Cannes 2022: we saw the Diam's documentary, "Salam", here is what we thought of it

Cannes 2022: we saw the Diam’s documentary, “Salam”, here is what we thought of it

Diam’s is gone. Overnight. At the top. A trompe-l’oeil summit that hid a permanent malaise. A daily suffering that had been installed for many years.

Diam’s was bad. She said it in her texts but no one wanted to hear her or even understand her. For some, Diam’s had sunk because she had converted to Islam in the late 2000s.

Yes, Diam’s wears the veil. Finally, Mélanie wears the veil. Melanie Georgiades. And in Salam – which means peace in Arabic – and presented in special screenings at Cannes, Diam’s opens up for the first time after ten years of silence.

Melanie is fine

Like it or not, Mélanie is happy, peaceful, serene today. She will never return to the music business again. The fan that I am is bruised because Diam’s was out of the ordinary. But the human being can only see the obvious, Mélanie is fine. This was the approach taken by the two directors of the film, Houda Benyamina and Anne Cissé.

Because it’s been more than ten years that everyone wanted to tell the story of Diam’s. Nobody succeeded, encountering the refusal of the artist. “Brut, the media, and Black Dynamite, the production company, offered him to tell his story, with carte blanche“, rewinds Anne Cissé, one of the co-directors.

A film with strong choices such as completely doing without Diam’s songs. “What she was as Diam’s has already been told many times, continues Anne Cissé. We wanted to talk about who she was without necessarily showing it. The subject was Mélanie behind Diam’s, and also Mélanie today

And to talk about Mélanie, Salam gives the floor to his very restricted circle. His mother, his manager, his producer, his close friends, Vitaa and Faïza Guène. Interviews filmed in a very special way where only the faces are visible. “During the editing, we realized that the close shot was the most useful because a lot of things are happening in their faces and since these faces appear before Mélanie’s, it will allow us to forget her veil.“.

SOS, a final call for help

For the vision of the veil was a real fear. “Are people going to ignore it?”, confesses the director. Invisible in the media, it was necessary to convince Mélanie to show herself as she is. It’s been ten years since people have seen it.

It is in front of the camera, in a very luminous moment, that she recounts her journey and the reasons for her conversion to Islam.

Fragile, prone to suicide attempts, diagnosed as bipolar and full of medication at the time of her withdrawal, Mélanie needs to express herself on the dangerousness of mental illnesses. For the first time, the young woman opens up and confirms an open secret: Diam’s is not coming back. Looking back, the last song from his last album – SOS – was a final cry for help that no one wanted to hear.

An album which is preceded by an unfortunate event, Paris Match publishes a photo of Diam’s with the veil while the artist is still looking for himself in his faith. The controversy is launched and Diam’s confiscates this moment. She tells it with sincerity in her film. Has she considered coming to the Festival to talk about it? “No, continues Anne Cissé. It is not consistent with what it is today. What she has to say, she says it in her film“.

Mélanie never denies Diam’s. In the film, she also returns to the stage of the Zenith in Paris, empty, where she shone. A necessary form of pilgrimage. So yes, Diam’s will not come back. But Melanie is fine.

And that’s the main thing.

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