Venice 2023 Review: VIVANTS (ON THE PULSE), Nostalgic Behind-the-Scenes Newsroom Drama
Director Alix Delaporte peeks behind the curtains of a bustling Parisian newsroom in a film memoir serving as an homage for the trade.
In Alix Delaporte's Vivants (English title: On the Pulse), viewers are introduced to the bygone world of journalism. The setting, a Parisian TV newsroom, serves as the backdrop for Gabrielle (Alice Isaaz), an aspiring camerawoman navigating the complex world of news without formal training.
Gabrielle's initial portrayal suggests she's an outsider, trying to find her footing in this demanding environment. As the narrative progresses, however, her interactions with the seasoned team, including the editor-in-chief Vincent (Roschdy Zem), highlight the contrast between the evolving methodologies in journalism and the established norms of the past.
Delaporte's own background in journalism lends the film a sense of authenticity. It's not just about the headlines but the intricate workings of a newsroom — the politics, the challenges, and the pressures that aren't immediately evident to the outside world. As the story unfolds, there's a clear representation of the shifts in journalism, drawing a line between a time of in-depth reporting and the present era, driven by digital metrics.
The group dynamics of the newsroom team play a central role in the narrative. Their collective experiences, which sometimes push them to the brink, emphasize the demanding nature of journalism. This portrayal suggests that for many, journalism isn't merely a job; it's a vocation that demands both passion and sacrifice.
A subplot in the film is the unexpected romantic tension between Gabrielle and Vincent. While this relationship might reflect dynamics from a different time in journalism, its inclusion amidst the film's core themes raises questions.
Vincent, as portrayed by Zem, diverges from the archetype of the stern, uncompromising boss. His character's measured and thoughtful demeanor contrasts with the often high-paced environment of the newsroom, making the romantic subplot an odd addition.
Throughout the film, Gabrielle's journalistic journeys offer insight into the challenges and learning curves faced by those new to the profession especially as she undergoes trial by fire. Through these experiences, themes of mentorship, adaptation, and finding one's place in a shifting landscape emerge.
On the Pulse unfolds as nostalgia-laced memoir film behind-the-scenes of a newsroom of a hard-boiled journalism. The unnecessary intergenerational romance pushes the film into the mainstream territory while the episodic structure morphs the film into a feature-lenght pilot.
The film screened out of competition at the Venice International Film Festival.