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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

this thriller about the climate emergency is as distressing as it is realistic

Bonne Pioche Cinema / Pathé Film / France 3 Cinema / Canéo Films

Bonne Pioche Cinema / Pathé Film / France 3 Cinema / Canéo Films

In “Acid”, the characters played by Guillaume Canet, Patience Munchenbach and Laetitia Dosch must flee their home and become climate refugees in France.

CINEMA – Floods in Greece and Libya, typhoon in Hong Kong and… acid rain clouds in France. This latest natural disaster is (for the moment) fictional but the film Acid resonates sadly with current events. With his feature film, in theaters this Wednesday, September 20, the French director Just Philippot wants to make people think (and shudder) in the face of the climate emergency.

Guillaume Canet and Lætitia Dosch play a divorced couple, parents of young Selma, 15 years old (Patience Munchenbach). All three are trying to survive a climate catastrophe devastating. Clouds of acid rain fall over the top of France and the drops burn everything in their path: vegetation, animals, car bodies, and obviously skin.

For 1 hour 40 minutes, Acid follows the race against time of this family who seeks shelter at all costs, but who are always overtaken by this deadly rain. On paper, it’s a disaster film like many others have seen before. But Acid is striking in its realism.

The distressing realism in Acid

Just Philippot did not use big special effects or spectacular explosions like in American blockbusters. The film is distressing because the viewer has almost no effort to imagine themselves in the place of the characters and could well take place in 2023.

The story begins in full heat wave in March to Arras, in a context of economic crisis. Michal, played by Guillaume Canet, is under judicial control after a violent clash with CRS in his factory during a strike.

The scenes showing climate refugees fleeing their homes, suitcases in hand, are reminiscent of those we already see in Bangladesh or Pakistan. Water, which has become toxic, is a rare commodity, and the State puts in place confinement.

A condemned youth

As an example of the young generation born with the climate emergency, Selma is forced to grow up too quickly. At the beginning of the film, she watches with concern the 24-hour news channels warning of these acid clouds in Latin America. His father prefers to turn off the television.

Even if they do everything to protect her once the disaster arrives, Selma’s parents are powerless in the face of the gravity of the situation. Certain scenes in the film provide a glimmer of hope by showing this parental love, which sometimes pushes people to sacrifice.

Bonne Pioche Cinema / Pathé Film / France 3 Cinema / Canéo Films

Bonne Pioche Cinema / Pathé Film / France 3 Cinema / Canéo Films

In a race against time and against the clouds, the family must find shelter.

But outside the family nucleus, while there are some scenes of mutual aid and solidarity, there is above all a lot of violent and selfish behavior. To survive, some adopt the rule of every man for himself and refuse to open their door. Acid depicts a scenario as catastrophic for the planet as for society.

The eco-responsible filming desired by the director ofAcid

In his first feature film, The Cloudreleased in 2020, Just Philippot already mixed social drama and apocalyptic film by telling the story of a bankrupt farmer, who launched into grasshopper farming.

With Acid, he warns about the climate emergency, both in front of and behind the camera. During the Cannes Film Festival, where the film was presented out of competitionhe received the Ecoprod France prize which since 2022 rewards feature films produced in the most eco-responsible way possible.

The carbon footprint of the film, and of the film crews, has been reduced as much as possible. And even if nature appears completely destroyed on screen, the director favored digital visual effects to preserve the filming locations, not from acid rain, but from the impact of man.

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