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Part of 2019 Film Festival

Close Enemies

Directed by David Oelhoffen

France | Fiction Feature | 111

21 Apr
Sun, Apr 21, 2019 at 4:30 pm PT
22 Apr
Mon, Apr 22 at 6:00 pm
Victoria Theatre


International superstars Matthias Schoenaerts (SFFILM-supported The Mustang, 2019) and Reda Kateb (The White Knights, Festival 2016) headline this gritty crime drama from David Oelhoffen (Far From Men, Festival 2015). Though Manuel (Schoenaerts) and Driss (Kateb) grew up in the same working-class Paris suburb, the present day will find them on opposite sides of the law after a brutal shooting of one of Driss’s informants. In addition to its tense cat-and-mouse scenario, Close Enemies pays careful attention to its characters and their interpersonal relationships, especially the quandary of being a police officer investigating one’s own community.

“Both Kateb and Schoenaerts are masters at underplaying their characters’ emotions without turning into blank slates. As two driven and quick-thinking men with clear objectives, it is simply a pleasure to sit back and let them try to outmaneuver one another while always contemplating, in the back of their heads, whether it wouldn’t make more sense for them to team up … Cinematographer Guillaume Deffontaines, probably most known for his work with local auteur Bruno Dumont (though he also shot Oelhoffen’s Far From Men), proves very adept at the action genre. Handheld camerawork is used in some of the most agitated sequences without ever sacrificing spatial coherence, while close-ups of the actors’ faces are used to further heighten the emotions where necessary.” – Boyd van Hoeij, The Hollywood Reporter

Director David Oelhoffen

After making a number of shorts, writer and director David Oelhoffen made his feature directing debut with In Your Wake (2007), followed by Far from Men (Festival 2015), winner of three prizes at the Venice Film Festival. Of Close Enemies, his third feature, he says, “When you are dealing with a film that flirts with a genre, your main concern is to avoid the clichés. For me, the best way to do that was to hang onto reality based on what I wanted to say about these characters and what I have learnt personally. That’s the reason why whenever I was shooting an action scene, I wanted to avoid any lyricism or romanticism. All of the violent scenes in my film are short and dry. There is nothing romantic about a criminal life. It’s a shitty life, and that’s what I wanted to convey.”



Film Details

Year 2018

Language French

Runtime 111

Country France/Belgium

Director David Oelhoffen

Producer Marc du Pontavice

Writer David Oelhoffen, Jeanne Aptekman

Editor Anne-Sophie Bion

Cinematographer Guillaume Deffontaines

Music Superpoze

Cast Matthias Schoenaerts, Reda Kateb, Sofian Zermani

Original Language Title Frères ennemis