Soul, “an initiatory film on happiness”, according to Camille Cottin and Omar Sy

VIDEO INTERVIEW – The actors lend their voices to Pixar’s metaphysical narrative. A love letter to life and to jazz that is the most opportune to close a year upset by the coronavirus.

“Soul is a film from which you will emerge lighter, an initiatory story on the happiness of simple things, of friendship, of the present moment», Guarantees Camille Cottin to Figaro. The star of Ten percent would gladly prescribe the latest Pixar opus to which she lends her voice to perk up and recharge after a year 2020, placed under the sign of the coronavirus and confinement. Scheduled for a theatrical release in June 2020, this dizzying and poetic exploration of our humanity, which has obtained the Cannes 2020 label, arrives, theaters are closed, on the Disney + platform, Friday, December 25.

Signed by specialist Pete Docter, director of Up there and Vice versa, the tribulations of the jazz musician Joe, voiced by Omar Sy, and of the rebel and punk little soul 22, to which Camille Cottin infuses all his jokes and joie de vivre, will bring in your living room a real lesson in metaphysics, of unexpected melancholy and depth, which young and old alike will appreciate at their own level.

Drunk features New York pianist Joe. Struggling to make a living from his art, he resigned himself, annoyed, to earning a living by teaching music to distracted high school students. A career seemed a hopelessly distant mirage until the day a former student recommended it to an iconic jazz artist from the Big Apple. Alas, Joe has barely triumphed over his hearing when he falls into a gutter mouth. He wakes up in a strange world, the one before our birth. In this place are assembled the souls who are waiting to see the light of day. To find his reality, Joe will have to convince the sarcastic soul 22 to find his vocation and join the world of the living. A feat that neither Mohamed Ali, Mother Theresa or Plato, mentors in the afterlife have succeeded.

22 doesn’t see the point of living», Underlines Camille Cottin. “She is a nihilist who would get along perfectly with Nietzsche, while Joe is an existentialist, persuaded to be born for a great predefined destiny.», Summarizes Pete Docter. The idea of Drunk came to him in the midst of existential questioning: “For many years, I put all my energy and my passion into animation but that was not enough to fill me. So I asked myself: is there a better way than another to live your life? ”.

Picasso, Calder and Brancusi

Like these existential questions, Drunk pushes Pixar’s graphic limits in abstraction, especially when it comes to portraying this “Great Before” where souls in the making live. The managers of the place, large scarecrows named Michel, make one think furiously of the creature sketched in a simple white line by the Italian Osvaldo Cavandoli, and whose adventures on a drawing sheet made all the salt of the cartoon La Linea. Pete Docter readily cites in his research the influence of Picasso, Calder or Brancusi. The Michel reigns over a vast campus where elegance and mathematical perfection reign. On the flip side, Joe’s New York is warm and vibrant with familiarity. The librarians of Drunk roamed Queens and its schools, and marching bands.

To be happy, you don’t need to be successful and shine at all costs. You can be you.

Pete Docter

Musically, Joe’s style “Gets closer to Herbie Hancock, whose melodies have often been used in hip-hop titles that will appeal to the youngest spectators”. To these, the filmmaker hopes Soul will show another way: ” In the middle of my life I wanted to reconsider the pressure I put on myself. 22 speaks a lot to teens and young adults who are wondering how to find their place in society, who are assailed by doubts. Drunk shows that to be happy you don’t need to be successful and shine at all costs. You can be you. The world is filled with beauty. Jazz was an obvious musical metaphor: it is the realm of improvisation without a score, like life“.

The director is the first to be surprised to see to what extent this project, started four years ago, finds echoes in our current situation: “Joe doesn’t see the great things he has under his nose until they are out of reach, like that coffee we were having and sipping around the corner ”.”Drunk arrives at the right time and asks the right questions. It shows that access to happiness does not have to be the one dictated by the world, adds Omar Sy. The evils of our time are not only linked to the pandemic, but also to our way of looking at ourselves, of judging ourselves, of prejudging ourselves. “ And to retain full of hope: “Soul praised the transmission. What is perhaps missing in our time when we draw references on the right and on the left, are mentors ready to guide us“.


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