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“DNA”: Maïwenn paints a sensitive portrait of a family rooted in Algeria


The actress-director is again behind and in front of the camera in “DNA”, a film with an impeccable cast.

DNA, which comes out on Wednesday October 28, sees Maïwenn’s return to directing and as an actress, surrounded by Fanny Ardant and Louis Garrel. A family story shaken up by the death of the patriarch, which brings to the surface deep Algerian roots and dissensions, treated by the author of Polishes, with tact and humanity. The film was selected in competition at the last Cannes Film Festival aborted due to the pandemic.

Emir’s granddaughter, Neige (Maïwenn) adores her grandfather of Algerian origin, at the end of his life in a retirement home. When the family learns of his death, the world falls apart. Between her mother (Fanny Ardant), her sister with whom she broke up, Emir’s aunts, grand-grandchildren, and her divorced husband (Louis Garrel), the tea towel burns …

Marked by a difficult family life, which she echoed in the press, Maïwenn is well placed to speak about the mother-daughter relationships that dominate in her latest film. Herself the daughter of a half Algerian mother and actress, she inserts in DNA the subject of origins, and their imprint on the offspring. With her style, always empathetic towards her characters, the filmmaker treats with discernment a subject at the heart of French society, in a mixture of seriousness and lightness.

France 3

If the staging is never overlooked in her films, Maïwenn stands out in castings of which she has the secret. That of Fanny Ardant in the role of her mother is obvious. Face to face, both transcribe their love and their differences, in a quest for identity brought to light by mourning. The many other family members do the same, with outbursts. Maïwenn manages to articulate all these little people, on camera, and in writing with Mathieu Demy, in a harmony that inspires respect. The prize goes to Louis Garrel whose funny and scathing repartees put everyone in their place.

Fanny Ardant, Dylan Robert, Omar Marwan, Caroline Chaniolleau, in “ADN” by Maïwenn. (Copyright Malgosia ABRAMOWSKA)

With five films in the chapter, all different, Maïwenn creates a bond with her audience. Confidence emanating from its relationship to actors and their roles. A feeling that undoubtedly dates back to her precocity on the boards (from the age of three), due to an authoritarian mother who predestined her for that. She seems to draw the consequences in DNA, whose success is like the intimate response, while touching the universal. Beautiful movie.

The poster of "DNA " by Maïwenn.
Maïwenn’s “DNA” poster. (The pact)

Kind : Drama
Directors : Maïwenn
Actors : Maïwenn, Fanny Ardant, Louis Garrel, Caroline Chaniolleau, Omar Marwan, Dylan Robert, Henri-Noël Tabary
Country : France
Duration : 1h30
Exit : October 28, 2020
Distributor : The pact

Synopsis : Neige, divorced and mother of three, regularly visits Emir, her Algerian grandfather who now lives in a retirement home. She adores and admires this pillar of the family, who raised her and above all protected her from the toxicity of her parents. Relations between the many members of the family are complicated and resentments are numerous … Fortunately Neige can count on the support and humor of François, her ex. The death of the grandfather will trigger a family storm and a deep identity crisis at Neige. From then on, she will want to understand and know her DNA.

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