French actress Marion Cotillard has capitalized on the media attention associated with her career to feature Bigger Than Us, a documentary about the new generation of activists against climate change and other causes, which she co-produced.
Within the special sessions, this project was excluded from competition, the translator told an international press group at the Cannes Film Festival this Sunday.
The documentary is directed by French Fleur Vasseur and stars 20-year-old Indonesian Melati Wijson, who, since she was 12, has fought back in her country, through her platform Bye Bye Plastic Bags, against plastic pollution.
Cotillard, who won an Oscar for Best Actress in 2008 for her performance in “La vie en rose,” has advocated for social and environmental issues for two decades and says she received this awareness from her parents and grandparents.
“They were my role models. We talked about these issues, but when we saw them respecting people and the environment, I learned this respect in an organic way,” said the translator who opened the 74th edition of Cannes on July 6 with the musical “Annette” by Leos Carax.
In Bigger Than Us, Wijson travels to Lebanon, Brazil, the United States, Greece, Malawi and Uganda to meet with other activists of his generation, and his case has focused on maritime rescue of migrants, education of refugee children, or advocacy. of the rights of women and girls.
We don’t have much time for the systemic change we need. You cannot allow yourself to believe that you alone cannot do anything. “If we want to move towards a future we can be proud of, we must leave no one behind,” the Indonesian militant said.
Cotillard and the director met by chance at a meeting organized around Indian activist Satish Kumar. He, who had never directed, explained his project and the actress was interested.
In 2016, the media “boom” about Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg had not yet occurred, and Wijsen was already in the spotlight of media attention, but according to the filmmaker she was “treated like a doll”.
Wasser regrets that today’s society views them as idealistic and chaotic and “trying to silence them”, and wants her to meet other young people with similar interests to show how they chart their own path.
80% of the film takes place outside of the Western world, where society has already collapsed. Activists there are fighting because they have no choice, says the director, journalist and former businesswoman.
Among the new faces of change is Syrian Muhammad al-Jundi, who at the age of twelve established a school in the Marj camp for Lebanese refugees. Or Brazilian Rene Silva, who is 25 and 11 years old, who created the newspaper “Foz Das Communities” to provide first-hand information about slums and change stereotypes.
“I’m very optimistic because what we see in the movie gives you hope. It’s a small sample of what’s going on,” says Cotillard, who hopes her two sons, aged 10 and 4, will follow suit. People are tired of suffering and want something different.