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THE GLANCE OF… Sébastien Lifschitz

Plein sud
Wild Side
Presque rien


Roberto Enríquez
Writer and Journalist

Sébastien Lifshitz : Alien places, own bodies

With 3D movies in full swing for the masses with oversized spaces and stages that only gives the chance to consume but not participate in movies, I want to claim the work of Sébastien Lifshitz, where the settings are always alien; no cities, traffic, countryside, or anything else that can be done with cardboard. His settings are almost ethereal, provisional, with no references whatsoever. Lights marks the dimensions and the bodies are the foundation of desire, sloppy kisses, the almost broken promise, and everything is going from bad to worse. Bodies that have survived difficult childhoods, and carry extra weight – penis, foetus, fake boobs, and even a gun of a suicidal person without talent for crime – and show scars as geographical features, as a sign of a useless beauty in the maps but baffling when found.

Lifshitz makes wholesome movies is the least common sense. He shows his memories wounds and avoids the temptation to cure them with those happy endings that always seem fake. Lifshitz directs movies that tell stories through looks, silent rubbings, sex, flesh, and most of all, he is capable of making them the starting point. This is another wonder of a work that contradicts space and time. Each story, each final still of his movies marks the start of all the other ones, ones that we won’t see, that won’t be filmed, but we will know of them in our own flesh.




Plein sud (2009)
Wild Side (2004)
La Traversée (2001)
Presque rien (2000)
Les terres froides(1999)
Les corps ouverts (1997)
Claire Denis la vagabonde (1996)
Il faut que je l'aime (1994)




Plein Sud

Directed by: Sébastien Lifshitz
Interpreted by: Yannick Renier, Léa Seydoux, Nicole García, Théo Frilet, Pierre Perrier
Feature Film, France, 2009

Première in Spain

Plein Sud portraits with a fresh and intense look, full of contrasts, four characters in road trip, where they will have to face their own contradictions, fears and secrets.

During the summer, Sam drives his old Ford to the south. A few minutes into the film three teenagers jump in, two runaway siblings and the third one, a lost soul. The four characters will have to learn to know each other, face their desires and grow up. The youngsters live and almost stand each other, while Sam keeps a secret, an old wound that shutters him from the rest and from himself, and forcing him to reach his goal: to find his lost mother, from whom he was separated during infancy.

A tragic and sensual Road Trip movie that speaks about abandonment, personal roots and guilt. A movie full of contrasts, sunlight, desire and summer peace, the darkness of revenge and the guilt.


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Wild side

Directed by: Sébastien Lifshitz
Interpreted by: Stéphanie Michelini, Yasmine Belmadi, Edouard Nikitine
Feature Film, France, 2004

Teddy Jury Award at the Berlin Film Festival 2004
Première in Barcelona

Wild Side is a movie with strong ties to music from its title, a tribute to a Lou Reed’s song, its first still, and a memorable scene of Anthony singing “I fell in love with a dead boy” in a transgender’s night club. The soundtrack was written by the extravagant British musician. Wild Side was also one of the gay themed films awarded by its “beauty with no regrets, the honesty of its story, and for the loving portrait of its characters”.

Sylvie is a transgender who works as a prostitute, lives happily but deep down is sad and uneasy with her life. She is in love with two men, Djamel, a North African man who sells himself to men and women in the public restrooms of a bus station, and Mikhail, a legal Russian immigrant, who is a wreck from the Chechnya war. All three live and sleep together; all three have reached a happy balance with their lives, full of past traumas. Sylvie’s mother sickness will put in motion their lives, where drama will make them closed and finally show them from who they really are.

An exceptional movie, where the director offers a deep insight of three archetype and apparently foreseeable characters, three outcasts who live on the edge, but their relationship gives sense to their life.


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Presque rien

Directed by: Sébastien Lifshitz
Interpreted by: Jérémie Elkaïm, Stéphane Rideau, Dominique Reymond
Feature FIlm, France, 2000

Presque Rien is a movie about feelings, the first love and the discovery of sex. A story divided in three parts in the life of Mathieu, one of the characters. One is the moment in summer time when they meet, the conflict time is the second part, and the third and last one, the return where everything started once the love is gone.

Mathieu and Cédric are two young men attracted to each other, and they give in to desire. After the summer affair, they try to build a lasting relationship.

The solitude, loss, sexual identity, conflict, and family are a constant in Lifshitz’s work, as well as the flesh, sensuality and youth. In rare occasions, homosexuality has been portrayed so raw in its awakening but with no intentions to create conflict. The fixation of the camera onto the young bodies, the narcissism of the characters, and the apparent lightness of the stories are compatible with the depth of his work.


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