Streaming. From “Sentinels” to “Mister 8”, our weekend selection

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The series: “Sentinels” on OCS

In the Mopti region of Mali, Lieutenant Anaïs Collet’s section, deployed as part of Operation Barkhane, is dedicated to tracking down terrorists. But an ambush with dramatic consequences revives tensions between the military and the Malian population, which accepts the French presence less and less.

We tend to forget it with the war in Ukraine, but France is still militarily engaged in Mali (Nevertheless not for long, on February 17, Emmanuel Macron formalized the withdrawal of French soldiers from the country by summer , and the end of Operation Barkhane). Unlike the United States, fiction about a real and ongoing conflict is extremely rare on this side of the Atlantic. Suffice to say that the “Sentinels” series, presented at the last Seriesmania in Lille and available on OCS, is a challenge.

But a challenge met on the one hand thanks to its great realism. Realism reinforced by the collaboration of the French army in the production of the series. A real paradigm shift. “The general public knows the police, the gendarmerie, but very little about the military world and defense issues, because there are very few films and series about our universe. There is a real lack of knowledge that we need to fill, and fiction can be a tool,” explains Eve-Lise Blanc-Deleuze, head of the Cinema and Creative Industries mission at the Ministry of the Armed Forces, to France news. Equipment and military uniforms were provided for the production of the series (partly shot in Morocco), while the actors underwent internships in barracks in France.

However, the series is not a hagiography of the army, and does not hesitate to address subjects such as drug use or the consequences of a blunder. Because “Sentinels” is also a portrait of France and its youth. Under the orders of Lieutenant Anaïs Collet (Pauline Parigot), one of the few female officers in the army, there is a black and Muslim corporal, Martial Mendy (Birane Ba), the son of a prominent white general Julien Ravalet (Louis Peres), and a soldier of North African origin Saadi Djibril (Samy Seghir). “The French army has almost always been much more multicultural than other sectors of society”, points out Frédéric Krivineat the origin of the historical saga A French village, and screenwriter of “Sentinelles” with its creator Thibault Valetoux.

Between portrait of France, political fiction, and action film (the first episode thus stages a rather tense camera), “Sentinels” is a project which has ambitions, and which succeeds in concretizing them.

The animated film: “Apollo 10 1/2: The rockets of my childhood”

“Apollo 10 1/2: The rockets of my childhood” retraces the story of the first trip to the Moon from two crossed points of view. The film thus tells the incredible epic of the summer of 1969 through the eyes of a child, Stan, who lives in Houston, Texas, but who finds himself embarked on a secret space mission.

“Apollo 10 1/2: The rockets of my childhood” is an atypical animated film. On the one hand because it uses the technique of rotoscoping, where the feature film was first shot in live action before the filmed images are animated. A technique seen in particular in “A Scanner Darkly” by Richard Linklater, who also produced this “Apollo 10 1/2: The rockets of my childhood”.

On the other hand because it is “almost” a documentary on the lives of American children in the 1960s, like… Richard Linklater, born in 1960 in Houston. The film follows the space adventures of young Stan as much as his life at school, his Saturdays in front of the television or at the amusement park, with great detail. A real catalog reinforced by the narration of Jack Black (incarnating the adult Stan), with a tone between nostalgia and a certain form of criticism. Like this feature film, which will be particularly useful to show the life of the 60s to the youngest.

The other series: “Mister 8” on Canal+ Series

Maria (Krista Kosonen), an independent entrepreneur, has a well-organized life with her seven spouses, one for each day: the sports coach, the stand-up comedian, the romantic poet, the hunter, the family man divorced… But her world changes when she falls in love with Juho (Pekka Strang), a newcomer to her town. Because the latter has only one goal, to be Maria’s only relationship.

The Finnish series “Mister 8” stands out with its polished aesthetic, entirely in black and white. She also scores with her plot, which breaks the codes of romantic comedy, putting a strong woman in charge of a court of suitors who are not always very shrewd. Obviously, these will fall as Juho’s machinations to get closer to Maria. Except that the latter is not fooled. Unless…

A favorite of many festival-goers during Canneséries 2021, “Mister 8” won the prize for best long series and its main actor, Pekka Strang, that of interpretation.

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