Director Camille Vidal-Naquet’s feature film debut, Sauvage, which chronicles the journey of a 22-year-old gay street hustler, garnered praise and accolades when the film premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Strand Releasing has now acquired the North American rights to the provocative film which Vulture called “the most sexually frank film at Cannes.”
The film’s star, Felix Maritaud, was honored with the best actor prize during the Cannes Film Festival’s Critics’ Week. You may recall Maritaud’s previous star turn in Robin Campillo’s (BPM) Beats Per Minute which won the Grand Jury prize at Cannes in 2017.
Vidal-Naquet describes the lead character as a “solitary young man who hits the road and wanders from one encounter to the next, longing for love, driven by an unquenchable capacity for love that keeps him going, regardless of the violent world around him.”
Although the movie received acclaim at the famed film festival, the debut did not go without some controversy.
One scene, in particular, was graphic to the point that some audience members got up and left the screening.
Vulture describes the scene:
At one point, Léo goes home with a city-dwelling couple who treat him like an unthinking animal, making cruel cracks about his appearance and inspecting his teeth as though they were checking the quality of a product. It’s hard to watch this happen to someone as open-hearted as Léo, and that’s even before one of the men orders Léo to get on all fours, then begins to lube up a gigantic, intimidating butt plug which he will wield almost like a weapon.
But the director defended the graphic approach to the material, saying, “It wouldn’t be honest to make a movie about prostitution without talking about these kinds of things."
In addition to the gritty, coarse world of male prostitution, Sauvage also finds vulnerability and balance by touching on Maritaud’s unrequited love for a fellow hustler.
The film is set for a late 2018 release and recently dropped the first trailer. Watch below.