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The Worst Ones (2023)

Opens on June 9

Director: Lise Akoka, Romane Gueret Run Time: 96 min. Release Year: 2022

Starring: Johan Heldenbergh, Loïc Pech, Mallory Wanecque, Matthias Jacquin, Timéo Mahaut

Country: France
Language: French

About the film:

Un Certain Regard Grand Prize at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival
Official Selection of the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival

Set in the suburbs of Boulogne-Sur-Mer in northern France, The Worst Ones (2023) captures a film within a film as it follows the production of a feature whose director turns to the local Cité Picasso housing project for casting.

Eager to capture performances of gritty authenticity, the director selects four working class teenagers to act in the film to the surprise and consternation of the local community, who question the director’s choice of “the worst ones.” As the director and crew audition, rehearse, film, and interact with their hand-picked cast, jealousies are stoked, lines are crossed, and ethical questions arise, with thought-provoking and at times darkly funny results.

“Deeply insightful… a remarkable achievement of filmmaking and human compassion.”

– Mina Takla, Awards Watch

About the filmmakers:

Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret are a French writing and directing team. Akoka studied psychology before training at Les Ateliers du Sud and the Studio-théâtre d’Asnières, and Gueret studied cinema at the Sorbonne.

The two met in 2014 during the casting of a feature film, for which they auditioned more than 4000 young non-professional actors for several months. From that experience, they directed the short film Chasse Royale (2016), which won the Illy Prize at Cannes’ Directors Fortnight and received a César Award nomination. Their other projects include the documentary Allez garçon! (2019) and the web series Tu préfères (2020), which was selected for the Indie Series program at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. They premiered their first feature film The Worst Ones (2023) at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival where it won top prize in the Un Certain Regard section.

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