"Camille", this is quite a brief title. Given its announcing a story featuring a person that existed, one could have expected it to be twice as long, in other words it would not have been surprising if it had displayed its heroine's full patronymic name, "Camille Lepage". But the project of Boris Lojkine in what is his second fiction film (the first, "Hope", is already a classic in its genre) does not consist in erecting a statue to his main protagonist. What the author-director actually wants does not consist in replicating devotedly everything the young photographer-reporter said and did. He in no way wishes to make her a figure of worship; on the contrary Lojkine aims to approach her as a human being, in all her singularity and complexity, with all of her shadows and lights. Hence the use of the mere first name, which suggests intimacy and inner charcter, while the full name would rather have implied an external, hagiographic treatment. No oily portrayal in "Camille" then, which does not prevent the film from being a detailed account of her life, or more precisely of the last months in her twenty-six years on earth. But more than just relating facts, it is also Camille Lepage's psyche that Boris Lojkine has undertaken to explore. Throughout the film questions arise to which it will not necessarily provide answers: why was photographer Camille Lepage first attracted to war zones? Why did she feel better there than in her own country (France)? Why did young Central Africans become closer to her than her own family? Why did she renounce neutrality and move to the camp of the anti-falaka, a vengeful Christian militia, whose reprisal operations were as violent as those committed by the Muslim radicals ? And to the point of getting killed by their side? So much so that when the end credits roll Camille Lepage will have kept her mystery. But will have taken flesh (and soul) as a complex and authentic human being. In her role, Nina Meurisse is more than just perfect: she IS the young idealistic reporter, from head to toe. The film's other main point of interest is its documentary historical and geopolitical aspect. Watching "Camille" is like being part of the Civil War in 2013-2014. The facts both accurate and clearly stated. Furthermore, not only does the director know the situation like the back of his hand but, unabashed by the difficulties and the dangers, it is on the spot that Lojkine reconstructs it and with actors and actresses who have taken part in it, which is not so common. Speaking of actors, it is worth noting how convincing they are, whether they are European or Central African. As far as the latter are concerned, the quality of their acting bears witness to Boris Lojkine's talents as an actor director. And let us not forget some very interesting considerations about the job of war reporter, about what they have the moral right to show or not to show, about the risks they take, about how they can be treated by the protagonists of a conflict. "Camille" says a lot of relevant things, but without heaviness or schematism, always subordinating thought to action, ideas to psychology. Avoiding any facility, Boris Lojkine will have captivated the spectator from beginning to end with this story which not only rings true but is true. Recommended.
Biography / Drama
Biography / Drama
The story of Camille Lepage, a French photojournalist who was killed at age 26 in the Central African Republic.
January 28, 2021