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After spending 40 years drunk and high, 53-year-old Michel (François Créton) has been clean for nearly six months. Sobriety brings harsh realizations about a life wrecked by substance abuse: the mother of his infant son has left him, his eighteen-year-old son Léo (played by Roméo Créton, real-life son of François) from a previous relationship starts avoiding him, his dying father (iconic actor Richard Bohringer, Diva - SFFF 2010) resents him, and his job search is getting nowhere.
It seems this former junkie and forever punk will never live down the word “LOSER” stitched on the back of his leather jacket. Yet the beauty of filmmaker Maxime Roy’s stirring feature debut resides in the way it dispels this notion of losers and winners without pulling any punches about the difficulties of life on the fringes. Michel struggles not to repeat the same mistakes, while trying to be a good guy.
The extraordinary performance by lead actor and co-screenwriter François Créton, whose own struggles with addiction inspired the character of Michel, doesn’t leave us any choice but to love him. Rather than build false suspense about a relapse, Maxime Roy takes a documentary approach to his lead character’s efforts, creating an exquisite portrait of a vulnerable but luminous human being. Bonus: Michel’s delightfully inventive use of slang is the best example French film has given us in recent years of French as a living, evolving language.
This year, the 15th Winter Shorts Fest featured a short film by Maxime Roy: Decent People. In 2020, at the 13th Winter Shorts Fest, we presented another of Maxime Roy’s short films, Beautiful Loser. This short film was developed into the feature length The Heroics.
BONUS CONTENT below: Transatlantic Zoom Discussion with Maxime Roy recorded live in June 2022.
This film is part of Young French Cinema, a program of Unifrance and Villa Albertine.
Maxime Roy delivers an intense and very realistic feature debut full of humanity, about the deep troubles of a man and his slim hopes for redemption. Fabien Lemercier - Cineuropa
Family can destroy, but it can also help heal, and The Heroics shows the duality of this concept from a place of authentic understanding. Ricardo Gallegos - La Estatuilla (Spain)
Not Rated (drug use, language).
Original Title: Les Héroïques
François Créton, Roméo Créton, Richard Bohringer, Ariane Ascaride, Patrick d'Assumçao, Clotilde Courau, Clara Ponsot