Catherine Corsini’s fracture : X-ray of an asphyxiated society

Picture of the movie La Fracture (The Divide) © Carole Bethuel


Nine years after Trois mondes (Three Worlds), Catherine Corsini returns to Cannes with La Fracture (The Divide), selected In Competition, and plunges into the epicentre of the emergency room of a major Paris hospital on the night of a Yellow Vests demonstration. A pressure-cooker film that depicts the violence of an enraged society without ever verging on caricature.

After fracturing her arm, Raf (Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi) finds herself propelled into the emergency room of an over-extended Paris hospital, accompanied by her wife, Julie (Marina Foïs), with whom her relationship is increasingly tense. The incident forces them to confront a reality that they were not fully aware of before: the critical state of the hospital, represented by the characters Kim (the astonishing Aissatou Diallo Sagna, a hospital orderly in real life), and Yann (Pio Marmaï), an angry Yellow Vest who has been injured in a demonstration that degenerated into violence.


In this teeming ecosystem, the atmosphere is electric. Everything is mixed up together, in a jumble, colliding: the precariousness of a hospital setting that is close to asphyxiation, the solitude of patients waiting to be treated, the indignation of the demonstrators in response to the contempt of a government that ignores them, all like the strata of a fractured society. But still, all sharing the same need to be reassured, shown consideration, heard, and this same aspiration of a better future.


With this thirteenth film, Catherine Corsini presents a realistic picture that, reminiscent of the cherished themes of Ken Loach, blends intimacy with the collective. Filmed on a camera carried on her shoulder, La Fracture (The Divide) is an immersive experience in which the hospital is not only the theatre of the action, but a character in its own right, one that confuses us and unsettles us at the same time. A whirlwind film that sucks the viewer up in its path, to drop him down in full view of the shuddering contradictions of a system in which the marital crisis of Raf and Julie is just one more symptom of a generalized social crisis.