Antonythasan Jesuthasan, Sri Lankan refugee policy plays its own course in “Dheepan”, the film by Jacques Audiard, in competition. Meeting with this amateur actor as the Cannes scenery does not dazzle.
The first meeting with Antonythasan Jesuthasan, aka Shobasakthi, aka “Shoba,” was made to light years away from the Croisette. A cold winter day in a distant city in the popular Paris area dealers for its strategic location at the crossroads fortress highways. This afternoon, Shoba, as Jacques Audiard’s spotted in his “wild” castings within the Tamil community in Paris, repeated car stunts and fight scenes. Its steep, fast and sharp gestures, seemed a total singularity. Asked his ear if he knew how to fight and he bestowed us with his beautiful smile impassively: “At 16, in the training camps of the Tamil Tigers, I learned to handle all all weapons and explosives. And I have formed a few martial arts. “
The young quadra, which fills the screen in Dheepan , is a former child soldier, a refugee in France for over 15 years. Within the Tigers, he mounted ambushes against the army of the central government and invented a background actor playing propaganda scenes on the markets of the region. The War of Independence went wrong. Between guerrilla factions has long continued in the cities of Asia and Europe. It has long been under pressure from his turbulent past and to a school canteen transformed into a changing room for the needs of the film, he showed us the many traces of torture in the country. During filming, the production rented him an apartment to the Gare de l’Est, where he took his ease, but before being invited under the spotlight in Cannes, he returned without harm to the ordinary of his life before .
“It does not turn me head” , he said when it is found, around midnight, the night of his arrival on the Croisette. He is slumped in a sofa with a chic terrace of a palace where the soul man Senegalese Faada Freddy gave a concert under the stars. Nothing has changed. His acting wages have already spun his fingers and returned to live with her sister. Shoba never asked since he lives in Paris, he always stayed here and there, from one job to another, kitchen or household, taking care to preserve its freedom. “When filming was completed , he tells I was just happy to be able to present the history of Sri Lankan Tamils who do not know it . And as soon as I left my job, I went back to writing. “
The actor, who does not imagine a career, is primarily a novelist. His first book, where he traces his political struggles, has become a cult book in the Tamil community and advocacy against the infernal cycle of violence earned him some friction with the Tigers exiles in Europe. Since the beginning of spring, he wrote a new book which he had pitched the plane before landing in Audiard. “A novel about life after the war. Scars, inner tensions, pressures from the outside … “ He observes barely stirring Cannes. The cocktails on the terrace are sophisticated, the upscale audience, refined meals. Closely followed by the production which do not always understand (it is expressed mainly in Tamil) and wants to keep it in the rails of the Cannes exercise, Shoba, unpredictable nature, simply align the glasses. And arranges for dinner at McDonald
The next afternoon, he connects the interviews Lounges luxurious apartment. Wearing a three-piece suit, English cut, whose elegance will certainly please but lets a little puzzled. “I have the air of a controller RATP, right? “ It has long campaigned for the Trotskyist Fourth International in Paris, distributing leaflets and newspapers to Barbès, under the arches of the Skytrain, luxury and glamor of Cannes totally leave the marble. It benefits interviews to talk, and talk again, the situation in Sri Lanka, was surprised to be asked constantly if the character is based on his own life (before admitting that, yes, there are many of it in Dheepan ).
“I have full confidence in the quality of our work”
Is he afraid that his appearance featured in the French media always rekindle the intense political discussions in the Tamil exile community: “No reason, he told . The war is over now. The Tigers no longer exist. And I say nothing outrageous. Maybe in Sri Lanka, the central authorities will not appreciate this spotlight. But I’ve spent my life criticize, I will not start paying attention today. “ He even think he can one day return home. But the prospect is remote. “The government has changed the situation progresses, but I will when we will be able to exercise, in full freedom, the activity as a writer.” For now, he needs up the steps. Shoba has seen a working version of the film, there are three weeks and feels perfectly comfortable with the work of Audiard. A he scared a few hours of the gala screening. “Afraid of what? “
After the session, the actor is on a cloud, peppered with questions and compliments as soon as he stepped on the Croisette. The troops withdrew to dine away on a beach. At midnight on a large cushion on the beach, we communicate as we can in the alcohol vapor while the DJ of the party heats minds with the tube unstoppable Old Dirty Bastard and Kelis. The rise of the steps went like a dream with no particular emotion, “just the pleasure of feeling the team by my side,” . He said he had no trouble watching the screen and has paid little attention to the reactions from the audience. “I was completely absorbed by the film and I felt no anxiety. Jacques Audiard was sitting beside me and I totally trust the quality of our work. “
After the credits, the ovation seemed to him an eternity. His face was broadcast in close-up on the room screen. All those who knew him for months and are always surprised its impenetrable Nature believe they see tears welling up. He is careful to follow in this field and leaves it soft seen others: “I did not feel any particular emotion. I’m not one to let me disturb. I’ve never been particularly sensitive and I learned to be less and less. “