anticipatory drama on a viral pandemic with contemporary echo

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The new film by and with Casey Affleck comes at the right time in the context of the coronavirus crisis.

Chance of programming, Light of my Life, which traces the journey of a father with his daughter, when a virus has eradicated almost all women on Earth, comes out on August 12, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. Casey Affleck, in front of and behind the camera, signs a sober and haunting anticipation film, with Western and philosophical echoes.

Eleven-year-old Rag follows her protective father through forests and discreetly camping to avoid any human presence. For his father, Rag, whom he passes off as his son, is the light of his life, after the death of his wife, who suffered from the “plague of women” which affected almost all the fairer sex. Their rare encounters are hostile, in a humanity returned to survival instincts, predatory and violent.For a good part filmed outdoors, Light of my Life traces the headlong rush of two outcasts facing a constant threat. The film thus takes on the appearance of a western, while it takes place in the near future. But it is not the action that dominates. Casey Affleck, also writing, signs an adventure to the rhythm of the footsteps of this father and his daughter who cross thick forests and squat abandoned houses. A slowness to which Daniel Hart’s music responds, but also Affleck’s monotonous tone. The feeling of a general torpor bathes the film, crossed by moments of suspense and violence.

This protective father tells his daughter a story every evening. Casey Affleck perhaps pushes the cap a bit further when, after one of them, the girl asks him about the difference between morals and ethics. A hardly credible question in the mouth of an eleven-year-old child. It is however the heart of the subject of Light of my Life. Morality comes from the separation between good and evil, and ethics, from the attitude to take in the face of this dilemma, his father replied. Mentioned at the beginning, the subject echoes twice in the film, during the theft of a car, then the winchester shot that Rag fires at an enemy. Two emblematic scenes which perfectly condense the subject, without long speech, but in action.

Casey Affleck et Anna Pniowsky dans “Light of my Life” de Casey Affleck. (CATE CAMERON / © 2017 BLACK BEAR PRODUCTIONS/E)

Rare American film to be released in this period of timid reopening of cinemas, Light of my Life worth the trip if you are willing to take the time for a story that takes its own. The theme of the apocalyptic pandemic is a classic (Alert, Contagion, I’m a legend, The Planet of the Apes…) And Casey Affleck takes it as a pretext for an exploration of human nature. Hasn’t the coronavirus crisis, for example, revealed human behavior that is at the very least abject, in terms of morals and ethics, in persecutions targeting healthcare workers? Uplifting.

L’affiche de “Light of my Life” de Casey Affleck. (Condor Distribution)

Genre : Drame / Science-fiction
Director : Casey Affleck
Actors: Casey Affleck, Anna Pniowsky, Elisabeth Moss, Tom Bower, Timothy Webber

Pays : United States
Duration : 1h59
Exit : August 12, 2020
Distributor : Condor Distribution

Synopsis : In the near future when the female population has been eradicated, a father tries to protect Rag, his only daughter, miraculously spared. In this brutal world dominated by primary instincts, survival requires strict discipline, made up of permanent flight and subterfuge. But he knows it, his biggest challenge lies elsewhere: when everything is collapsing, how to maintain the illusion of a carefree daily life and preserve the close bond with his daughter?

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