It is not at the level of M * A * S * H or Hospital, but The division (Fracture) keeps you on your toes with his frenzied gaze at the beleaguered Paris emergency room hospital staff as, along with his regular patients, he tries to cope with the many people injured during a yellow vest protest spiraling out of control at The French will naturally respond more directly than foreigners to this fast-moving drama, which is peppered with sparkling black humor, but politics take a backseat to logistical and human issues in this black comedy-laden Cannes title that was presented in competition.
Although the director is little known in the United States, this is Catherine Corsini’s twelfth feature film, so he obviously knows what he’s doing. With the crucial help of Jeanne Lapoirie cinematography, you are there, keeping the camera very in the center of things as she recreates the street fights and personal anguish that arose from the demonstrations and real-life events. that involved grievances from both the right and the left against the policies of President Emmanuel Macron.
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Personal problems flare even before the city does, as the relationship between two energetic women in their 50s, Raphaelle (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) and Julie (Marina Fois) is on the rocks and sinking fast. Their fights have an edge of finality due to Julie, who has simply had enough.
As time goes on, you may begin to sympathize with her; Raphaelle is the type of person who always has a comment to make and never stops chattering, joking, or complaining. In any situation, she insists on being the center of attention, even as injured and bloodied people keep entering the building. She’s real and like someone out of a sitcom, fast and wickedly funny, but a little too much extended and sometimes a pain.
Raphaelle needs to go to the hospital because she injured her elbow, but since her needs are not as urgent, others take priority. A nearby man, truck driver Yann (Pio Marmai), has shrapnel in his leg, although he is under so much pressure to return the truck he secretly used to get to Paris to his boss that he is considering leaving the facility without treatment.
More and more people are being admitted to the hospital as the fighting outside grows increasingly violent, but the biggest shock comes when the ceiling of a room collapses. It looks like chaos will ensue, but one of the virtues of the film’s signal is its low-key admiration for the way everyday hospital staff go about their business. Their workplace has become a war zone and the staff work with a strong sense of purpose and dedication, which, given the circumstances, speaks volumes.
The tone of the film varies between the frenzied and the absurd, but, leaving aside the absurdities depicted, it is not an absolute comedy. This is an augmented reality look at the known world spinning off its axis in a way that no one is prepared to face, let alone fix. These emergencies seem to come and go more frequently these days, and Western governments, at least, seem less able to cope with the consequences.