‘The Kingdom’ Cannes First Look: A Teen Comes of Age in a Crime-Filled Corsica

Un Certain Regard is always a time to explore new, daring films from first- and second-time feature filmmakers at the Cannes Film Festival. They’ll eventually be eligible for the Camera d’Or, the Un Certain Regard equivalent of the Palme d’Or. So if you’re looking for something to see outside the main competition at Cannes this year, Julien Colonna’s Un Certain Regard entry is a simmering and intense coming-of-age story about a teenage girl coming of age amid a criminal family. And that family is maybe one she doesn’t want to reconnect with but is forced to over one summer in Corsica, 1995. Watch an IndieWire exclusive clip from the film below.

Here’s the official synopsis: “Corsica, 1995. It’s Lesia’s first summer as a teenager. One day a man bursts into her life and takes her to an isolated villa where she finds her father, in hiding, surrounded by his clan. An underworld war erupts. The noose is tightening around them. Death strikes. Forced to go on the run, father and daughter will learn to face one another, to understand and love each other.”

Colonna directs first-time actors including Ghjuvanna Benedetti as Lesia, along with Saveriu Santucci, and Anthony Morganti. “The Kingdom,” or “Le Royaume” in French, is Colonna’s second feature after directing shorts and episodics and the 2019 documentary “Luo Yang’s Girls,” about Chinese youth culture.

Benedetti is a remarkable presence in this dark drama that blends crime genre elements with an intimate story of a young woman coming into her own. Colonna sets the film in Corsica, in that particular year, due to the political crossroads on the island at that time, as nationalist clashed with the criminal clans doing business there. Against this backdrop, we see Lesia trying to love her father despite the dangerous path he’s on and unwilling to leave.

More from Colonna’s press statement about the film: “‘The Kingdom’s’ narrative perspective is from the level of a child in a man’s environment. The point of view is simultaneously immersive yet distanced and depicts a filial relationship trying to exist, to survive in a context where everything dies. The characters’ emotional issues can be seen more clearly as I have placed the classic genre film plot — the military chessboard, the war of clans and territories — in the background. I wanted to create a space in which to see something else come alive: a story about the consequences of these marginal lives, a more truthful reflection of an environment that is too often treated fantastically, and thus to stake out the boundaries of an anti-gangster film.”

“The Kingdom” is currently seeking U.S. distribution out of the 2024 Cannes Film Festival. Goodfellas is handling international sales.

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