Before making her feature debut, Justine Triet spent the early years of her career documenting protests and political strife in her native France. Her short documentary about Paris’s youth protests On the Spot (2007) and subsequent exposé on the 2007 presidential election cycle Solférino (2009) set the stage for her fiction debut, Age of Panic (aka The Battle of Solférino), a marital drama shot amid the chaos of the actual French 2012 presidential election. To celebrate the U.S. release of Triet’s newest film — Palme D’Or Winner Anatomy of a Fall — we’re thrilled to present her early snapshot of France during a moment of heightened anxiety.
There is not a moment of stillness or silence in Age of Panic. The film follows a cable news reporter as she runs around Paris interviewing voters on election day while also trying to keep her ex away from their two kids. Laetitia Dosch’s performance as the exasperated mother is a real tour de force, complemented only by the volatile energy beloved French actor Vincent Macaigne brings to the role of the absentee father. Arthur Harrari — Triet’s partner both in life and writing — also makes a brief appearance as Laetitia’s new easygoing boyfriend, bringing a dose of comedy to the familial strife that often consumes the screen when it’s just Dosch and Macaigne. By showing private disputes unfold in public spaces, Triet places her nation’s many contradictions in sharp focus, transforming life’s daily dramas into political treatises.
“The experience of the shooting always ends up reflecting what is going on in the film; it works like an imprint of the film. This is not something I can control, but for Age of Panic, there was some kind of madness to shooting in such conditions and I have to admit that every single day of filming felt like a victory on reality. In a way, that’s what the film shows as well.” JUSTINE TRIET
Age of Panic delights in the collisions between its script and the world’s total disregard for it, often drawing a good dose of levity from the spontaneous dances, cries, and shrieks that infiltrate its narrative. The documentarian in Triet feels a need to “go against” scenes that are “precisely written” and credits “the happy accidents” she encounters while shooting as crucial elements of her style. This interplay between scripted scenes and unscripted moments suits Triet’s constant questioning of real events, a theme she takes to the extreme in Anatomy of a Fall, and claims allows her to “unveil more precise and deeper things” about the real world.
Born in Fécamp, France, in 1978, Justine Triet has swiftly become a leading figure in contemporary cinema. Her genre-hopping career has resulted in varied and nuanced representations of women; this has also led her to collaborate with beloved actresses such as Laetitia Dosch, Virginie Efira and Adèle Exarchopoulos. Recently, Triet became the third woman to receive the Palme D’Or with Anatomy of a Fall, a courtroom drama with an impressive lead performance from Sandra Hüller.
Le Cinéma Club has been eagerly following Triet since the site’s beginnings, having presented her short film Two Ships back in 2016. You can read a list of her five film recommendations and an interview with her from 2020 in our Journal.
Text written by Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer.
- Credits for
- AGE OF PANIC
- Laetitia Dosch, Vincent Macaigne & Arthur Harari
- produced by
- Emmanuel Chaumet
- Tom Harari
- Damien Maestraggi