Cannes 2021: “Robust”, in appearance only

The director of “Robuste”, Constance Meyer, and the actress Déborah Lukumuena, July 7, 2021, on the terrace of the beach of the Critics’ Week in Cannes. MATHIEU ZAZZO / PASCO & CO FOR “THE WORLD”


Screened on Wednesday July 7, at the opening of Critics’ Week, the first feature film by Constance Meyer, 41, Robust, displays a title that is half-lying. Because if the film brings together two colossi – impressive bodies, spirits not very malleable – whose strength is obvious at first glance, they are two colossi with fragile hearts that we are dealing with.

The first, Georges, famous film actor – resembling like two drops of water to the one who interprets him (Gérard Depardieu) -, in vain to impose, he remains worn out, tired of the circus that surrounds him. , deprived of breath in the evening, when anxiety makes him subject to attacks of tachycardia. The second, Aïssa (Déborah Lukumuena), security officer and high level wrestler, can always boast of having one day “Broke the collarbone” of a somewhat awkward boy, she is a 25 year old girl who expects nothing better than to be able to surrender her powerful body to the tender arms of a lover. For a few weeks, she will have to watch over Georges. It is this cohabitation that shows Robust, without making a secret.

Read also Déborah Lukumuena, from the Caesars to the theater

We know, in fact, from the start, that these two, of very different ages, from opposite backgrounds, will get along. They sniff each other, observe each other, more intrigued than suspicious or hostile. They have the same tenderness to bring them together that obliges them to want to protect themselves and not to “Let piss off by anyone”. From this postulate, the film hardly evolves, leaving us to the observation of these two reunited characters. One playing his own role without disclosing anything other than what we already know about him. Georges drinks and eats to saturation, grumbles all the time, lives to excess, plants his American producers, reluctantly accepts a shoot to repay his debts. Gérard Depardieu appears as in himself. The observation of the phenomenon ensures the spectacle and triggers laughter in the room. Nothing too surprising about that.

Fragility of the actor

On the other hand, amazes the way Deborah Lukumuena, revealed in Divine (2016), by Houda Benyamina, finds his place in the face of the “monster” which monopolizes him in the film. The young actress has enough response, personality and talent not to be swallowed up by a big star. In the right place, she offers a solid presence. A game in the image of her character: at the service of her client but vigilant, anxious to keep her distance. Witness and revealing of the fragility of the actor, girl who knows how to be moved without being let go, it is she the pillar of Georges. But also film.

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