Aug 15, 2016

Macadam Stories (2015)

Macadam Stories (2015) movie poster
Macadam Stories (French: Asphalte) is a 2015 French comedy-drama film written and directed by Samuel Benchetrit, and based on the first volume of Benchetrit's autobiography Les Chroniques de l'Asphalte. The film was selected to be screened in the Special Screenings section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival.

Improbable encounters bring tenderness, laughter and compassion to a world of urban alienation.

freddy and krasnaya movie review

K: Director and author Samuel Benchetrit brings much of his autobiographical book Asphalt Chronicles to the screen as Asphalt, a series of interconnected vignettes set in a public housing complex on the outskirts of Paris. With a focus on six characters, we meet the terminally depressed Sternkowitz (Belgian comic-filmmaker Gustave Kervern), who in the opening scenes finds himself partially handicapped after what can best be described as an “exercise bike overdose.” Upstairs from him lives Charly (Jules Benchetrit), a teenage boy with permanently absent parents who befriends his new next door neighbor, the actress Jeanne Meyer (Huppert – basically playing herself). And finally there’s Madame Hamida (Tassadit Mandi), an Algerian immigrant whose son is in prison, and who finds her humdrum home life upended when an American astronaut (Pitt) suddenly knocks at her door.

depressed Sternkowitz

F: We went to watch this movie at Cinema Ideal in Lisbon, the oldest cinema in Lisbon. It has 110 years of existence. This cinema tries to preserve that "Barrio movie theater" feeling with its foyer, balcony and audience area. If you're traveling around Lisbon make sure you check it at: We arrived some minutes late for the screening of this movie, and when we sat down, the depressed character, Sternkowitz, was with his hand up, explaining to this large group of neighbors why he was refusing to pay for the new elevator on his building, he was the only one refusing this change and for that he got forbidden on using it. The comedy here and the looks of Sternkowitz just got my attention immediately.

K: Oh yeah, this film is amazing and indeed reminds me of Jarmusch's style, with his slow and at the same time deeply emotional films, plus there's the easily recognizable French style with its absurdity. Actually, this is my favorite combination by now. Watching this movie in the oldest cinema in Lisbon made it even more special. You get to join this neighborhood, these people living their own lives while trying to share their feelings. The message of this film to me is about the scary loneliness that exists nowadays and the importance of being needed by someone else to fulfill, inspire and warm you up inside.

stoner dudes

F: The characters in this movie are really interesting and the story is told in a way that you will soon feel like you are also a resident in that building. I think everything was going great until the scene where the astronaut phones NASA. That took away a bit of the realism in the movie, because it was a very silly phone call, and the acting of Michael Pitt seemed a bit odd also. Nevertheless, I enjoyed everything in the movie, and found some scenes brilliant, like, for example: the mysterious sound that everyone hears and which everyone has a theory about, the apathy of the stoner dudes, Sternkowitz and the nurse photo session, the title of Jeanne Meyer movie... there's so many things I like in this movie.

K: I also love everything about this film; the cast, the photography, the dialogues. You still have a chance to go watch this one at Cinema Ideal. It's on until the 17th of August. 

If you know French, watch the interview with Samuel Benchetrit below:

Krasnaya's Scores : 90/100
Freddy's Score: 86/100

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