Locarno FF

Samuel Jouy – Sparring #Locarno70

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5 min. and 3 sec.

Lose some, win some: story of a failed boxer who gets his foot in the door one last time

Play Podcast
5 min. and 3 sec.

PODCAST | Bénédicte Prot interviews Samuel Jouy, director of the film Sparring.

To listen to the interview, click on the ► icon on the right, just above the picture

Debut filmmaker Samuel Jouy explains what being a sparring partner means in boxing and why he was interested in focusing on this lesser-known category of boxers who are not the ones shining on the ring, and yet carry with them the same passion, even though they may have given up on some of their dreams. The actor-turned-director also describes his main character Steve Landry’s (Mathieu Kassovitz in a role that fits him like a boxing glove) rather graceful acceptance of his shortcomings and the loving family life underpinning it – for an important subplot in this touching film is his beautiful relationship with his very cool wife (Olivia Merilahti, who also composed some of the music in Sparring), who loves him just as he is and is proud of him anyhow, as well as with his bright 10- or 12-year-old daughter Aurore (whose life is only just beginning, as her name suggests, and for whom he has all the hopes in the world, as he is at the twilight of his own not-so-impressive career). For this intelligent young girl, who sees everything and understands quite well what is at stake, her Dad always comes out looking like a hero and someone who ultimately manages to open doors, without counting on chance or on anyone’s charitable help.

Sparring: in his early forties, small-time boxer Steve Landry (Mathieu Kassovitz) has lost more bouts than he’s won. But before hanging up his gloves for good, he accepts an offer than many would turn down flat: being the sparring partner to emerging champion Tarek M’Bareck. One last chance to dazzle his wife and his children. Starring: Mathieu Kassovitz, Olivia Merilahti, Souleymane M’Baye, Billie Blain, Ali Labidi…

For the official page of the film on the festival website, click here.


  • Reporter
    Bénédicte Prot
  • Guest
    Samuel Jouy
  • Interviewee role
  • Film title
  • Festival section
    Piazza Grande
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