Movies - Salem : A spellbinding dive into the soul of Marseille, in cinemas in France on May 29

By Mulder, 07 may 2024

On May 29, French screens will light up with the release of Salem, the latest film from director Jean-Bernard Marlin, already famous for his award-winning work Shéhérazade. Produced by Unité and Vatos Locos Productions, Salem promises a deep immersion in the intercultural tensions and personal dramas rooted in Marseille's northern neighborhoods.

Salem stands out not only for its captivating story but also for its exceptional cast, led by young talents Dalil Abdourahim and Maryssa Bakoum. The film, which follows the story of Djibril, a young Comorian from the Sauterelles neighborhood, and Camilla, a gypsy from the rival Grillons neighborhood, explores themes of forbidden love, tragedy and the desperate quest for peace in an environment marked by conflict and superstition. The plot ignites when Camilla announces her pregnancy to Djibril, triggering a series of tragic events that send Djibril into a spiral of madness. Convinced of a curse on his neighborhood, he sees in his newborn daughter the only chance of redemption and salvation for his community.

The tragic dimension of Salem, inspired by the works of Shakespeare, is magnified by a mise-en-scène that alternates raw realism and fantastical elements, creating a captivating visual and thematic hybridization. Drawing on his own experiences and those of his father, director Jean-Bernard Marlin weaves a narrative where mysticism and realism meet to question perceptions of reality.

The film, shot in emblematic Marseille locations such as the Bassens and Félix-Pyat housing estates, offers an authentic and sometimes raw look at life in these difficult neighborhoods, while introducing elements of nature reclaiming its rights on urban wastelands.

The soundtrack, composed by Krister Linder, is designed to be an extension of Djibril's tumultuous inner world, adding an extra layer of sensory immersion for the viewer. The specially designed music and sound effects reflect Djibril's auditory hallucinations, blurring the lines between his inner demons and the outer chaos.

Distributed in France by AD Vitam and screened internationally by Goodfellas, Salem is set to capture the public imagination with its imminent release. Prepare to be transported to a world where human drama meets fantasy, where every scene promises to stay with you long after the credits roll.

Djibril is a young Comorian from Les Sauterelles, a tough neighborhood in Marseille. He's in love with Camilla, a gypsy from the rival Grillons neighborhood. When she tells him she's pregnant, Djibril asks her to have an abortion so as not to start a clan war. But the murder of one of Djibril's friends, right in front of his eyes, sets the two estates ablaze. Traumatized, Djibril gradually descends into madness. He is convinced that a curse has befallen the neighborhood and decides to keep his child at all costs: for him, only his daughter can save them from chaos.

Written and directed by Jean-Bernard Marlin
Produced by Bruno Nahon, Marine Bergère, Romain Daubeach, Thomas Morvan, Jean-Bernard Marlin
Starring Dalil Abdourahim, Oumar Moindjie, Wallen El Gharbaoui, Mohamed Soumare, Rachid Ousseni, Maryssa Bakoum, Inès Bouzid, Amal Issihaka Hali
Music by Krister Linder
Cinematography : Jonathan Ricquebourg
Edited by Nicolas Desmaison
Production companies: Goodfellas, UNITÉ, Vatos Locos, France 2 Cinéma 
Distributed by Ad Vitam (France)
Release date : May 29, 2024 (France)
Running time : 103 minutes

Photos : Copyright 2023 - UNITÉ - VATOS LOCOS - FRANCE 2 CINÉMA