"He talked about a music which would attain this universal vibration toward which
the hummingbirds glide and the flowers are blown.
— Quote in Siméon —
In a small village in the West Indies, Siméon, a music teacher and Isidore, his
star disciple, a mechanic by necessity and guitarist by passion, shared the same
ambition, an impossible dream — to put their island on the world’s music map with
Zouk music. Orélie, Isidore’s ten year old daughter helps him in his endeavours,
by bringing Simeon, back to life, after he fell from his tree, trying to get too
close to the full moon.
Directed by: Euzhan Palcy
Screenplay by: Euzhan Palcy & Jean-Pierre Rumeau
Dialogues by: Euzhan Palcy & Jean-Pierre Rumeau
From an original story of: Euzhan Palcy
Songs written & interpreted by: Kassav
Music composed by: Bruno Coulais
Mixed by: Didier Lozahic
Cinematographer: Philippe Welt
Sound Engineer: Bernard Bats
Sound Mixing by: William Flageollet
Edited by: Marie-Josephe Yoyotte
Art Director: Bernard Vezat
Costume Designer: Annie Quesnel
Sound Editing: Gina Pignier
Special Effects Supervisor: Christian Guillon / Ex-Machina
Executive Producer: Jean-Lou Monthieux
Production manager: Jean De Tregomain
A Co-Production: Saligna Production / France 2 Cinéma
Running time: 115 minutes
Country: France (Martinique)
Language: French with English subtitles
Jean-Claude Duverger — Siméon
Jacob Desvarieux (Kassav) — Isidore
Jocelyne Béroard (Kassav) — Roselyne
Little Lucinda Messager — Orélie
Albert Lirvat — Albert
Jean-Michel Martial — Max
Gerty Dambury — Lucia
Jean-Claude Naimro (Kassav) — Charlie
With Pascal Legitimus — Philomène Jr
With the voice of Lisette Malidor — The Lady of Fire
The ghost of a music teacher pushes a young mechanic to start a career in music.
Siméon is Euzhan Palcy’s third feature film. It marks her return to France after her
American experience with the film A Dry White Season. She wanted Season
to be "Cinema Verité" — that is to reflect the truth — at all costs.
And the lengths she had to go through to make that a reality took a heavy toll on her, both mentally and physically. But on the flight bringing her to visit Francis Ford Coppola on the set of The Godfather 3 by his invitation, a spark of light begins to shine.
A tune, an image, a color pop into her mind and Euzhan embarks on the writing of
Siméon as if tomorrow was her last day. She pulls on everything she’s learned,
every single thing that made her the artist she became.
Siméon becomes a lively movie, a real extravaganza of color and music, an
antidote to gloom, a tribute to all that the Caribbean can create for our delight.
Siméon, the spirit of music marks the return of Euzhan Palcy to her roots, nine years
after her seminal movie, the classic Sugar Cane Alley.
AWARDS & HONORS
2019 — The Masterpieces of MoMA’s Black Art collection of the last 90 years
2013 — Cannes Classics official selection
1995 — Fespaco Thomas Sankara Institute for Black People Award
1993 — Brussels International Fantasy Film Festival / Silver Raven Award (Competing with Sam Raimi's Army of the Darkness and Joe Dante's Matinee)
1993 — Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema / Audience Award
1993 — Montreal Film Festival, Vue d'Afrique / Ban Zil Kreyol Award
1993 — Milan Film Festival Youth Award
" The audience literally rose to their feet at the end of the film and danced in the aisles"
Ron Magliozzi / Commisionner MoMA New York, 2011
“ Euzhan, it appears that Siméon lit the fuse at the Cinematheque ”
Costa Gavras / Chairman of Cinematheque Francaise
" It was the first time that I danced with my pupils "
Teacher at Jules Ferry high school in Anzin, France