The film is inspired by Eugène Ionesco’s play La Leçon, 1951. In a Parisian apartment, a young woman arrives in an older man’s home for an ambiguous ritualised language lesson. She is invited to read her ‘exercises’ and begins to nervously recite a series of phrases describing various scenes that ‘will be’ in the future. As the phrases become more surreal, the professor’s behaviour becomes more animated, erratic and sinister.
The film stars French actor Thibault de Montalembert (Call my Agent, 2015-present; My Sex Life… or How I Got Into an Argument, 1996) and the artist herself. This work has emerged from the artist’s personal experience as a bilingual Franco-British person brought up in the UK. Conflating fiction, personal experience and memory with a refusal to offer clear narrative resolutions, this film draws on intimate elements of Theobald’s French heritage and the experience of gradually losing her mother tongue.
Shot on Super 16mm and using handheld camera, the film has the aesthetic of a home movie, characteristic of Theobald’s previous recorded performance works. At its most delirious, IL Y AURA (There will be), 2022, comments on social customs, clichés, learnt modes of behaviour and the cyclical nature of producing fiction whilst simultaneously being produced by it.
IL Y AURA (There will be) is written, directed and edited by the artist and is her first French language film. The film’s score is written with musician Tom Hirst (American Sound/ Design a Wave).