Why Tirailleurs is an important film for Omar Sy

Why Tirailleurs is an important film for Omar Sy

Actor and co-producer of the film, the actor has been involved for more than ten years so that this drama in tribute to the Senegalese soldiers who died for France, sees the light of day.

This evening, Canal + will broadcast Skirmishers, Omar Sy’s latest success (it attracted more than 1 million spectators in France at the start of the year). A warm welcome for a film that was very close to the heart of the actor. Explanations.

It all started on the set ofUntouchables (2011) by Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache. The director of the film, Mathieu Vadepied, then intends to embark on the production of his first feature film. He has two ideas in mind: Adama – who will become Big Life (2015) -, chronicle of a young boy from a French suburb and Skirmishersa war film about uprooted African soldiers during the First World War.

For Skirmishershis encounter with Omar Sy is decisive. Sy, whose father is from Senegal, and mother from Mauritania, is immediately interested in this project which is however in an embryonic state. Indeed, Mathieu Vadepied (photo below) does not yet know how to take this story. ” We had to immerse ourselves in a distant history, he explains on the CNC website. A century separated us from the heroes of Tirailleurs. Everything started from Senegal with characters who spoke Fulani. All of this multiplied the difficulties of finding the right note. »

In search of the unknown soldier

Only one question obsesses the director: What if the unknown soldier was a Senegalese rifleman? “It will take him ten years with his co-author Olivier Demangel, to try to answer this problem through fiction. Omar Sy, who has meanwhile become an international star, closely follows the evolution of a scenario that goes in several directions before it refocuses on a father-son relationship. Skirmishers recounts how Bakary Diallo (Sy), a Senegalese shepherd, enlisted in the French army during the First World War to help his forcibly conscripted son (Alassane Diong).

Play in Fulani

The choice to have the main characters speak in Fulani adds an increase in dramatic intensity and historical truth. For Omar Sy, it’s a kind of liberation, as he explained at the last Cannes Film Festival where the film was presented at the opening of the Un Certain Regard section: “ This is my mother tongue. The fact of playing in Fulani for the first time in my career allowed me to see my character differently, to establish an intimate relationship with him. »

Omar Sy is the main actor of Skirmishers, but also one of the producers. The actor created a company in Senegal to develop projects on the spot. Through its investment in Skirmishersthe film was able to obtain the support of the Senegalese CNC, FOPICA. Skirmishers was partly shot in a village in northern Senegal, along the Mauritanian border, the cradle of the actor’s family origins.

Our happy days: the beginning of Omar Sy’s success story

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