Sauvage (Camille Vidal-Naquet, 2018)
What could have been just another movie about the adversities of prostitution, homelessness and drug addiction (as if those three things go hand in hand), it is elevated to a much more poignant story thanks to Félix Maritaud’s brave performance, who plays Léo with a certain tenderness and fragility that is hardly seen in this kind of stories. The main character is so desperate to be loved that it makes his degradation much more painful.
Camille Vidal-Naquet smartly avoids the tragic ending, but if his protagonist doesn't leave with silver-fox Claude (Philippe Ohrel) to America, it's because Vidal-Naquet didn't want to offer a sweetened resolution either. Léo's voluntary return to the streets would symbolise the relapse and constant craving in addictive behaviours: he needs to go back to the start even if it's not convenient for him. Léo might look relieved in the last image, but this is not a happy ending.
Good companion pieces
Heaven knows what (2014), directed by Josh & Benny Safdie.
Love in the Time of Civil War (2014), directed by Rodrigue Jean.
Directed by Camille Vidal-Naquet | 2018 | France
Main cast: Félix Maritaud, Eric Bernard, Nicolas Dibla, Philippe Ohrel