By Masked Oval
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It’s not just the rugby in life, there is the 7and art too. Moreover, these two arts have some points in common. The dramaturgy, the action, the way of sublimating bodies in motion, the sense of spectacle… without forgetting, of course, the fact that people under 40 do not go to stadiums any more than cinemas.
On April 13, these two worlds come together for the release of The stadium (yes, just “Le Stade”, because there is only one), a feature film directed by Eric Hannezo and Matthieu Vollaire. I had the chance to attend the preview and therefore offer you a little sheet, in the style of the L’Arrière-Cuisine site (or the book Ciné Club Sandwich, which I have no doubt about it, is already in your library). His goal will be to answer this question with as little bad faith as possible: are you really going to put 12 balls to see the Rouge et Noir shine their legendary turbo-boulard?
During the 2020-2021 season, Stade Toulousain had two intruders in its locker room: Alexi Balès and a cameraman.
The strong points :
- It is well filmed, there are beautiful images. Even if, as for the short film of a student in the second year of film school, the choice of black and white and the cinemascope format is justified above all for one reason: to show off.
- Knowing our Toulouse friends, we could have feared something very pompous. In the end, the film is pure: no voiceover or narration, we play the immersion card by immersing ourselves as close as possible to the actors, in fairly banal everyday scenes, whether at the training, on the bus or in the changing rooms. I could be retorted “It’s boring! » but honestly is it really more than a Top 14 match?
- There are a few snippets of matches, quite brief but allowing you to relive the greatest moments of the Toulouse season, such as the victory at Munster and the final stages of the two competitions won by the Stade. It will undoubtedly evoke many good memories for the supporters. On the other hand, if you are from Rochelais, go for a walk, don’t hurt yourself.
- No player is questioned facing the camera. A probably wise choice, the great media tour of the Stadium in the media having taught us that if the control at all times of Dupont and Ntamack is precious on the ground, in interview, it is still mega-boring. Nothing can shake these guys and push them out of the frame, even horrible things like a tackle from Botia or a question from Léa Salamé.
- On the other hand, the film could have been called “Ugo Mola: The Movie”. The Toulouse manager takes himself for Russel Crowe in Gladiator and continues the epic pre-match speeches, between inspiring quotes, warrior metaphors and jargon of the oval. A Linkedin menu with cassoulet sauce that works, especially since we feel that the guy still has a little humor and self-mockery. Imagine the same film with Guy Novès, we would have quickly gone from documentary to psychological horror film.
- Even if he appears little, Cheslin Kolbe is well in the film. Congratulations to the Stadium which could have cut all its scenes, a bit like when you crop a photo where you find yourself handsome to eliminate your ex.
The weak spots :
- If you hate Stade Toulousain, this film won’t change your mind. You may even leave the room with the desire to go and carry out an attack on Ernest-Wallon.
- We learn absolutely nothing about the preparation or the strategic approach to matches. On the other hand, we have a lot of “we’re going to dent them / smash them / roll over them” which should leave a good image of our sport to new spectators.
- A bit intrusive music, especially since it sometimes makes Hans Zimmer pass for the official composer of the Petit Bambou application.
- We see the start of a fight in training between Tekori and the Arnold brothers. Unfortunately, it’s very brief and quickly evacuated, while there would surely have been enough to do something much more spectacular than the disappointing King Kong vs. Godzilla.
- Without going into the forced drama at Netflix, a few moments would have deserved more attention. Like the career-ending injury of Yoann Huget. But maybe it’s me who always wants more Yoann Huget.
- Offering so many locker room scenes and not leaving a single penis sticking out in the background is definitely against the values of rugby.
- It may well be to play it as an arthouse film, the only rugby player in the cast of a film screened at the Cannes festival will remain Brice Dulin.
- The film does not answer a crucial question: can doing the double be considered a kind of Grand Slam?
Did you know :
- Stade Toulousain has won 21 Boucliers de Brennus and 5 European Cups. Since they have the modesty never to remind them too much, let’s do it for them.
- Clermont was qualified for the quarter-finals of the Rugby Champions Cup in 2021. Incredible, but true.
- There are plenty of other things we forgot. Like Matthis Lebel who scores tries.
- It is Matthieu Lartot who comments on all the (brief) match sequences in the film. Including for Top 14 matches broadcast on Canal +. Eric Bayle will surely appreciate, he who makes so many efforts to sell us his championship like the king of carpet dealers.
- It was François Berléand who presented the preview at the Grand Rex. You will also notice that as soon as we need a vaguely known guy who is a fan of rugby, we always call François Berléand. An old man who is already 20 years old, and who therefore represents quite well the typical public of this sport.
- The Black Dynamite company, which produced this film, is also responsible for several documentaries broadcast on television on Tony Parker, Teddy Riner or Karim Benzema. But also a film on the life of Michel Sardou: here we get closer to the world of rugby.
- Castres Olympique has just acquired a kinetograph and should soon respond by producing a silent biopic on the life of Romain Teulet.
- Thomas Pesquet appears in this film. Of course, they couldn’t help it.
What to remember:
This film would probably never have been broadcast if the Stadium had lost its two finals.
If you liked, you will also like:
- handsome player, on the 2016-2017 season of Aviron Bayonnais. It’s the same movie, but with lousy colors and players.
- The great classic Living with Lions on the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa in 1997. I’m old enough to have recorded it on VHS on Arté, a gesture that made me feel like a real intellectual.
- chasing the sun, on the epic of the Springboks 2019. It’s a bit like the modern version of the previous film, but with storytelling, big violins and tearful scenes. It still works quite well.
- To be from Toulouse. When you’re a fan of rugby, it’s easy. But who said that life has to be difficult for everyone?
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