Babysitter, by Monia Chokri | A very successful daring bet

Talking about sexist jokes, non-consensual kisses, misogyny through a comedy mixed with atmospheres of horror films and fairy tales does not hold the consensual and formatted formula. This daring bet, the director Monia Chokri took it in her second feature film, Babysitter, premiering Saturday night at Sundance.

Posted at 7:00 a.m.

Andre Duchesne

Andre Duchesne
The Press

Adaptation of the eponymous play by Catherine Léger, who wrote the screenplay, Babysitter grips us and transports us from the first moments into an extraordinary universe with its breathless editing, its dialogues, its very tight shots, its overall aesthetics.

“I went into the evocation of horror, almost the B series. I wanted freedom, to have a very free form”, says Monia Chokri, joined Sunday afternoon by The Press. “Today, the film industry pushes us a lot not to take too many risks. For questions of financial issues, etc. But the cinema, it should not be forgotten, remains an art. Which means that you have to try things to renew yourself and move forward. »

Babysitter tells the story of Cédric (Patrick Hivon), a 42-year-old engineer who, on an outing with guys to see an ultimate combat championship, kisses a journalist (Ève Duranceau) on the cheek in the middle of the story, shouting “I love you, Chantal”. Losing his job and denounced by his journalist brother Jean-Michel (Steve Laplante), Cédric works to write a book to apologize and free himself from his misogyny.

The whole thing takes place in the context where his wife Nadine (Monia Chokri), tired and exhausted following childbirth, hires Amy (Nadia Tereszkiewicz), a babysitter whose presence will confront each character with their values, their deep desires and the real meaning of their relationships with others.

The film evokes the spirit of the times, such as gestures not consented to, to tell deeper things. Like, for example, our social construction in relation to our buried desires, taboos and relationships, without it being Manichean, between men and women.

Monia Chokri, filmmaker

The latter tells us from the start of the interview not to expect to be unanimous, whether because of the subject or the format. “It’s not a film that takes the viewer by the hand,” she says.

First echoes

It remains that the first echoes from Sundance are favorable. In a review published online, Cineuropa evokes an “effervescent and funny creation”. In an interview with Chokri, The Hollywood Reporter title that his film “uses comedy to tackle toxic masculinity”.

Introducing the film, entered in the Midnight section of Sundance, programmer Adam Montgomery said, “We all loved this film for its subversive humor, the surreal world in which the story takes place and the performance of all the actors. »

The film being presented online, like all the rest of the festival, due to sanitary conditions, the screening was followed by a “chat” and a question-and-answer session where the comments, even if few at this specific time, were generally very positive. Monia Chokri, Patrick Hivon and Nadia Tereszkiewicz participated in the discussion.

happy that Babysitter was chosen at Sundance, Mme Chokri is now very keen to live the indoor experience with the public.

“The selection at Sundance is extremely flattering. I am honored,” she told us.

Through my language and my professional life, I have always been linked to France. So this festival allows me to discover another environment, another universe through the United States, where we have another vision of cinema.

Monia Chokri

The filmmaker told us that Babysitter will be released in France on April 27, so before being released in theaters in Quebec. Next fall, she will start filming her third feature film, Simple as Sylvain, a great love story.

“I have a desire never to do the same thing,” she says. Because doing the same thing twice bores me and also because I have the impression that by trying something new, you improve. For me, each project, each subject, inspires different universes. »

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