Matt Damon and Adam Driver face off in a fight to the death in “The last duel”, the Ridley Scott film that has brought the echoes of #Metoo to 14th century France on the last day of the Venice Film Festival, where it is screened out of competition.
Based on true events, recounted by Eric Jagger in the 2004 essay of the same title, the script writing has reunited Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who reserves a supporting role, more than twenty years after “Good Will Hunting. “(” The indomitable Will Hunting “), for which they got an Oscar for best original screenplay.
“The process has been totally different,” Damon said at a press conference, “the way we wrote in the 90s, when we were in our twenties, was very inefficient, we understood characters, but not structure, and we wrote thousands of pages that we never use. “
“Taking into account the amount of time we invested we were reluctant to repeat, but this time it was all very fast, in six weeks it was ready,” he added.
The story, told from three different points of view, revolves around a noble woman (Jodie Comer) who in 14th century France decides to testify against her husband’s best friend (Adam Driver) (Matt Damon) because of a rape, which will lead to the fate of the three being decided in a duel to the death.
It was the last trial by combat held in Paris, in 1386. Jean de Carrouges (Damon) is an experienced gentleman from a respected family who fights for power and position; Jacques Le Gris (Driver), court favorite accused of the crime, and Marguerite de Carrouges (Comer), a heroine ahead of her time.
The script, in which Nicole Holofcener has also participated, has a highly topical approach and in which the #Metoo movement resonates when it comes to addressing the feeling of guilt, the lack of credibility and the injunction to remain silent suffered by women. women victims of rape.
“It is a classic story in terms of narrative: faced with a great injustice, a woman decides to raise her voice by putting herself at risk, the fact that it is a powerful man who abuses her seemed to us something relevant today and that she could generate catharsis and empathy, “said Ben Affleck.
“For many years women have not been seen as equal human beings and there are vestiges of that look that remain today,” added the actor, screenwriter and producer of the film.
On the resonances of the #metoo, Holofcener has said that they were very aware of the similarity between what happens to Margarite de Carrouges and the victims of cases like Harvey Weinstein.
“But at the time of writing we try not to accentuate it, we do not want to say ‘look how relevant we are’, we simply treat the characters as human beings, taking care that their story is true and showing their suffering.”
The search for truth, power and survival are universal themes that the plot addresses.
For Ridley Scott, with experience in historical dramas such as “Kingdom of Heaven”, “Exodus” or “Gladiator”, what was interesting this time was the idea of telling the same story from three points of view. different view.
“I always look for things that I have not done before, for example now I would like to shoot a musical or a western, but in this case, despite being another historical drama, the points of view attracted me,” he said.
Adam Driver has not appeared in Venice, according to Scott, because he is filming. Director and actor have yet another film to be released together, “House of Gucci” (“Gucci House”), in which Driver puts himself in the shoes of the Italian fashion entrepreneur.
By Magdalena Tsanis