Passed by Locarno, L’Étrange Festival or Gérardmer, “The Sadness” is released this Wednesday, July 6 in our theaters. And its reputation as a gore film is not usurped, so much so that it is hit with a heavy ban.
WHAT DOES IT TALK ABOUT ?
After a year of battling a pandemic with relatively mild symptoms, a frustrated nation is finally letting its guard down. That’s when the virus spontaneously mutates, giving rise to a mind-altering plague. The streets are unleashed in violence and depravity, with those infected being driven into the most cruel and horrific acts they could ever imagine…
This Taiwanese feature film is the first written and directed by Robert Jabbaz, a Canadian director who had previously signed four short films between 2013 and 2020. Including Great Daena: Act One, his baptism of fire, on which he also officiated as chief operator , voice actor and animator.
WHAT BAN IN THEATERS?
The Sadness is prohibited for under 16s with warning. Like I met the devil, Irreversible, Saw 4, Pleasure or Martyrs, which had even come close to being banned for those under 18. The feature film by Robert Jabbaz therefore receives a rare classification in France. But totally justified. Because if it is common to say that it is necessary to be solid on its supports in front of a horror film, that is really not exaggerated in the case of this one.
And it starts very strong, with a death that is likely to make you jump in your seat at the same time as making you crave any fried dish. “I hope you have a good heart, because it’s a real butchery inside”, they said to Commissioner Bialès (Gérard Darmon) in The City of Fear. And that also goes for The Sadness. Less puns, more hectoliters of blood.
Showing how the darkest aspects of the human soul are exacerbated by this virus, the feature film goes very far. Almost too much, like during this scene involving a gouged out eye, which should cause quite a few stomach upsets. While remaining mainly in the suggestion.
It must be recognized that Robert Jabbaz generally manages to avoid complacency into which it would have been easy to fall. And who would come to attenuate the scope of what the director and screenwriter seeks to tell with this story of a virus that many do not initially consider “no more dangerous than the flu”before changing their minds if they still can and have not been infected themselves.
Any resemblance to remarks heard at the start of another pandemic, more recent and true, is obviously no coincidence. No more than the fact that scenes of contamination taking place in public transport or in the hospital necessarily speak to us the most. Without abusing too big parallels, the film talks about us and our behavior in times of crisis. With a lot of blood and shock, so he would also have deserved to be called “The Madness” (“La Folie”).