Jalil Lespert




MK2 International (Paris)


Venice 07 - Critics Week


The lives of four 20-something strangers cross on a tense Christmas Eve.
Denied custody of her young son, troubled Helly frantically looks for money in the wrong places. She meets mysterious Didier, who urgently needs someone to play his fiancée for the evening. When tragedy strikes, stunned Helly is picked up on the roadside by rejected and confused Marie. Looking to unleash their frustration in a club, the two women encounter angry jazz musician Chris. The three loners will end this emotional night in a desperate moment of intimacy.


Berangere ALLAUX,


Jalil Lespert makes a confident feature helming debut with "24 Bars," a four-character study of emotionally crippled souls who meet by chance on Christmas Eve ... Lespert's studied yet free-feeling construction, lensed largely at close range, keeps interest focused throughout unexpected twists and turns. Title, sometimes given as "24 Measures," alludes to twice the traditional 12-bar blues chord, paralleled in the assured, jazz-like combination of solos and ensemble ... Unsurprisingly for an actor, Lespert coaxes strong perfs from everyone, with (Benoit) Magimel and (Lubna) Azabal special standouts ... a few truly surprising, and emotionally accurate, scenes, not to mention the distinctly claustrophobic, primarily nocturnal lensing, the camera keeping pace with the characters without ever seeming rushed or gratuitous. Music, so important both aurally and structurally, is nicely calibrated.
Jay Weissberg, VARIETY

A kaleidoscope of gritty interlocking stories set at Christmas time and mostly taking place after dark. Conceived by Lespert and co-screenwriter Yann Apperry as tailor-made characters for the four principal actors, the roles obviously fit them like a glove ... Lubna Azabal (Paradise Now), on whom the film opens and closes, is almost unrecognisable with her peroxided hairdo and is the actor who impresses most, though acting is strong from the entire ensemble ... The film is also well put together, double backing on itself several times without feeling forced in the way many overlapping narratives do ...Filmed in a hurried and gritty look appropriate for such a bleak series of connected coincidences, with cinematographer Josée Deshaies staying close to the characters and moving along with them. She also knows how to make the most of the little available light in the night-time environments that look as inhospitable as the characters, which reinforces a documentary-like feel that is also brought about by the unaffected performances.

French debut director Jalil Lespert's 24 Bars is scuzzy, cool and terrifying, a mix of 21 Grams and Round Midnight, with drugs, a turn from jazz legend Archie Shepp and a superb nightclub scene.
Jason Solomons, THE GUARDIAN (UK)

A completely mastered first film on nocturnal wandering and urban solitude ... If all first films directed by an actor had this elegance, French cinema would be in a different state of brilliance. Perfectly mastered, without any major fault in taste, 24 MEASURES reveals a director to look out for, which is always good news for an often too-conventional young cinema ... Lubna Azabal is troubling as the down-and-out peroxide blond prostitute who wants to see her child again ... Director Jalil Lespert paints a sordid descent into hell filmed with extreme restraint and without adding to the pathos. The troubled souls in 24 MEASURES are on the edge of ruin and Lespert observes them, strips them, films them without ornament, leaving in its place the violence of intimate pain. The jazz of Archie Shepp accents the film (the “24 measures”) and magnifies this dive into urban solitude. The young director’s influences (Inarritu, Scorsese, Cantet, Beauvois) surely entangle, but he knows how to turn them around. Never trying to cite or pay homage, Lespert concentrates on his characters. He never stops focusing on the objective of his film. The voyage is sinister and full of despair but we end up strangely envigorated by so much mastery. A luminous film noir.
Fabrice Leclerc, CINELIVE (France)

With the first images of 24 MEASURES, we can tell that Jalil Lespert is viscerally a filmmaker. This impression doesn’t cease to grow all during this film-puzzle leading to such a free jazz number in which everything seems to fly away at every instance toward an unknown destination where nothing escapes the control of a vision ... Discovering this first film makes us think a lot of Cassavetes. For its fluidity, for its way of disrupting its characters to reveal to us the fragile intimacy: the mother in search of regaining custody of her son, the taxi driver, the self-conscious provincial young woman and the vengeful jazz drummer, masterfully incarnated by Lubna Azabal, Benoit Magimel, Berangere Allaux and Sami Bouajila, magnificently supported by the immense jazzman Archie Shepp and Clothilde Hesme. For its handling of  plot twists, its detailed orchestration of destiny’s intersections, 24 MEASURES is a film which lives under permanent tension. Magnificently lit by Josee Deshaies (Nicolas Klotz’s THE HUMAN QUESTION), this first film reaches its very high ambitions in terms of story and visuals and it is a serious candidate for the Cesars (French Oscars).
Thierry Cheze, STUDIO (France)

From the Critic's Week program, the film 24 Measures by actor turned-director Jalil Lespert stood out. All four characters are total losers who, by chance or coincidence, come into contact and depend on one another ...
Blagoja Kunovski, FIPRESCI (Macedonia)

A first film with surprising charm ... Benoit Magimel is excellent ... The way of advancing by impromptu junctions inspired by the blues techniques gives the film its title ... Lively and courageous ...
Olivier Seguret, LIBERATION (France)

By nature, humanity is destined to tell stories about solitude and forced to ramble for an indefinite time, waiting for the next fortuitous encounter. Jalil Lespert insists from beginning to end on this idea, basing his first feature on four connected stories ...
Giovanna Canta, SENTIERI SELVAGGI (Italy)

Ambitious and turbulent debut by Lespert ... Symphony on the lives of four young people one Christmas Eve ...

Dense and compact structure; written with knowledge ...
Cristina Piccino, IL MANIFESTO (Italy)