Iconoclast Films, the Paris company which co-produced New York indie icons Josh and Benny Safdie’s “Heaven Knows What,” is set to produce the yet-to-be-titled feature debut of French director Karim Boukercha, who co-penned Costa-Gavras’ “Capital” and Romain Gavras’ “Our Day Will Come.”
The feature will expand on Boukercha’s “Group Violence,” starring Vincent Cassel, and so inevitably one of the highest-profile shorts at this year’s Unifrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival online event. Also produced by Iconoclast, the short, boasting a well-crafted structure, tells the tale of an infamous small-time crook who now needs to return to street crime in order to confirm that he doesn’t belong there anymore. The character is played by Cassel, as a nod to the character he played in Mathieu Kassovitz’s “La Haine.”
“I wanted to do something that isn’t too visually realistic aiming to create a certain distance from the subject. I wanted to give it a dreamy aspect so as to drop the viewer into the story and into a world at once close and distant – that’s how the suburbs are looked at in France,” Boukercha said. The young helmer is also the author of “Graffity Général,” a book studying 30 years of the urban art.
Boukercha doesn’t think consider himself a major filmbuff. “My father was a waiter, so I spent countless hours in cafés when I was a kid. I now realize that that is my main influence. Everything I witnessed there was full of humor, absurdity, drama. So I can easily identify with filmmakers like Dino Risi and Elia Kazan,” he added.
Boukercha’s feature debut exploring similar issues “Group Violence.”
“It focuses on the fact that we often need to experience chaos in order to find harmony. I really like this idea, because it shows that refusing to change actually condemns us to insanity. Suddenly, everything that at one point made sense no longer does so,” he said.
He added: “All of this generally occurs through conflict given the two characters that live within us –the former and the new– constantly declaring war on one another. If we’re to put an end to this debate, life has to lead us to make a decision by pushing every aspect of our world to a breaking point. There’s no way to sit on the fence.”
In “Group Violence” this happens to a thug; in Boukercha’s feature, it happens to a police officer.