The only British director in Competition, Lynne Ramsay has adapted a book by US novelist Lionel Shriver centred on the torments of adolescence. With We Need to Talk about Kevin, the film-maker plunges back into a subject that she has already dealt with in her movies.
Childhood disillusionment and its consequences on adolescence are themes for cinematic reflection that are dear to Lynne Ramsay’s heart. Her short films Small Deaths (1996) and Gasman (1998), both of which won the Prix du Jury at Cannes, did not just reveal the Scottish film-maker’s talent to the eyes of the Seventh Art. These first movies also bespoke her deep interest in these issues, which have continued to mark her films.
This tendency was confirmed especially in 1999 with The Ratcatcher, her first feature film. The film, selected for Un Certain Regard, related the difficult existence of a teenager cut off from the family environment by a burdensome secret.
With We Need to Talk about Kevin, the British film-maker pursues her aim of decoding the desperation of youth though, this time, from the other side of the mirror. Here she focuses on parental guilt, a sentiment that confronts Eva (Tilda Swinton) when her son Kevin (Ezra Miller), aged 16, kills seven people at his school. She attempts to explain his act by remembering significant moments of their life together.
Adapted from a novel by the American writer Lionel Shriver, the movie echoes the Columbine tragedy, made into a film by Gus Van Sant in 2003 (Elephant, Palme d’or). Note also the participation of Jonny Greenwood, one of the guitarists in the English group Radiohead, who produced the music for the film.
The film will be screened in the Grand Théâtre Lumière at 8.30am, 3pm and 10.30pm on 12 May.