Review: The Little Band

Five years after the dynamic comedy that was Free!, Pierre Salvadori returns with a new little bomb or rather The Little Band. A film about childhood, about struggle, about delirium that tells about the joy of being together. A film with children, but without stupidity, in short, a fantastic film about childhood.

Childhood

The world upside downFree! seems to be the legacy that the children have received The Little Band, the new film by Pierre Salvadori. In fact, the four (soon to be five, it’s better to vote!) kids (almost teenagers), tired of not being heard, decide to take action. Their motivation? The river polluted, with impunity, by the local factory. Here they embark on a story that will soon overtake them. Pierre Salvadori doesn’t just tell a story about ecology or struggle, he does comedy with a real troupe. From the credits, where he has fun with small spelling corrections polish (he goes so far as to rename himself Pierre salad de ri), the director sets the tone: nothing will be serious here because everything is serious. Yes, at the onset of adolescence, falling in love is a serious matter worthy of blowing up a factory! Finally, at least having the project…

Wandering

This pretext is then worth a whole series of more or less shaky actions in which the main characters engage. Pierre Salvadori therefore takes these children (and actors!) seriously and gives them a real thickness, dialogues that slam, never heavy or moralizing. Even little Aimé, who unknowingly joins the band, is harassed without being the victim, we cry. He is simply trying to come to terms with his extreme loneliness and the violence it engenders. More resourceful than he seems, he will be much more than his new friends expect of him. Creepy and farcical, this comedy is as much as it is well constructed (staged to the millimeter) and intelligent (children are not unbearable or stupid, they bear above all the weight of the adult world, fail) “Except that they never have the right to decide. They are kept out of decisions and so I thought it was becoming very interesting. In fact, children are, without even wanting it, marginal, not even by choice. As they are kept out of all decisions, children are in fact marginalized” (Pierre Salvadori, interview on Allociné).

Together

The director celebrates the joy of being together by giving his characters real stakes, including looks, voices (even when they choose accents!). We often think about Little mother by Céline Sciamma, who gave free rein to the friendship between two little girls in an almost eerie time. There was the child too “set aside” (of family grief, that the house was moved…) and resumed his place, as he chose to be “child with you” Where “child far from you” about his mother. After all, only the child held the keys to the music of the future! Sometimes cruel, never judgmental, The Little Bandis a film which a cleverly orchestrated merry mess where kids stop being kids to take charge of their future. We see them subtly shift into something else and understand how together they galvanize each other and are able to go further, to hit harder. In short, to take control of their lives. Driven by a fabulous cast, great finds and above all a sense of freedom that never fades, The Little Band is a great movie about childhood, not a marshmallow or poser thing, simply a tale showing children in search of a new world.

The staging, from the action scenes to the delusions of the kidnapped boss, is perfect with little gems like these masks (all magnificent!) that give our heroes silly superhero tunes, Aimé often has fun imagining herself with powers. Since The interns, Pierre Salvadori has chosen to make clumsiness (here excused by childhood), awkwardness, a pretext for comedy but above all for a tender and clear-sighted look at the world. After all, it is out of an awkwardness that the disaster is born here, which might move the lines!

The Little Band: Trailer

Also see

The Little Band: Technical magazine

Summary: The little gang is Cat, Fouad, Antoine and Sami, four 12-year-old schoolboys. Out of pride and provocation, they embark on a crazy project: to blow up the factory that has been polluting their river for years. But in the newly formed group, disagreements are frequent and unanimity constantly paralyzes the action. To decide between themselves, they then decide to bring Aimé, a rejected and lonely kid, into their little band. As excited as they are maddened by the scope of their mission, the five accomplices will learn to live and fight together in this fun and uncertain adventure that will completely surpass them.

Direction: Pierre Salvadori
Screenplay: Pierre Salvadori, Benoît Graffin
Cast: Paul Belhoste, Mathys Clodion-Gines, Aymé Medeville, Colombe Schmidt, Redwan Sellam, Laurent Capelluto
Photo: Julien Poupard
Editing: Isabelle Devinck
Production companies: Les Films Pélléas, France 2 Cinema, Tovo Films
Distributor: Gaumont Distribution
Duration: 1h48
Release date: July 20, 2022
Genre: Comedy

France – 2021

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