“When are the filmmakers’ canteens?”

ARCHIVE — As part of the “Cinema of Passion” campaign, we are republishing articles dedicated to great actors, actresses and directors. Today is an interview with Jacques Doillon, who has just directed The Life of a Family. And he spoke with fear about the death of auteur cinema.

We parted from Jacques Doillon at the moment when his yellow face, bordering on greenish, stood before the unrestrained cries of the Cannes festival audience, who came to mock Pirate.

– I, who wouldn’t hurt a fly, he remembers. Besides, the flies are stronger than me, and I don’t attack them, I turned around, fist forward (this almost never happened to me), at the guy who whistled behind me. Ready to… kick my ass, really. Because the fight and I!…

The voice is deaf. The words are sometimes confused. Doillon’s cinema screams. Whispers to him, too excited, too feverish. From time to time, hop! he swallows a small white pill. Nothing extravagant, believe me! Just a little tranquilizer designed to make him endure the morning and afternoon, this journalist who came to interview him and another who didn’t even think about it. Life, in short.

He smiles: “Don’t talk bad about chemistry that helps you survive!” »

He survived, Doillon, we knew it. But he also smiles, which no one would have suspected by looking at his photographs, where he seems stubbornly tense and serious.

– On the set, the weight of anxiety is such that only a ghost remains from a person … In life, we smile on average for six minutes a day, they say. I have to do my average! A little less, perhaps!

Don’t expect Doillon to accurately analyze the themes and obsessions of his films. On the contrary, he tries, each time, to quickly forget those common points that critics and spectators notice, making him a terrifying impression of inertness or salivation.

“Women, I see them – probably not without naivete – closer to life, to the” power “as we would say in Star Wars!”

– My films, nevertheless he agrees to say, as if brushing aside questions that would surround him too closely: draw characters who demand too much from others. They are all seekers of love, fair or unfair, good or bad. Sarcastic or not.

From where – in crying womanin prodigal daughterin Pirate – this gallery of lost people who hit each other, how others exchange caresses, and who moan as soon as they touch each other, in a mixture of pain and tenderness.

– Women, explains Doillon, cornered, I see them – probably not without naivete – closer to life, to “strength”, as they would say in Star Wars ! They don’t need to go through the crack boundary, as Fitzgerald would say. In short, they are not “cracked”. Or, if they have, they might consider picking up the pieces.
The man, it seems to me, was lost somewhere between discomfort and uproar. A forty-year-old boy, if he is still a little sensitive and alive, is in constant danger. he can’t resist like Sami Frey in
Family life – than women or children.

“To pass by the mouth of another was one for me another way to shut up.”

Doillon’s cinema has changed. The so-called “naturalistic” vein of its origins (Year 01, Fingers in the head) drowned in a more restless, latent current. Even Family life brings all of his recent films to life with relative ease (Funny, Prodigal Daughter, Pirate, Monsieur Abel as well as Wood, the last two filmed on television) are shadowy, shadowy. Heartbreaking and poignant. inconceivable.

– When you spent your childhood and youth, keeping quiet, it is not easy at twenty-five or thirty to start talking about yourself publicly. Speaking through someone else’s mouth was another way for me to remain silent.
It was good because as a child I stuttered
(laugh). From a certain point, I stuttered films, which allowed me to express myself a little better in life! By the way, this is probably the only reason why I made films!
Today, I still feel like I’m fifteen and barely daring. I’m sorry I didn’t dare to do more. And it’s better to spend time every day instead of working, working…
My consolation is that we always beat around the bush, knowing that I am less far from the bush than before. The pot must be a nightmare, but anyway…

– Without a head spinning with pride, it seems quite obvious to me that your films are becoming more and more refined, that they are being refined.
In the image, perhaps again, but not in history. How I Came From the Cinema Who Didn’t Say AnythingFingers in my head), I tried to make my films tense, to build themselves. Maybe I got too carried away. Now I have to open up!
Look, I just re-read Benjamin Constant.. Adolf, how beautiful ! French has never been cleaner than it was at the time, and perhaps thanks to this guy in that regard. That’s what needs to be achieved: this absence of heaviness, this art, where everything is there and nothing superfluous. Eric Romer got it right. It is he who best refines each contour. I, too, would like to be able to shoot a day with a lot of not-so-bass.

Modern cinema does not always please him: for his taste it goes too straightforward (“the boredom of time is that no one delivers anything himself”). And filmmakers, the real ones, therefore become bloodless survivors: an endangered species.

– On this occasion, I have a remark to Telerama.
– Really ?

One of your recent issues announced the death of auteur cinema. Formulated in this way, it is not entirely true, not entirely false, but in any case very dangerous.
You understand, we are very disliked by producers, distributors, exhibitors, three people in charge of television for cinematic co-production. Cinema filmmakers, they don’t care. If all these people announce the death of auteur cinema, they can only rejoice, having established themselves in their opinion: “even
telerama he says so, that means…” On the contrary: you must by all means remain with a living and undamaged bad conscience.

“Abandoning the station cinema means becoming an émigré worker.”

– Author’s cinema is in crisis, will you deny it?
– But do you know what terrible working conditions are imposed on us? Gaumont boasted of co-producing Philippe Garrel’s new film. But he didn’t get a “hundred sacks” from Gaumont, Garrel! Do you understand that he is now working on a budget of 65,000 francs? (one) It shoots in black and white, silently and most of the time in just one take. For me it would be impossible. I have to work with actors, do research with them, start over as much as necessary.

Yes Family life was born thanks to Charles Brabant, head of the department of television programs. Family life hence, it is a distraction TV movie. But brave, inventive, even simply inquisitive people, like Charles Brabant, are not everywhere. Especially among those who are responsible for co-production on three channels.
Today, the status of a film director who refuses uniformity, anonymity, station cinema, as well as literature of the same name, resembles the status of an emigre worker. We pull him, push him, bark in his face: “You don’t have the necessary documents, you.”
Soon it will be necessary to create free canteens for filmmakers who will distribute some money to this one, some film to that one. And I hardly exaggerate

Jacques Doillon also did the cover of Télérama #2255, April 3, 1993.


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