“The show has already started”: filmmaker Bertrand Mandico hacks the France 2 antenna for a barbaric show

“The show has already started”: filmmaker Bertrand Mandico hacks the France 2 antenna for a barbaric show

Movies

If you turn on your television, Sunday December 17, on France 2, around midnight forty, you will undoubtedly wonder if you have changed eras or gone back in time. Moreover, when the tangy show by filmmaker Bertrand Mandico begins, entitled “The show has already started”, the word “Antenne 2” appears furtively on the screen, from the name of the former name of the public channel (1975 -1992).

Mandico makes a brief appearance on the set, his face hidden under a stuffed rat’s head, then disappears. We will only see him, afterwards, in the form of a puppet with large eyelashes, asking from time to time in a marshmallow voice: “I’m told the show has already started?” »

“Immense television culture”

Around him, a troupe of actresses, Elina Löwensohn, Nathalie Richard, Sandra Perfect, but also Christophe Bier, in a dress and cigar holder, remember a shoot, that of Conann , in theaters since November 29, revisiting the feminine Conan the Barbarian (1932), born from the pen of the American Robert E. Howard (1906-1936).

The little gang plays at killing each other again, and soon the viewer discovers Conann’s two satellite medium-length films, first Rainer: a Vicious Dog in Skull Valley , then We the Barbarians .

This “pirate” program proposed by the director, born in 1971, attracted the head of the short film division of France Télévisions, Christophe Taudière. “It’s carte blanche to Bertrand Mandico, whom we have been supporting since the “shorts” Boro in the Box (2011), Notre-Dame des Hormones (2015), Ultra Pulpe (2018), he explains. Bertrand has an immense television culture, which he developed during his childhood, a time when ratings did not exist, where we could see innovative proposals, cultural experiments. »

The two films on the program revisit Conann’s obsessions, with his characters driven by vengeance, ever more cruel, hungry for power and money, ready to do anything to make gold in bars and barbarians. So grotesque and so true. Mandico, the great cinema artificer, who creates his special effects during filming, sends us back, beyond his showers of glitter and his false pools of blood, a barely distorting mirror of reality.

Christophe Bier and Elina Löwensohn in “Rainer: a Vicious Dog in Skull Valley,” by Bertrand Mandico.

In this respect, the two small bottles that are Rainer… and We the Barbarians act like an extract from Conann , exuding all the darkness, humor and romanticism. In Rainer… , a war and fashion photographer, played by a dog-headed demon (Elina Löwensohn, wearing a Planet of the Apes- style mask), signs a diabolical pact with a director (Christophe Bier), who seeks to adapt Conan for the theater, with “only women”. It smacks of corruption, the end of art, as if echoing one of the cult scenes from Conann , during an anthropophagic dinner bringing together arriviste artists.

We the Barbarians, in four prodigious sequence shots, descends into the hell of four fallen actresses. A young muse clinging to her smartphone, a voice that pierces our hearts… A great lady curling up in her old costumes, etc. This film can also be screened with a virtual reality headset, the viewer entering the world of each actress. One Mandico film always hides another.

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