Best Documentary Short 2019 - Chicago International Film Festival
In Villereau, a village of 5 square kilometres in the North of France, panic pervades: a terrorist attack alert was set off by villagers. Amidst the farmers’ fields, the police, the army, and the fire brigade disembark, ready for action. They discover many shocked cows, confused about the ruckus, and, after researching the situation, its origin is uncovered: a panicked resident’s response to the beginning of the hunting season, conflating the sound of gunshots with a terrorist attack, as well as her certainty in having heard the infamous phrase “Allahu Akbar” uttered amidst drunken Polish workers. But this story, as told by the village’s inhabitants, is only a sampling of the strangeness to be found in Villereau. Excess Will Save Us has us deep dive into an atmosphere as melancholic as it is absurd, and drives us to question our own paranoias.
A word from Tënk
Following a phone call with her father, Morgane Dziurla-Petit returns to the land where her family resides in order to gather testimonies from the Villereautins in response to a false alarm about a terrorist attack. In this village, rumours spread very quickly, leading to exaggerated reactions that manifest with an excess as absurd as it is disturbing.
Constantly oscillating between the codes of fiction and documentary, the filmmaker seeks to create a "comedy that makes you sad" and thus manages to deliver a dark but playful portrait of the situation, notably through very endearing participants. This non-event provokes political discussions tinged with fear, while generating a reflection on the prejudices that constitute ignorance.
Thanks to a skillful mise-en-scène, Dziurla-Petit manages to combine reality with fantasy: we witness reenactments punctuated by ghostly shots in which a young girl wanders backwards. A true metaphor for her own experience, the filmmaker gives her cousin Faustine the role of teenage Morgane. Through a careful aesthetic and the choice of wide shots, Villereau is sublimated, wonderfully depicted as a village frozen in time. The film’s title leads us to question our own paranoia, a potential vector of stupidity but ineluctable endless entertainment.
Negotiator, urban gleaner & cinephile