Breaking News


Macadam Stories 2015

Macadam Stories | Asphalte

Macadam Stories-Asphalte

As film industry reviewers, we say Macadam Stories is one of our favorites. If Macadam Stories is one of YOUR favorite movies, and to recommend it to other film lovers, please VOTE!

Macadam Stories is favorite or unfavorite?

Improbable encounters bring tenderness, laughter, and compassion to a world of urban alienation.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this feature film!

About the Macadam Stories 💬

A building in a housing project in Paris. One broken-down elevator. Three encounters between six characters.


In the strange beauty of a cold urban landscape, a stingy old man in a wheelchair goes on a moonlight escapade to meet a lonely night nurse. A troubled actress in decline sparks the fascination of a latchkey teen. And an American astronaut jettisoned from space onto a high-rise rooftop is taken in by a doting mother who speaks no English.

Will Sternkowitz make it out of his wheelchair to pursue the love of a night nurse?

Will latchkey teen Charly succeed in getting 80's actress Jeanne Meyer a role?

And what will become of astronaut John McKenzie, who fell to earth and was taken in by Mrs. Hamida?

The extraordinary encounters that can be found within ordinary moments drive this darkly humorous story by director Samuel Benchetrit, as the lonely existences of six solitary people give rise to surprising moments of compassion and intimacy.


MACADAM STORIES is my first film. Okay, so I've already made a few. But not like this one. Until now, they were like my personal film school. You gotta practice.

After that, it's like love - you keep loving more and more. Then, when you finally meet The One, you think about the others (melancholy) and remember the confidence they gave you. To be yourself. Be yourself, goddamn it. You gotta do it.

MACADAM STORIES hits close to home. Like never before. I know the context: it's where I come from. Obsession with a high-rise. Wherever I go, everything is too flat. Dreams in gray, (reinforced) concrete. Stairwells with missing stairs - so you climb four by four. Deserted, windblown (western) halls. And neon. Neon everywhere. Like bright new Christmas trees in a burnt-down forest.

I'm forty. What moves me:
- sun shining on a rain-drenched shore plunging into the Atlantic;
- a nocturnal urban zone lit by neon signs advertising superstore chains like Carrefour, Leroy Merlin, Castorama.
What am I made of?
My light?
I have to go back. Not just through literature. Gotta film a wall. Get close. To a crack. It's a fresco!

We are all artists at birth. And then they tell you no, you'd better forget it. I remember an appointment in junior high school with the career counselor:
- What do you want to do for a living?
- I really like the film, Ma'am.
- And how about auto repair? Do you like auto repair?

MACADAM STORIES is real. More than ever. It says what's real through of all its absurd and pathetic truths. Without irony. Without Pity. Without trying to depict a social reality. It happens here and now, simple as that. It doesn't say it was better before. It doesn't say it'll be better after. It's just a timeless story worth being lived. Being heard.

It's a story on a human scale. Men and women I knew. And who hasn't changed? Or very little. Because people don't deteriorate as fast as those badly-constructed buildings that they live in. That I used to live in.

It wasn't the most beautiful place. Nor the nicest. But it was so cinematographic. Like everything working-class. And full of tenderness. Like everything foreign, too.

That's what MACADAM STORIES is about. Telling the story of a foreigner. A stranger. One who shows up from far away or from next door. To a neighborhood people either have bad things to say about or nothing at all. A stranger among strangers. One who finds out the only way in the world you discover tenderness, love, and compassion, is when you're with a person you've stopped looking at - a person you've forgotten.

To talk about solitude, not necessarily violence. To talk about the projects through their electric light that beats like a heart on walls filled with screams. And through a silence that doesn't exist, because silence in those high-rise towers is silence with noise. To talk about exclusion with humor, because no one is funnier than those people I knew. And to remember my father, who used to tell me about humor in the ghettos.

Since these director's notes are to tell you about my intentions, here they are. To take a trip to that place. Because even if it's close, it's a long way to go. To try to unearth that hidden tenderness and let it bloom in characters who didn't believe in it (anymore). To go back, laugh and meet people.

Samuel Benchetrit


Q: What inspired you to make MACADAM STORIES?

Samuel Benchetrit: The film is a combination of two of my short stories from ''Asphalt Chronicles,'' which I wrote in 2005, to which I added the story of an actress who moves into public housing, into the same dilapidated building. With MACADAM STORIES, I wanted to tell a different kind of story about the projects, through characters you don't usually see when you take on that subject. And if I had to sum up the film, I'd say it's three stories of falling. How can you fall - from the sky or a wheelchair or a pedestal - and be lifted back up again? That's the question that runs through each moment of MACADAM STORIES. Because people in the projects can be expert ''lifters.'' Having spent my childhood there, I can definitely say I've never known solidarity as strong as I felt it in the projects. Even though as time goes by, it's like everywhere - solitude and isolation are becoming more and more prevalent.

Q: When exactly did this project take form?

Samuel Benchetrit: I wrote the screenplay four years ago, just after shooting J'ai toujours rêvé d'être un gangster. But I didn't try to get it financed right away because I'd already committed to directing Chez Gino. So it was only after that shoot that we started looking for money. My first two producers were convinced they could raise five million Euros on the basis of my name alone. And like I kept telling them they would, they obviously failed. So I shot Un voyage, which I produced on my own. And it was right after that equally painful and redemptive experience that I had the luck to meet three other producers: Julien Madon, Marie Savare and Ivan Taïeb. MACADAM STORIES owes a lot to those three people who believed in the project right from the start and who were always right there when we came up against obstacles.

Q: Early on, we sense another difference between MACADAM STORIES and your previous films: words fade away, leaving more space for silence.

Samuel Benchetrit: It's true, this is the least talky of my films so far. I wanted to highlight the invisible bond that grows between people, through silence and exchanging looks. My characters are real loners who, theoretically, have no reason to talk to other people. Whether it's Sternkowitz since his mother died, Mrs. Hamida since her son went to prison, or Jules, whose mother is on the permanent absentee list. Ditto for the people chance is going to throw their way: a nurse who is obviously a bit troubled, an astronaut who has been cut off from the world for weeks, and an actress in the throes of depression. The camera plays the role of the story's main narrator, and through various situations takes on perspectives that can be unusual, unobtrusive, or sarcastic. There is very little banter in the dialogue of MACADAM STORIES. It is full of silence and scenes shot in one long take. That's probably because, with experience, I'm able to express what I'm trying to say with less and fewer words.

Q: What was it like working with Director of Photography Pierre Aïm?

Samuel Benchetrit: I'd prepared for this film with another DP who had to turn us down when the shoot was rescheduled. Since he was on another film, Pierre stepped in just two weeks prior to our first shoot day. And I'd decided I wasn't going to give him any references. Primarily because this is our fourth film together, so we know each other really well. But also because I had a very simple and precise idea of what I wanted. Since I was going to be shooting on small sets, for example, I wanted to shoot in 1:33, because cinemascope would have been impossible to use in such small spaces. Actually, our limitations were a constant source of inspiration on this shoot.

Q: Playing with limitations takes on its full meaning in the scenes where we see the astronaut in his capsule. How did you manage to create so much realism with so little budget?

Samuel Benchetrit: I did a huge amount of preparation for those scenes, meeting an astronaut and working intensely with Alain Carsoux, who has always done the special effects for my movies. I was obsessed with one thing: not for a single moment could those scenes look cheap on screen. That requires a very elaborate and realistic form to offset the background.

Q: The unlikely encounter between an American astronaut and a woman of Arab origins allows you to express yourself politically.

Samuel Benchetrit: Wanting to talk about a building in the projects in a new and different way was the essential motivation behind my desire to make this film. Because when you mention the projects, the same words keep coming back: punishment, religion, confrontation... and nobody ever talks about love. And yet it's obvious to me that the lack of love is the cause of a lot of the suffering in those places.

Q: We can't put our finger on the precise period in which the action of MACADAM STORIES takes place. Why did you make that choice?

Samuel Benchetrit: The action could be taking place now or in the 1980s, which is the period ''Asphalt Chronicles' was set in. An obsolete Grundig brand TV, a Die Hard poster and a yellow walkman shares the screen with DVDs of contemporary movies. That mix was a voluntary choice of mine. When I go back today to the projects where I grew up in the 1980s, I don't feel a huge difference. Because the projects were really marked by those years. So it's only logical that MACADAM STORIES has that 80's patina.

Q: Did MACADAM STORIES change a lot in the editing room?

Samuel Benchetrit: No. The real danger there was overemphasizing the posed aspect. I actually did a lot of shots of Gustave thinking in his kitchen, of Isabelle sitting, exhausted on her couch, of Jules trying on his mother's coats, of Michael going into Mrs. Hamida's bedroom. But I cut them all out because I was always keeping in mind that I had to inform and not repeat or explain. Once you get what's going on in each character, it's useless to insist heavily upon that.had to inform and not repeat or explain. Once you get what's going on in each character, it's useless to insist heavily upon that.


Q: What was your first reaction when you read the script?

Isabelle Huppert: It was a very positive reaction. The screenplay stimulated my curiosity and made me want to talk to Samuel. I didn't give him an answer right away, because that's not how I'm used to working, but I immediately wanted to do it. The dialogue was fabulous, poetic, funny and fairly concise. Samuel is a writer. And not just for my part; there was something throughout the whole script that was shining through.

Jules Benchetrit: I loved the offbeat perspective that pervades each of the stories my father created. I was especially touched by the character of Mrs. Hamida. But I was also sensitive to the modern tone and diversity of characters brought together in that housing project. Samuel has an art for storytelling and creating twists. His screenplay has many surprises in store.

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi: It's a very well-written screenplay, written by a writer, which is what Samuel Benchetrit is first and foremost. We can tell it's been adapted from a novel. It began as literature, and it's a real pleasure for an actor to read dialogue that feels good to act as well being beautiful, which is rare. I also found it had a unique perspective, a world of its own, with a group of human beings in a housing project. I found its vision of those people to be intelligent, cruel, funny, poetic and tender, all at once. Third, I immediately felt close to my character, with her solitude, the need for love and simplicity.

Gustave Kervern: The feeling I was getting a huge chance thanks to Samuel. It's actually very rare to find a screenplay like MACADAM STORIES, which combines humor and depth, absurdity and reality, the original with the everyday. In sum, which brilliantly brings together heart and mind, and talks about the projects without getting sordid.

Tassadit Mandi: First of all, it cracked me up; and then as I turned the pages, I got wrapped up in Samuel's poetry and was extremely moved by the tenderness that imbues each of the plots that make up this film.

Q: How would you describe your character in a few words?

Isabelle Huppert: She's an actress who doesn't want to be one anymore. She's an actress, but she could easily be someone else. Someone who washes up in that place, who has broken away and cut off the ties to her old life. Because she's an actress, she's someone who has a visible and recognizable past and wants to forget that former life, for reasons that remain unexplained, for reasons that are personal to her.

Jules Benchetrit: As someone a bit offbeat. You can tell just from his look and the way he dresses. He's very sensitive as well, and that explains why we feel attached to him. Actually, Charly is a kid who is bored and waiting to grow up to get out of the projects. And that actress who moves into the apartment next door appears to him like a possibility, a window opening onto the future. Maybe he could even turn that into his profession later on? My father asked me to play the part like he was when he was young: a kid who's a little lost, whose mother's not around much, and who's hanging out waiting for something to happen. I tried to bring out his gentleness and his childish side, too.

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi: She's a nurse who works nights, so she has a tiring, difficult and lonely job. She has a certain naïveté and childlike quality that really touches me. She is humble and reserved - that's how I understood her.

Gustave Kervern: Sternkowitz is a mammoth on the verge of defrosting. Imprisoned in the ice of his anxiety and solitude, he is going to melt for another soul who is suffering.

Tassadit Mandi: Mrs. Hamida has a strong personality and vigorous character. She is a generous and gentle woman who just wants to share the best she has. As the plot develops, she sheds her loneliness and the weight of everyday life and becomes a veritable heroine through her humanity.

Q: What was it like for you to be directed in your first feature-length film by your own father?

Jules Benchetrit: It was great! As soon as he said he was offering me the role of Charly, I really wanted to do it. Even though in the beginning, I was afraid he'd be a little hard on me on the set. There can be a lot of trouble on a shoot with a director who also wrote the film. And I know first hand from having seen him shoot his other films that you'd better not give him a hard time on the set! But in this case, he was extremely gentle. He talked to me like a father talks to his son. Before each scene, his directions about the way I should behave on camera were as valuable as they were precise. One word kept coming out of his mouth over and over again: fluidity. He sometimes talked to me during takes, too. Before we started, I obviously had stage fright, but excitement and joy soon got rid of that. The shoot was really a beautiful experience and I've missed the atmosphere we had on the set since we wrapped. That only reinforces my desire to be an actor. But I'm taking my time, not to waste the enthusiasm.

Q: The film revolves around three duos. What did you like best about your collaboration with your main partner?

Jeanne Meyer and Charly

Isabelle Huppert: It's funny because we're hardly the same age, but right away we're a little bit like a couple. There's nothing maternal about what happens between the two, as we might expect at the beginning. They make quite an extraordinary couple. There's a sort of attraction between them. It's a very strange couple because his character has a certain authority over me. He doesn't really act like a child. Something happens between them that is really touching.

Jules Benchetrit: She helps you a lot when you're acting with her. That's an infinite source of inspiration because you never know how she's going to play the situation described in the script or what direction she's going to take. But once she is headed down a path, all you have to do is follow her. To make it happen, we rehearsed in her green room, just the two of us, until we got it down pat. She was truly awe-inspiring from the first day to the last.

The Nurse and Sternkowitz

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi: The fact that he's an actor who has doubts, who's not sure of himself and dares to open up and let all his fragility and uncertainty show. All that seems very familiar to me and makes me feel like we're all in the same boat.

Gustave Kervern: I was happy to work with Valéria. I felt right away that I had a beautiful and good person standing there in front of me And I had proof of that all throughout the shoot. Valéria is big-hearted and authentic. She moves me. Samuel couldn't have made a better choice for this film and the relationship that brings our characters together.

Mrs. Hamida and The Astronaut

Tassadit Mandi: We never met before the shoot. Samuel introduced us just five minutes before our first scene together. Right there, I found myself face-to-face with a young, blond angel-faced American who didn't speak French! Which wasn't a problem for me because I speak pretty good English. I was immediately taken in by Michael's phenomenal acting talent and modesty. What better could happen to Mrs. Hamida than to welcome The Little Prince into her desert of solitude? The result was an incredible bond between the two of us as well as between our characters.

Macadam Stories Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Samuel Benchetrit

Writing Credits

Samuel Benchetrit

Gábor Rassov


Isabelle Huppert

Gustave Kervern

Valeria Bruni Tedeschi

Jules Benchetrit

Tassadit Mandi

Michael Pitt

Mickaël Graehling

Larouci Didi

Abdelmajid 'Mickey' Barja

Thierry Gimenez

Music by

Raphaël Haroche

Cinematography by

Pierre Aïm

Genres: Drama, Comedy

Country: France

Macadam Stories Official Trailer

Our Choice

Favorite 🌟 Favourite

It's Your Turn!

✋ This content is prepared by All Favorite Movies (AFM).

📣 You can take part in a vote, leave a comment and share in your social media to spread the world your favorite movies!

No comments: