It arrives in Italian cinemas on December 7th Yes chefs! – Major GeneralDirected by Louis Julien Petitformer author and director the invisible ones. On the occasion of the film’s screening, we met the director, who answered questions and curiosities about this comedy with a big heart and comforting flavor.
– In this period, there is a real way to tell stories that take place in the kitchen, whether in cinema or in soap operas. Why does a kitchen space fit so well with telling a human story?
The kitchen is fascinating because it is a world in miniature. A secret place that is not accessible to the general public. For “La Brigade,” I was intrigued by Catherine Grosjean, a chef who gave lessons to immigrant children. 100/100 graduate and successful. A model of integration where others stigmatize these people. I realized during my investigation that French cuisine has been being made by foreigners for years. I wanted to make a film about conveying a love of cooking rather than its technique. Indeed, in the film, the kitchen creates a bond between Cathy and the young protagonists, and she manages to make them relive the memories of their uprooted lives.
– The story is about second chances and getting to know each other. It happens to Mary Cathy and it also happens to kids who find out about themselves and what they want through a job. Don’t you think, however, that it is very difficult in life to give a second chance?
It is not a second chance, but a first chance. These young people come to France to start living and learning. The first thing they want is to return home and spread their knowledge to prevent others from crossing seas and countries. They are heroes. Personally, I would not have done it: leave my house at 10 … and I don’t think you would either.
– The film tells about a very tragic reality, that of immigrants, but instead of depicting it through conflict, which is a more classic option, it would have preferred to do so in emotional and welcoming language. How is that?
Social comedy is the kind that allows it. The heroes of this story have nothing, so they have everything to gain. We witness a struggle between ordinary characters, to whom an extraordinary story happens. The comedy is engaging in this sense, and the theme is common and lends itself to hope at the end of the film.
What is the situation of immigrants in France? Do young people who ask for documents actually undergo such specific medical examinations?
Yes, there are medical visits. In France, the Vikings are welcome. More seriously, the film also pays tribute to all the social workers who help daily and with practical work so that these young people can integrate. It is difficult to remove the “immigrant” tag, but history has proven it and will prove it, with wars and global warming, we will all migrate. It is not a story of nations and borders, but of humanity.
In the film, he worked with seasoned actors such as François Closet and Audrey Lamy, but he was also surrounded by many young artists. What was it like managing such a large number of young actors?
Participation of 300 young people. 100 participated in theatrical workshops. You picked 50 people who started the movie. We didn’t have the script or the scenes. I explained everything to him as I walked along. The film was shot according to the script. I wanted to suggest to the spectators that they witness the liberation of these young men.
– In cinema today, is comedy just an escape or, as in this case, can it also be a tool to shed light on the contemporary world and its problems?
François Truffaut said that you go to the cinema either to learn about yourself or to have fun. I’d like to do both. Suggesting the problems of society, changing the way we see things, influencing civil society, and sometimes, when necessary, contemplating civil disobedience: it is forbidden, but right. To put the viewer in a position to ask themselves: What would you do instead of the character?
Distributed by I Wonder Pictures and Unipol Biografilm Group, Yes chefs! – Major General In cinemas from December 7.
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