San Sebastian/Toronto: Simon Jacquemet on ‘The Innocent,’ Frail Faith, Uncertainty

Variety | 9/22/2018 | John Hopewell
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World premiering in New Directors at San Sebastian in 2014, Simon Jacquemet’s first feature, “Chrieg” (War), a nuanced portrait of disaffected Swiss youth, established Jacquemet as one of the most prominent voices in a new generation of Swiss directors, questioning Switzerland’s status quo and aura of democratic civility.

Four years later, Jacquemet is back. But, in a step-up in status, his second feature, “The Innocent,” world premiered early September in Toronto’s prestige Platform competition, and, screening at Austin’s Fantastic Fest, now makes its European bow in San Sebastian, playing in main competition.

Films - Year - San - Sebastian - Audiences

Few films this year at San Sebastian are likely to challenge audiences more. Its protagonist, Ruth, now 40something, saw her world turned upside down in her youth when her fiancé is convicted of murdering his aunt. Wracked by uncertainty as to his guilt, she has sheltered in more robust beliefs, working in a neuroscience lab using monkeys to conduct spinal-cord research and becoming a mother of two daughters in a profoundly religious (and highly patriarchal) Christian family. Then her lover, released from prison after 19 years, reappears at her home, but is declared by police authorities to have died in India: Ruth’s life – and the audience – is plunged into uncertainty, as to whether his appearance is fruit of Ruth’s sexualized hallucination, or her lover’s guile, deceiving police authorities into believing he’s dead. Jacque met doesn’t give any easy answers. Ultimately, he seems to be saying, we are all Ruth, defenceless when faced with the unexpected and unknowable.

“The Innocent” is produced by 8Horses’ Tolga Dilsiz and Aurelius Eisenreich and sold by Kinology. Variety chatted to Jacquemet to clarify the uncertainties of the film as it premieres at the San Sebastian Festival, which kicked off Friday.

Innocent - Counterpoint - Belief - Systems - World

“The Innocent” counterpoint two basic belief systems of the Western world: Those of religion and...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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