Interview: Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret Talk “Realism” Behind ‘The Worst Ones’


The Worst Ones, directed by Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret, comes to the U.S. with its share of acclaim. Having won the top prize at Cannes Un Certain Regard, the movie currently has a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Find Your Film co-host Eric Holmes talked to the filmmakers about their approach to making The Worst Ones.

Set in the Boulogne-Sur-Mer suburbs in northern France, The Worst Ones centers on Gabriel (Johan Heldenbergh), a director who is casting local residents for his movie. Four teenagers are cast in the production, and these youths are dubbled “les pires” (aka the “worst ones”) by their neighbors.

Gabriel and his crew’s search for authenticity could give these childrens a new vocation with acting. That said, maybe some of these teenagers are being exploited by the filmmaker. Two of the youths are played by Mallory Wanecque (Lily) and Timéo Mahaut (Ryan).

Mallory Wanecque and Timéo Mahut in “The Worst Ones” (Kino Lorber)

Although The Worst Ones is a narrative, viewers may initially feel that the movie is actually a documentary. “There is a documentary part in the movie, and when people say that, we take it as a compliment,” said Lise Akoka. “Because it means that there is a feeling of realism that is there. It is a movie that was made the way a fiction film is made. There was a script that had all of its lines that were respected at the time of shooting with actors that learned those lines by heart.”

Though The Worst Ones deals with how far one can take neorealism, director Romane Gueret understands that it is a question that she and Akoka faced during production. “It’s a movie that is inspired by filmmakers we were able to observe and spend time with,” said Gueret. “There is a little bit of a mix with all of these elements. Sometimes there is a risk of crossing those limits like Gabriel does in the movie. That is part of the job. We need to ask ourselves how far can we go for the success of our movie. It’s a question that we ask ourselves all of the time.”

Check out the interview with The Worst Ones directors Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret:

“The Worst Ones” interview with Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret (audio version)

The Worst Ones hits New York’s Quad Cinema on March 24 and will roll out to selected theaters in the following weeks. Go to Kino Lorber for further information!

Eric Holmes and Bruce Purkey review The Worst Ones on CinemAddicts (video and podcast version below):

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