Dany Boon’s latest film, 8 rue de l’Humanité, chronicle tinged with humor of the life of a Parisian building during the first wave of the pandemic, arrives Wednesday, October 22 on Netflix.
The northern star who exceeded 20 million admissions in 2008 with Welcome to the Ch’tis, biggest success in France for a French film, this time tackles this moment when our lives have changed, in March 2020.
With his favorite weapon, self-mockery: Boon stages himself as a hypochondriac, always armed with a thermometer. “Not less than a meter!”, he warns as soon as he meets a neighbor on the stairs, where he stores his groceries awaiting disinfection.
We also meet in this choral film (duration 01:53) a disheveled biologist obsessed by the quest for a vaccine (Yvan Attal), children, sponges of their parents’ anguish, or even a young couple (Tom Leeb and Alison Wheeler) living more than through social networks.
François Damiens plays a wealthy and proud owner, and Liliane Rovère (Ten percent, Family Business), the owner of a bistro on the ground floor, which had to close its doors. These inhabitants of the same building are caught in the throes of the first confinement, which exacerbates their neuroses but also stimulates their creativity and, ultimately, their humanity.
Outraged 8 rue de l’Humanité, confinement inspired some works: Flavie Flament wrote The Embrace, a love story about this moment when you had to choose to confine yourself – or not – with your loved one; Amazon Prime uploaded a year ago Connected, another comedy with Stéphane de Groodt, Audrey Fleurot or Michaël Youn …
Four waves of Covid later in France, it took the king of popular and unifying entertainment to dare to put on the table this subject which no one, a priori, wants to hear about. Dany Boon wrote it himself in full confinement, with his partner Laurence Arné, who plays a lawyer juggling between family and professional constraints.
During this period, instead of “transmitting our anxieties to our children (…) we said to ourselves ‘rather we are going to write a good story with containment and the pandemic’, this incredible situation that we have all experiencedu “, says Dany Boon, 55, to AFP.
“There are beautiful things that have happened”, he adds, explaining that he wanted “tell them, and also convey emotion through a social and human comedy”.
Because of confinement Dany Boon also wanted to show the best, he who is delighted to have “met (his) neighbors, to have suddenly become interested in who they were, in what they were doing, to meet people for what they are”.
“In that sense, there have been positive things. It’s important to talk about it to entertain and move.”
“For my generation, quite privileged, the health crisis is the first hard thing of our life”, abounds Laurence Arné, 39 years old. Containment “is an event that will have marked our generation, there is a kind of solidarity between us all through this difficult experience”.
Film of an era, 8 rue de l’Humanité is also by the mode of distribution chosen. “Netflikche” (“Netflix” with northern accent) is “a complementary medium to cinema” assures Dany Boon. “The film will be released everywhere, in more than 200 countries (…) and, for those who do not have Netflix, it will be broadcast on a major television channel, terrestrial, in a few months”.
For the platform, which promised to make 2021 the year of “the creative and cultural anchoring in France”, with “unifying” and “general public” proposals, Dany Boon is a great catch, while the contribution of platforms to French creation is at the heart of the concerns of the world of cinema.