The Worst Ones
Directed by: Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret
France, 2022, 99m
In French with English subtitles
Set in the suburbs of Boulogne-Sur-Mer in northern France, The Worst Ones captures a film within a film as it follows the production of a feature whose director turns to the local Cité Picasso housing project for casting. Eager to capture performances of gritty authenticity, the director selects four working-class teenagers to act in the film, to the surprise and consternation of the local community, who question the director’s choice of “the worst ones.” As the director and crew audition, rehearse, film, and interact with their hand-picked cast, jealousies are stoked, lines are crossed, and ethical questions arise, with thought-provoking and, at times, darkly funny results. Utilizing an open casting process, first-time directors Lise Akoka and Romane Gueret scoured the country for fresh talent to bring these intensely human characters to life. Winner of the top prize in the Un Certain Regard section of the 2022 Cannes Film Festival and channeling the early work of Catherine Breillat (36 fillette, Fat Girl) and Larry Clark (Kids), The Worst Ones announces Akoka and Gueret as two of the most exciting new voices in French cinema.