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Oh Mercy! 2019

Oh Mercy! | Roubaix, une lumière

Oh Mercy!-Roubaix, une lumiere

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A police chief in northern France tries to solve a case where an old woman was brutally murdered.

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About ''Oh Mercy!'' 💬

Christmas night in Roubaix. Police chief Yacoub Daoud (Roschdy Zem) roams the city. Burn out cars, violent altercations...

In the face of poverty, deception, and distress, Daoud knows who is lying and who is telling the truth. Fresh out of the police academy, Louis Cotterel (Antoine Reinartz) has recently joined Daoud's crew. Young, awkward and easily misled, he constantly misunderstands those he encounters.

Daoud and Louis are confronted with the murder of an old woman. The old woman's neighbors - two young women, Claude (Léa Seydoux) and Marie Carpentier (Sara Forestier) - are arrested. They are addicts, alcoholic, lovers... They terrify Louis. But Daoud never judges them. He speaks, he listens to them. With words, rising beyond the horror of their crime Daoud will find a way to give two murderers back their humanity.

A whodunit that centers around a murder investigation conducted by two officers (a rookie and a seasoned cop), OH MERCY was inspired by Mosco Boucault's influential 2008 documentary Roubaix, Central Station. OH MERCY is set in Roubaix, which is Depleschin's hometown-a worker's town with a very high rate of crime.


''Already a film buff as a child, from the playground on, I rejected society. But I think that cinema helped me come to terms with the world.'' Here I transpose imperfectly the voice of Serge Daney, heard on the radio. For a long time, this quote has been my vade mecum.

Nearly all my films have been romantic. Too much! It's this ''too much'' I desired.

Today I want a film that sticks to reality, in every way. That returns to raw material and which, through the art of the actor, can burn.

As the screenplay's prologue suggests, I didn't want to surrender anything to the imagination here, I didn't want to invent a thing, rather, I wanted to rework images seen on television ten years ago, that have haunted me ever since.

Why wasn't I able to forget these images? Because generally, I can only identify with the victims. I don't much like torturers. And for the first and only time in my life, in two criminals I discovered two sisters.

I wanted to consider the raw words of the victims and the culprits, as the purest poetry. I regarded it as sacred material, a text we will never exhaust.

As a spectator, I remain dizzy before the culpability and the childhoods of these two murderesses.

I thought of ''Crime and Punishment'' each day while transcribing and putting together this material. Raskolnikov's torments are those of the deprived.

Yes, more than we can say, pity lies at the heart of love.

As a director, I am now looking into how to film and direct - that's to say, how the actors will play such roles. I believe the position of the camera and the actor's performance can show the worst torments of the soul.

This is the power of incarnation specific to the cinema.

I think that fiction gains from being a possible mirror of reality.

What probably struck me the most while I was discovering the images that are at the origin of my film, were the faces of women. Culprits and victims. Old Lucette, the young rape victim, the girlfriend accompanying her, the young runaway and finally the two murderesses, who led me into a vortex of terror...

Thus, through life in this police station in Roubaix, we have a portrait, necessarily incomplete, of the feminine condition today.

Only one film guided me: Hitchcock's The Wrong Man. A news item returned to its brutality, its nakedness, and its enigma. The enigma of truth.
We know how Hitchcock pushed his obsession with realism as far as filming in the very places where the actual events took place, and using the real witnesses in their own roles.

Here, I daren't follow the same path as the master. My path is as follows: I trust, when the time comes, that I will be able to direct these words, and to film the actors who will make them theirs before giving them back to us. To render homage to the triviality, or the mystery, of these words. Thus, by means of the specific genius of cinema, to be able to make shimmer the grandeur of the fiction of shattered lives, in a devastated terrain. It is a humble project. Its ambition overwhelms me.
It is this ambition I want to embrace.

At the heart of the film lies the question of the inhuman. What is human, what is no longer human? Through the eyes of Inspector Daoud, all is profoundly human. Suffering, just as much as crime.

For Daoud, the job of the law is to render human what has first cast us into horror.
…Daoud asks Claude if her child is in a home. Yes, she replies. That's good, concludes Daoud. Because he believes in the law, in progress, in forgiveness. Perhaps the home will be able to save this child. It is this mad gamble of the law that Daoud embraces.
…The crime isn't shown. But the two murderesses will replay the scene, around an absence. They offer their testimony to Daoud, and by doing so, they return to humanity. Following in Daoud's path I want to offer a face to these two women and to recognize myself in them without judging them. For that there are judges, and I am not one... This is the vertiginous dive I chose to take while I was writing.

I reserved fiction for the portrayal of the cops.
I had to describe them in a bit of detail.
Two very different cops encounter each other and get on.
Louis, a clumsy young Catholic, lacking in grace. He is forever mistaken. And Daoud, with neither family ties or religion, who can recognize falsehood or truth at a glance. Because nothing is foreign to Daoud.
A stranger in his hometown, despised by his family, Daoud knows how to identify with everyone he encounters. He shares their humanity. How could he not understand them?
If I had to utilize fiction here, I nonetheless had no desire to weigh things down with romanticism. It seems to me that romanticism is everywhere on the small screen these days.

I wanted these policemen to be more iconic than romantic.
It seemed to me that their iconic presence, their silence, carried more truths than digressions.

What makes Bourvil keep going in Le Cercle Rouge? A statement by his superior: all men are guilty.
What makes François Perrier keep going in Le Samouraï? The sheer presence of the actor, his attention to gestures. It is to this laconicism and this attention that I wanted to dedicate myself.

Daoud is an eye, and an ear. He sees the world, and he accepts it.
Just as Serge Daney taught me.

Arnaud Desplechin

''Oh Mercy!'' Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Arnaud Desplechin

Writing Credits

Arnaud Desplechin and Léa Mysius (Dialogue & Screenplay)


Roschdy Zem

Léa Seydoux

Sara Forestier

Antoine Reinartz

Chloé Simoneau

Betty Cartoux

Jérémy Brunet

Stéphane Duquenoy

Philippe Duquesne

Anthony Salamone

Ilyes Bensalem

Sarah Hamoud

Abdellatif Sedegui

Sylvie Moreaux

Diya Chalaoui

Bouzid Bouhdida

Maïssa Taleb

Yann Routier

Fethi Saidi

Marie Frandsen

Music by

Grégoire Hetzel

Cinematography by

Irina Lubtchansky

Genres: Crime, Drama

Country: France

''Oh Mercy!'' Official Trailer

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