De rouille et d'os



Ali suddenly finds himself in charge of Sam, his 5 year-old son whom he barely knows. Penniless and without friends, he leaves the North of France to seek shelter at his sister’s in Antibes. Even though she and her husband do not have much money, they make room for them in their garage and take care of Sam. Ali finds work as a bouncer at a local nightclub. After diffusing a fight one evening, he meets Stephanie, a beautiful, self-confident woman. He takes her home and leaves her his number. But she is a princess and he is a poor fellow. Stephanie is a killer whale trainer at the local “Marineland”. After a terrible accident one day, Ali gets an unexpected phone call from Stephanie. When he sees her again she is crammed into a wheelchair. She has lost both her legs and her dreams. Ali will share genuine moments with her, without pity, and help her to live again.

Director's Statement

There is something gripping about Craig Davidson’s short story collection “Rust and Bone”, a depiction of a dodgy, modern world in which individual lives and simple destinies are blown out of all proportion by drama and accident. They offer a vision of the United States as a rational universe in which the individual needs to fight to find its place and to escape what fate has in store for it. Ali and Stephanie, our two characters, do not appear in the short stories, and Craig Davidson’s collection already seems to belong to the pre-history of the project, but the power and brutality of the tale, our desire to use drama, indeed melodrama, to magnify their characters, all have their immediate source in those stories. From the very beginning of our adaptation work, we were focused on a kind of cinematography that, for want of a better word, we called ‘expressionist”. We wanted the power of stark, brutal and contrasting images in order to further the melodrama: the aesthetics of the Great Depression, of county-fair films whose bizarre visual work sublimates the dark reality of a world in which God “vomits the lukewarm”. It is that kind of aesthetic that constantly guided us as we worked on the screenplay. It sustains a love story that is the true hero of the film. It shows the world through the eyes of a confused child. It underscores the nobleness of our characters in a world made violent by economic disaster. And it respects Ali and Stephanie’s stubborn attempts to escape their condition.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Jacques Audiard

Written by: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain

Produced by: Grégoire Sorlat, Pascal Caucheteux

Cinematography: Stéphane Fontaine

Editing: Juliette Welfling

Production Design: Michel Bathélémy

Original Score: Alexandre Desplat

Cast: Bouli Lanners (Martial), Céline Sallette (Louise), Corinne Masiero (Anna), Marion Cotillard (Stéphanie), Matthias Schoenaerts (Ali)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 2012