“The Kingdom”, a touching road movie of a father and a daughter in the twists and turns of clan war in Corsica

Presented in the Un Certain Regard competition, the first feature film by Corsican director Julien Colonna moved spectators at the Croisette to tears. Both violent and sensitive, “The Kingdom” impresses with the accuracy of its staging and the interpretation of its non-professional actors.

France Télévisions – Culture Editorial



Reading time: 4 min

Ghjuvanna Benedetti and Saveriu Santucci in "The kingdom" by Julien Colonna.  (CHI-FOU-MI PRODUCTIONS)

“We have never seen Corsica like this!” comment two spectators at the end of the screening, on Monday May 20, of Kingdom. And for good reason ! Far from postcard images, Julien Colonna tells in his first film a story where the settling of scores punctuates the journey of the protagonists. But much more than a chronicle of clan war, the director films with sensitivity the relationship of a father and a daughter who will learn to know each other.

Co-written with director Jeanne Herry (Pupil, I will always see your faces), The kingdom enchanted the audience at the Cannes Film Festival and could win the votes of the competition jury.

“We don’t ask a kid’s opinion. It’s already complicated enough as it is.”, says his aunt to young Lesia (magnificent Ghjuvanna Benedetti). Aged 15, the teenager who only thinks about enjoying the beach is suddenly picked up by a biker who takes her to a large villa hidden in the bush. There she finds her father, Pierre-Paul (charismatic Saveriu Santucci), a figure in the community surrounded by his men. Men she knows well, who cuddle her and only want to preserve her.

Very quickly, she will discover that her father is the target of an enemy network. And that his removal is nothing other than a protective measure. Because death lurks without qualms on the island and you constantly have to flee and hide to save your skin. “It’s a war for power and money. We’re always afraid,” confides Pierre-Paul to his daughter.

If the scenario unfolds like an action film, the charm of Kingdom lies above all in the complicity and intimacy which gradually gains the father-daughter duo. Julien Colonna elegantly films the silences, the looks and the bodies that pass through the road movie. It is during a starry night prompting confidence that the father reveals his secret to his daughter. “This shared moment is our kingdom”, he said to him.

It was in his native Corsica that Julien Colonna wanted to tell this story of gangsters and filiation. We are in 1995, the island of beauty is prey to terrorism, plagued by nationalism and clandestine shootings. An ancestral story that resonates strangely in the director’s memory. “I was 10 years old, I was with my father and his friends in a makeshift camp by the sea, with nothing and no one around. We fished, we slept under the stars, it was wild life. I I learned years later that this moment had been a completely different issue for him. With this memory in mind, the idea for the film emerged.“, he confides.

But far from building an autobiographical and authentic story, Julien Colonna wanted to write a pure cinema fiction. “Neither I nor anyone else can claim to have experienced this story as we describe it in The kingdom. It’s a screenwriter’s work that we did with Jeanne Herry, my co-author, not a work of memory.” he emphasizes.

By placing the young girl at the center of the story, Julien Colonna films these fratricidal wars from a child’s perspective, and manages to lighten the subject. In turn, this youthful face, filmed in extreme close-up, goes from innocence to hardness. Bright and stubborn, cold-bloodedly cutting up a wild boar under the Corsican sun or fishing in the clear waters of a torrent, Lesia gradually falls into adulthood and the roles become diluted.

“As Pasolini said: ‘History is the passion of sons to understand their father.’ That’s probably what Lesia is trying to do throughout the film.”

Julian Colonna

Director of the film “The Kingdom”

Initiatory story, heritage, family values, there is all of Corsica in The kingdom. The gentleness of faces and language, beliefs and revenge, the complexity of a territory and powerful characters that you take with you when you leave the room.

The young actress Ghjuvanna Benedetti plays Lesia in

Gender : Drama

Director: Julian Colonna

Scenario : Julien Colonna, Jeann Herry

With : With Ghjuvanna Benedetti, Anthony Morganti, Thomas Bronzini of Caraffa

Country : France

Duration : 1h48

Release date : October 30, 2024

Synopsis : Corsica, 1995. Lesia is experiencing her first summer as a teenager. One day, a man breaks in and takes her on a motorbike to an isolated villa where she finds her father, in hiding, surrounded by his men. A war breaks out in the community and the noose tightens around the clan. Death strikes. Then begins a chase during which father and daughter will learn to look at each other, to understand each other and to love each other.

source site-33