Exclusive: Léa Mysius co-wrote and directed the mystical love story, which debuted at Cannes in 2022 and opens at Mubi this May.
“The Five Devils” evokes the magic of childhood, the forbidden first love and the elusive mystery of death.
Directed by Léa Mysius (“Ava”), who co-wrote the film with cinematographer Paul Guilhaume, “The Five Devils” became magical after its premiere in Cannes 2022, as part of the Directors’ Fortnight. The feature won Best Film – Next Wave at Fantastic Fest and is distributed by MUBI.
Newcomer Sally Dramé plays Vicky, a strange and lonely little girl who has the magical ability to reproduce any scent she wants and collect it in carefully labeled bottles. He has secretly captured the scent of his mother, Joanne (Adèle Exarchopoulos), for whom he has a wild, excessive love. When her aunt Julia (Swala Emati) bursts into their lives, Vicky repeats her scent and is drawn into dark and archaic memories that lead her to uncover the secrets of her village, her family and her own existence. According to an official synopsis, after Vicky catches Julia’s scent, she begins to experience traumatic memories that are not her own.
Moustapha Mbengue and Daphné Patakia also star.
Writer-director Mysius told IndieWire that it was “love at first sight” when he cast young actress Dramé.
“She had big eyes and a big smile and she was just my Vicky,” Mysius said of discovering her talent. “I also liked this funny, burlesque side of him, but he had no acting experience; the reason i chose her is her face, her expression and what she can express through her body, but she didn’t know how to act. He is very serious and dedicated, so we started working on his voice and body movements and training his voice. He revealed his true abilities on set.”
Mysius added that the intimate sensory experience between mother and daughter on screen symbolizes the message behind “Five Devils,” which is “trying to fill the invisible, which of course is the opposite of the visible in filmmaking. But invisibility is also related to memories and dreams, and I liked that as soon as you put a label on it, you get the feeling of something tangible and concrete.”
IndieWire’s review of the film hailed “Blue Is the Warmest Color” alum Exarchopoulos for “putting her body into everything she does” in order to solidify the dichotomy between her character Joanne’s spiritual yearnings and physical restraint. “Even when you don’t feel like you’re alive, the film seems to look like you are,” the review says.
The Five Devils opens in theaters on March 24th and will be broadcast on MUBI on May 12th.
Watch the trailer, an IndieWire exclusive, below.
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