Wild Diamond

Wild Diamond
Original title:Diamant brut
Director:Agathe Riedinger
Running time:103 minutes
Release date:Not communicated
Liane, 19 ans, téméraire et incandescente, vit avec sa mère et sa petite sœur sous le soleil poussiéreux de Fréjus. Obsédée par la beauté et le besoin de devenir quelqu’un, elle voit en la télé-réalité la possibilité d’être aimée. Le destin semble enfin lui sourire lorsqu’elle passe un casting pour Miracle Island.

Mulder's Review

Wild Diamond, directed by Agathe Riedinger, is a gripping debut feature that delves into the life of Liane, a 19-year-old from Fréjus in the south of France. The film explores the intersection between social media obsession, reality TV dreams and the harsh realities of socio-economic hardship. The story follows Liane, played with raw intensity by Malou Khebizi, as she navigates her tumultuous life and attempts to escape her dire circumstances by becoming a social media influencer and reality TV star.

Liane's life is a stark contrast between her glamorous online persona and her dark reality. She lives with her mother and younger sister in a run-down apartment, and resorts to shoplifting and selling stolen goods to finance her beauty treatments. These improvements are part of her strategy to become a reality TV star, as she believes her looks and online popularity will lift her out of poverty. This portrait of Liane highlights the superficial values imposed by modern society and the desperation that drives her to extreme measures.

Agathe Riedinger's direction is both empathetic and implacable. She avoids moralizing Liane's choices, presenting them instead as the product of her environment and societal pressures. The film's aesthetic choices, such as the use of 4:3 format, underline Liane's confined world and the pressures that surround her. Cinematographer Noé Bach's pared-down style reflects the raw, unpolished reality of Liane's life, while the frequent close-ups of her heavily made-up face reveal the layers of artifice she maintains.

Liane's character is complex and multi-faceted. On the one hand, she is a victim of circumstance, having been abandoned by her mother in a foster home. On the other, she's a driven young woman with a clear vision of what she wants, even if that vision is shaped by the superficiality of social media culture. Malou Khebizi’s performance captures this duality, showing Liane's vulnerability and determination in equal measure. Her performance makes Liane's journey both understandable and heartbreaking, as she grapples with her identity and the pressure of her ambitions.

Secondary characters, such as Dino, an old friend from the foster system who genuinely cares about Liane, and her mother Sabine, add depth to the story. Dino represents a potential escape from her superficial pursuits, offering a glimpse of genuine affection and stability. However, Liane's fixation on fame and social media validation blinds her to these more meaningful connections. This dynamic adds a layer of tragedy to her story, as it becomes clear that her pursuit of superficial success is leading her away from real human relationships.

Wild Diamond is also a commentary on the toxic culture of social media and the illusion of celebrity. The film criticizes the way social media platforms exploit young people's desire for validation, and how this quest for online fame can lead to destructive behavior. Liane's journey is a warning against the dangers of confusing self-esteem with online popularity. The description of her followers' comments, which oscillate between adoration and vitriol, underscores the precarious nature of social media celebrity and the emotional toll it takes on individuals like Liane.

Agathe Riedinger's script deftly balances the personal with the universal, making Liane's story a broader ommentary on contemporary issues of gender, beauty standards and economic disparity. The film not only focuses on Liane's personal struggles, but also critiques the societal forces that shape her reality. This makes Wild Diamond a relevant and thought-provoking film that resonates beyond its immediate narrative.

Wild Diamond is a powerful and poignant exploration of a young woman's struggle to find her identity and escape her harsh reality through the lens of social media and reality TV. Agathe Riedinger's debut film is a compelling character study that takes a critical look at the superficial values of modern society and the despair they engender. With an outstanding performance by Malou Khebizi, the film is both a heartbreaking personal journey and a broader social commentary, making it an important and timely piece of cinema.

Wild Diamond
Written and directed by Agathe Riedinger
Produced by Priscilla Bertin, Judith Nora 
Starring Malou Khebizi, Andréa Bescond, Idir Azougli, Ashley Romano, Alexis Manenti, Kilia Fernane, Léa Gorla, Alexandra Noisier, Antonia Buresi , Guillaume Verdier, Jean-Jacques Rouvière
Music by Audrey Ismael
Cinematography : Noé Bach
Edited by Lila Desiles 
Production companies: Silex Films, France 2 Cinéma, Germaine Films 
Distributed by Pyramide Distribution (France)
Release date : October 9, 2024 (France)
Running time : 103 minutes

Seen May 26, 2024 at Gaumont Opéra Premier, Room 1

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