Article by: Martina Bonfiglio
Translation by: Valeria Alfieri
En attendant les barbares is a simple, minimalistic movie that succeeds to deeply inspect the characters’ fears; fears that mirror those of most people in the modern world. It follows a fairy-tale journey, in which the present time is mixed with an indefinite time where wizards, knights and ghosts live.
The movie was created during a workshop involving a group of actor held by the director in Tolouse; this sense of genuine craftsmanship, of experimentation, is highlighted by the backstage photos shown at the beginning of the movie.
During an enchanted yet tangible night, the protagonists try to overcome their fears, fighting the ghosts that pester today’s society.
The newscast announces the coming of the barbarians, and six refugees knock on the gates of a castle asking for shelter. A wizard and a sorceress welcome them, and they ask them to leave their electronic devices at the gates before they enter. This way, modern societal dynamics are uprooted right away, leaving room for the past, where dialogues and thoughts are the main focus. Discussing current thematic in almost theatrical back-and-forth dialogue, the actors take their lives and destiny back into their own hands.
The movie shows a strong theatricality, thanks to poetry and mimicry. In the second part of the film, an ancient Occitan poem is recited, taking the actors, who are spectators and witnesses, into a dreamlike journey, which is emphasized by a cold glare in the photography.
After what seems to be a rite of passage, the characters go back to reality and, after showing their past and present, the narration takes us into their future. Green manages to captivate the audience in an original way: at the beginning they are floored and disoriented, but they end up loving the surreal, fairy-tale context. It is a real estrangement from reality that makes everyone think about the meaning of our life journey.