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CINEMA – Abstention risks once again reaching a record level this Sunday, April 10 for the first round of the 2022 presidential election. And to understand the French people’s lack of love for politics, the film At the same time, which comes out this Wednesday, April 6, should give some keys to the political class on all sides.
In this hilarious comedy, Benoît Délépine and Gustave Kervern (Saint Amour, Clear history) strive to put into images the vices of these politicians who horrify and exasperate us. The synopsis also sums up this desire quite well.
″On the eve of a vote to approve the construction of a leisure park in place of a primary forest, an uninhibited right-wing mayor, Didier Béquet (Jonathan Cohen) tries to corrupt his fellow ecologist Pascal Molitor (Vincent Macaigne ).”
Didier Béquet, symbol of weather vanes in politics
After his roles in The flame Where Family Business, Jonathan Cohen perfectly embodies the typical portrait of the politician we love to hate. This one is openly sexist, homophobic, macho and above all, he has no conviction, except that of changing it regularly. He sometimes claims a communist heritage, “because (he) sold Che Guevara socks at the Fête de l’Huma”, sometimes his past on the far right “because it’s the party where there are the most blondes per square meter”, as you can see in the excerpt below.
Everything is in appearance rather than in ideas, to the point that Didier Béquet, now at the Divers Extrême Center (DEC), goes so far as to bleach his hair with a toothbrush to give himself the appearance of a wise old man when he meets retirees.
“He’s a prototype of a far-right guy, but who surfs on these ideas to go in the direction of voters, who are more and more sensitive to keeping their little backyard”, explains Gustave Kervern in the production notes. “He is an opportunist who takes advantage of his status and who people take more seriously because he seems more armed and more authoritative.”
Does Jonathan Cohen play a particular politician? The directors do not claim it. However, they specify that they were inspired by the outfit of a certain Laurent Wauquiez, the ex-boss of the very right Republicans, for the role played by Jonathan Cohen. A far from innocent clue. For the character played by Vincent Macaigne, it is logically the outfit of the EELV presidential candidate, Yannick Jadot, which was scrutinized by the directors.
Comedy Illustrated Corruption
At the same time also illustrates corruption in politics, always taking the side of comedy. Thus, rather than showing bundles of exchanged notes, the directors propose to show the complaints of the Town Hall secretary who reproaches the newly elected environmentalist for no longer giving “small notes” for each new building permit issued. “We had more fun with the former Mayor, it was more fun”, she even says. Funny, cynical and terribly effective.
The film shows politicians unable to decide, who play the game of seduction to try to satisfy everyone. Difficult to be more in the news.
The title is also borrowed from the now famous formula used many times by candidate Macron during the 2017 presidential campaign. “At the same time”, or how three words have become synonymous with an inextricable political positioning: “ neither right nor left; or a bit of both”.
“Initially, the film was called national union but it was a bit too martial a title”, continues Gustave Kervern in the production notes. “At the same time came quickly and, despite later suggestions, remained the most relevant. (…) The principle of ‘at the same time’ for a politician, faced with the chaos that is looming, is the absolute certainty of going straight into the wall. If the ‘simultaneous’ decisions aim to save as many people as possible, it is a short-term vision that will never be up to the perils that await us. It is not by distributing umbrellas that we will protect ourselves from a tsunami.”
Moreover, behind this political satire, the film evokes two major battles of the years to come. That of the fight against global warming, through this construction of a leisure park in a forest. The second, that of the place of women in society, through the joyful and uninhibited struggle of the “Colle-Girls”, a feminist collective which will have a decisive role in the plot of the film with its glue…
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