marie (Florence Loiret Caille) traffics cartons of cigarettes between France and Italy with the help of her boyfriend, a border policeman, to make ends meet difficult conditions which do not allow him to leave his mobile home. When she meets Souleymane (Saabo Balde), a young refugee who will do anything to join her little sister in London, she embarks on a story much more dangerous than she could imagine. A financial agreement is concluded: Souleymane tries to find migrants on the Internet, Marie will take them over the Col de l’Echelle in her van.

Formal ambition

Cold Head navigates in a gray area, without clichés or moralizing ulterior motives. The scenario is neither based on romantic passion nor on industrial trafficking… Marie advances between opportunism and charity. While his scheme gains precision and professionalism, new feelings come to weaken his small business. Well documented, the work of Stéphane Marchetti draws on the codes of film noir – isolated settings, strong contrasts, ambiguous characters, secrets, betrayals, men of the law. If the narration leaves little room for the unexpected – an increasingly large cargo – the interest of the film lies in its formal ambition.

Back and forth. Stops. Kilometers. False starts. Marie, driving. Its cargo, in the trunk. Around Briançon and its surroundings, the passes and the mountain roads form a whole which remains at the fine corner of reality and fantasy. Marie lives in the middle of the mountains, the police appear, the migrants leave few traces… Mirage.

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