Nearly three years after making a splash at Cannes with his first feature filmMy Brother's Wife, Monia Chokri had the honor of debuting her new movie Babysitter at the acclaimed Sundance Film Festival on Saturday night. However, due to the pandemic, it was in front of her computer, in Montreal, that the filmmaker experienced this virtual premiere.
” At one o'clock in the morning, I was in front of my computer in a kind of Zoom with a moderator, the actors Patrick [Hivon) and Nadia [Tereszkiewicz] and the people of Sundance, recounted laughing Monia Chokri, in a telephone interview given to Journal on Sunday.
“Viewers could ask us questions online, but it was a very abstract experience”.
Of course, Monia Chokri's original plan was to be on location in Park City, Utah to present her second feature film in person to Sundance audiences. But faced with the rise of the Omicron variant, the festival management decided, at the beginning of January, to cancel the face-to-face part of the event and to opt for a 100 % virtual edition, for a second year in a row. ;
“Obviously I was a little disappointed to learn that because I was really excited and happy to be able to present my film at Sundance, a festival that I really wanted to discover, says Monia Chokri.
“I've also gotten to the point where I need to see the film in a room with an audience. I designed Babysitter for the big screen with special care for sound. There, with online screenings, I don't know under what conditions people will see it. That said, it gives the film great exposure because it's still a selection at Sundance.”
The actress and director is also delighted that her feature film has been selected in the Midnight section of the festival, devoted to extraordinary films. “As Babysitter mixes comedy and horror, I thought it lent itself well,” she slips.
A film confrontant
Adapted from the play of the same title by Catherine Léger (who also wrote the screenplay for the film), Babysitterchronicles the misadventures of an engineer and new father (Patrick Hivon) who is suspended by his employer after making a sexist joke that has gone viral on social networks. Confronted with his girlfriend (Monia Chokri) and his brother (Steve Laplante), he will undertake therapy by embarking on the writing of a book of excuses addressed to women.
Monia Chokri had fell in love with the play when seeing it at the La Licorne theater in 2017. Even though Babysitter was written before the rise of the #MeToo movement, the work tackles potentially explosive subjects such as misogyny and the notion of consent.
“ I wanted to stage this story in the cinema because as a spectator, the subject challenged me and asked me questions. , explains Monia Chokri. It will certainly not be a consensus film. But I find it important to try things in the cinema and to confront the viewer. »
Babysitter< /em> is set to hit theaters in Quebec in April.