“Down with the king” with rapper Freddie Gibbs crowned in Deauville

(AFP) – The Deauville American Film Festival on Saturday rewarded a film with American hip-hop star Freddie Gibbs, after a 47th edition marked by the return of Americans and crowded convent theaters.

“Down with the King”, a French film by Diego Ongaro which won the “Grand Prix”, tells the story of a famous rapper who discovers an unexpected taste for the life of a farmer.

Shot in Massachusetts, this feature film was presented in July in Cannes.

“I never wanted to play a rapper in a film, but this was much more interesting than a rap film. For me, it was a great opportunity,” the musician told AFP in Cannes. born in Gary, a disaster-stricken town near Chicago, which has long collected legal problems before successes.

In the film, Money Merc, his character, befriends a local farmer (Joe), who teaches him how to butcher cows, feed pigs, bring animals back to the pen. But the rapper is quickly recalled to his reality: his agent harasses him to ask him for demos, his fans demand news on the networks, his competitors “clash” in their texts. The tough guy from the street borders on burnout.

The film humorously plays on the chasm between rap bling and country harshness – bringing back pigs in immaculate tracksuits and sneakers isn’t easy – and fiercely shakes up clichés in hip hop culture. : the money king, the invading virilism, the texts full of clichés (crack, ghetto and AK47).

Diego Ongaro had already made a film in this region of Massachusetts (“Bob and the trees”), where he now lives.

“I am all the more surprised to be here tonight as I thought I would quit the cinema two years ago. With my producer we were trying to find funding and a casting,” he responded.

– attendance before Covid –

Charlotte Gainsbourg hailed “a strong subject”. “The main actor is incredible. It’s so close to a truth, the idea of ​​withdrawing, of no longer being in adequacy with the profession that we have chosen,” she commented to the outcome of the ceremony.

The director had explained to Cannes that he would never have dared hope for a rap star in the role without the pandemic. “I thought of Freddie Gibbs (…) and I made up my mind telling myself that it was the best moment: he is like everyone else with his family locked up in his house”.

The raps in the film are improvisations by Freddie Gibbs during filming.

The Deauville Jury Prize goes to both “Pleasure”, a debut film banned from under 18 by Ninja Thyberg, and “Red Rocket” by Sean Baker, which was also in competition at Cannes. Both films denounce the toxicity of porn industry circles.

“Red Rocket” also won the Critics’ Jury Prize.

The Revelation Jury Prize, chaired by Clémence Poésie (“In therapy” series), is awarded to “John and the hole”, a first film by Pascual Sisto. This thriller tells the story of a 13-year-old boy who keeps his parents and his sister prisoners in an old bunker and returns home where he is finally free to do what he wants.

Justin Chon’s “Blue Bayou” won the Audience Award. This film was part of the “Un certain regard” selection at Cannes. It tells the story of an American-Korean blended father who has spent his life in the village of Bayou (Louisiana) but risks being expelled from the only country he has ever considered his.

Thirteen films, signed by independent directors from Hollywood studios, were in competition in the seaside resort of Normandy (north-west).

According to the organizers, the festival has regained pre-Covid attendance, and should end around 60,000 spectators as in 2019, even with masks and health passes.

Last year, nearly 38,000 spectators made the trip, according to management.