Cannes review: The Right Words (2021)

Yasser Osmani as Mahdi

“Trending on…” is depending on the outcome, either the most wanted or most dreaded scenario in lives of teenagers who have their eyes glued to smartphones day in, day out. Keeping the image cool and polished is important, but staying in control is the top priority of anyone who’s keen on having the big following. Never turn into a joke, present yourself from the best side, show how perfect your life is.

Along those lines, every kid’s worst nightmare is having their secrets exposed live on social networks in cheerful mockery, or the name of their crush called out loud with a solid proof of the truthfulness of such claims. It’s a destiny worse than death.

Adrian Moyse Dullin’s debut short The Right Words shows one of the potential outcomes of such mischiefs through the story about a prank between two syblings gone wrong. The film had its world premiere in the Short Film Competition of Cannes Film Festival, where he caught up with it.

15-year-old Kenza (Aya Halal) and her two years younger brother Mahdi (Yasser Osmani) have a habit of regularly ridiculing each other on social media. Their methods are not short of cruel, but when Kenza overstepps the border by showing the content of Mahdi’s schoolbag live on Instagram, something changes the rules of the game.

The storyline is very simple, with barely anything new the viewer can get confronted with, even when it comes to an actual ‘twist’, but this could depend on their age. The Right Words is a film made for young audiences, as it is accessible to generations who grew up impacted by the social media preassure of this kind. The film could be even used as an educational tool and shown in schools to raise awarness of the consequences of internet bullying and/ or over-sharing.

Original Title: Haut Les Coeurs
Country: France
Language: French
Year: 2021
Runtime: 15′
Production: Punchline Cinéma
Directed by: Adrian Moyse Dullin
Assistant Directors: Arthur Guerrand, Solenne Pierre, Clara Lecompte
Written by: Adrian Moyse Dullin, Emma Benestan
Produced by: Lucas Tothe
Director of Photography: Augustin Barbaroux
Assistant Operators: Jonas Gayraud, Clémence Pittillioen
With: Aya Halal, Rama N’Dongo, Yasser Osmani, Sanya Salhi
Sound Recordist: Colin Favre-Bulle
Production Managers: Thomas Bouvard, Samuel Bilboulian
Sound Editor: Tristan Pontécaille
Sound Mixer: Paul Jousselin
Continuity Supervisor: Louise Albon
Grader: Grégoire Lesturgie
Editor: Pierre Deschamps
Assistant Editor: Vincent Rinaldi
Foley Artist: Xavier Drouault
Costume Designer: Clara René
Make-up Artists: Olivia Théron, Coline Diot, Caroline Hapillon, Camille Pohier, Alizée Benoist, Lucie Corde
Sales: Salaud Morisset