The Restless 2021

Les Intranquilles

Directed by Joachim Lafosse Belonging

An unflinching study of the impact of bipolar disorder on a French artist and his family. “Lafosse administers the tension like a seasoned anaesthetist who knows exactly what dose to deliver.” — Hollywood Reporter

Nov 10

Light House Cuba

Nov 11

Penthouse Cinema

Nov 20

Penthouse Cinema

France In French with English subtitles
118 minutes DCP
M
offensive language & nudity

Director

Cast

Leïla Bekhti
,
Damien Bonnard
,
Gabriel Merz Chammah
,
Patrick Descamps

Producers

Anton Iffland Stettner
,
Eva Kuperman
,
Jani Thiltges

Screenplay

Joachim Lafosse
,
Juliette Goudot
,
Anne-Lise Morin
,
François Pirot
,
Chloé Léonil
,
Lou du Pontavice

Cinematography

Jean-François Hensgens

Editor

Marie-Hélène Dozo

Music

Ólafur Arnalds
,
Antoine Bodson

Festivals

Cannes (In Competition) 2021

Elsewhere

Successful painter Damien seems to live an idyllic life in the south of France with his furniture restorer wife Leïla and their son Amine: all sun, surf and swimming pools. But we’re not even through the first scene before the shadows start creeping in.

Damien’s exuberant behaviour becomes more and more erratic, until he is hospitalised and diagnosed with bipolar disorder. We rejoin the family after his recovery, only to watch him steadily slip back into mania. This time around, his illness takes a much greater toll on his wife and child.

Seasoned festivalgoers will know Joachim Lafosse as a master of the uneasy family drama, and a superb director of actors, from his earlier films Private Property (NZIFF 2007) and Our Children (NZIFF 2012). With The Restless, his first film to play in the main competition at Cannes, he’s again on top form, dealing with a volatile emotional cocktail of fear, shame and distrust that impacts each member of the family differently. Their responses to an impossible situation are explored with Lafosse’s typical toughness, insight and empathy.

Much of the power of the film resides in its decision to focus on Damien’s nerve-jangling manic episodes, allowing viewers to understand just how scary they can be to those around him – and how intertwined they are with his creativity. Is it possible for him to walk the psychological and pharmacological tightrope of stability and continue with his work, while avoiding devastating collateral damage to those he loves? The film is smart enough to know that there are no easy answers. — Andrew Langridge