Etienne, an often out of work but endearing actor, runs a theater workshop in a prison, where he brings together an unlikely troupe of prisoners to stage Samuel Beckett’s famous play Waiting for Godot. When he is allowed to take the colorful band of convicts on a tour outside of prison, Etienne finally has the chance to thrive.
Each date is a new success and a unique relationship grows between this ad hoc group of actors and their director. But soon comes the final performance in Paris. Will their last night together be the biggest hit of them all?

Director's Statement

I didn’t want my wish for an authentic film about prison to abide by an aesthetic of a pseudo-documentary with a handheld camera or a messy environment and subdued lights. I wanted to create a dynamic camera, staying light and fluid, which can focus on inmates faces and Etienne’s. It should be attentive, waiting for moments of surprises and revelations in the narrow spaces of rehearsals. Theatre scenes answer to the closed universe of prison, they give an escape, an urban and rural perspective, they are likely to share with us the vertigo experienced outside by the prisoners. This vertigo is also present in Beckett's work, it shows us the absurdity of existence, expressed all the more strongly in the prison universe, as I felt it when I visited. It is indeed this Beckettian experience that I wish to share with the greatest number in this fully assumed, social and societal, serious and joyful comedy. I want for it to question us without didacticism on the necessity of confinement and the liberating power of culture.

Director's Biography

Emmanuel Courcol graduated the l'École Nationale des Arts et Techniques du Théâtre in 1984 as a trained actor. It is through his work as a performer that Emmanuel Courcol acquired a deeper knowledge of scriptwriting, dialogues and building a character. He acted in about 30 plays and as many movies but gradually moved to writing, working with Philippe Lioret on four screenplays. He also worked with François Favrat, Kamen Kalev et Edouard Bergeon. After CEASEFIRE, released in 2017, starring Romain Duris, Céline Sallette and Grégory Gadebois, THE BIG HIT starring Kad Merad is his second feature film, produced by Marc Bordure and Robert Guédiguian for Agat Films.

2019 IN THE NAME OF THE LAND (writer)
2015 FACE DOWN (writer)
2015 BOOMERANG (writer)
2011 ALL OUR DESIRES (writer)
2009 WELCOME (writer)
2004 THE LIGHT (writer)
2001 MADEMOISELLE (writer)

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Emmanuel Courcol

Written by: Emmanuel Courcol, Thierry de Carbonnières

Produced by: Marc Bordure, Robert Guediguian

Cinematography: Yann Maritaud

Editing: Guerric Catala

Production Design: Rafael Mathé

Costume Design: Christel Birot

Make-Up & Hair: Charlotte Lequeux

Original Score: Fred Avril

Sound: Fred Avril

Casting: Emmanuelle Prévost

Cast: Kad Merad (Etienne), Marina Hands (Ariane), David Ayala (Patrick), Lamine Cissokho (Alex), Sofian Khammes (Kamel), Pierre Lottin (Dylan), Wabinlé Nabié (Moussa), Alexandre Medvedev (Boïko), Saïd Benchnafa (Nabil), Laurent Stocker (Stéphane)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Comedy 2020
  • Feature Film Selection 2020