#02 French Selection

Tënk Short Film Award 2021

Un mal sous son bras

Marie Ward

2021France16 mn

At night, a group of men gather on the stadium of an elite school they once attended. Some of them are the  big winners in this new society. Colonists on their own land, they look away so as not to see the gangrene that is growing there.


The swollen carcass of a cow floats in the sea near the chic neighbourhoods of Beirut. Under the influence of a mysterious spell, men interrupt their training session to meet in the woods. A hail storm shatters the city’s glass façades – you might mistakenly think that it is the explosion of 4th August 2020 as the images and violence of the blast are so similar. What curse, what punishment, what supernatural anger have fallen on Lebanon? The evil is perhaps in truth a godsend. Marie Ward invents the enigmatic thread of a tale to evoke the history of the coast and the way in which French colonialism has distorted Lebanese culture and traditions. A broad-brush evocation of course. Because, while this film, like the installation it was part of, is based on rigorous research into the late 19th-century virile naval parades and the construction of power loci that imposed French dominance by radically changing pre-existing social ties, it also takes the opportunity to turn these power relations on their head, liberate a deeply repressed imaginary, bring to light ordinary desires smothered by the latent violence of normality. Closely following the winding coastal roads; moving up to the highland before a precipitous descent, Un mal sous son bras finds the straight path once again, skilfully and with great finesse: the path that short-circuits shame and takes us back to the most ancient images. 

Antoine Thirion

  • Graduated from the Paris School of Decorative Arts in September 2020. Works with the image and volume.
    Recent years have been driven by the desire to understand the mechanisms through which a country or a community ends up dominating another. What are the consequences? How are identities born and transformed in these relationships of domination?
    Although history is not to be looked at from on high, we often enter there through the large collective gate. Yet, little intrigues are sometimes more telling than the paintings of the great legend. Then we have to rummage around, dissect, place the characters in their sentient environment, record simple gestures…

Editing, production : Marie Ward
Cinematography : Sacha Lévêque, Louise Fauroux, Marie Ward
Sound : Victoria Assas, Vincent Domenet
Original music : Victoria Assas
Press Kit

You might also be interested in

Random Patrol

Yohan Guignard
2020France30 mn

Un monde flottant

Jean-Claude Rousseau
2020France56 mn

Ivre de soule

Skander Mestiri
2021France29 mn