Nature and concrete

Philippe Petit makes his fiction feature debut with Beating Sun
by Manuela Santacatterina
  • saturday, 3 september 2022

Max is a landscape architect who works on a design for a fenceless park in Marseille. After years of failures, his design finally makes it into the shortlist of an architectural competition. For Max, his design has the potential to give some oxygen to people trapped in urban hell. Philippe Petit participates in the 37th Venice International Film Critics’ Week with his first feature film, Beating Sun.

How did the film come about?
I was studying cinema while working at a small business that studies the impact building has on nature. I wrote a speculative screenplay, though for years nothing came of it. I went back to the idea years later because I wanted to make a film on these two elements: nature and cement. A subject that is very interesting today.


Green is the colour of nature, genuinity, freedom and space. Green is the colour of  Max’s landscape project, in which lays the hope of the inhabitants of an anonymous distri...


Do you consider your film a metaphor of human condition?
One of the most exciting things in our lives is to feel that our bodies and our brains can improve every day. The same can be said for a plant, which grows stronger in the right environment, and if cared for correctly. The film is also a metaphor on the condition of who is forced to live a life of high and lows.

Why did you cast Swann Arlaud?
What strikes me is his eyes, the way he sees things. He is a sort of ‘instinctual’ plant that can move and face the sun, but still needs firm roots in the ground. I thought Swann would feel touched by Max, his character, and Max’s project. I know he is an environmentalist himself.