[INTERVIEW] LAURENT LAFFARGUE

It is in a café in paris’s 11th arrondissement, a day of heavy rain, far from the sun in the south-west that we see in the Kings of The world, that we have met its director, Laurent Laffargue. A man that we know before all to the theatre but the cinema has always had an important place. The light chain coffee and cigarettes, we discover a character is complete and complex, also to share that his film is able to make reference to Shakespeare and Greek tragedies, as much as to Haneke or Sylvester Stallone.

Read our review of the film the Kings of The world

The synopsis of the Kings of the world describes the film as : “a Greek tragedy way western.”

Laurent Laffargue : This is exactly what I wanted to do. In particular, I was influenced by Homer, Hector and Achilles. However, I would rather say that it is a burlesque tragedy. Because there is a part of comedy in the film. Without comparing myself to the brothers Coen, I would say that there is a little bit of laughter even special. In fact, the problem is that the film sometimes has a tendency to lock up. From the moment of the tragedy it looks like we don’t have the right to go into comedy. Yet it is precisely this life.

This influence of the theatre, it is felt in the dialogue and the way in which they are sometimes put in scene, as an aside.

L. F : Yes, finally this is not the theatre that was it. I would say it is more of Bertrand Blier. We think not often, but what he does is very theatrical. This is what I love in him. It is very written at the level of the dialogues, in the same way, as did Michel Audiard. It is written more like it. I have the impression that now the cinema is more and more close to the naturalism.

In the film there is a theme of rock, which comes back several times. A powerful rock, energetic and at the same time worn by the one hand tragic.

L. F : that’s exactly It, I can’t say it better ! (laughter) We hear the theme at the beginning, when Céline Sallette dance in the kitchen, and it has been reworked for scenes with the young. This piece, it really is a tube for me. Besides, we has invited Romain Humeau, the lead singer of the group Eiffel, to sing to it. More generally, we worked on the music with Joseph Doherty so that it fits in the silences. It is not ubiquitous because it leaves it up to the game, the dialogues, the meaning.

Precisely this scene, where Céline Sallette dance, you have made the choice of a wide shot, camera posed, without editing. Once again a film form special for today. You we’re talking about ?

L. F : In fact, this sequence I mounted it, replayed, and narrow, but in the end I kept it in the wide shot. It is sure it is a cinema particular. If we look at the cinema of Haneke, the camera doesn’t move. Also in A Separation from Asghar Farhadi. The film starts, the camera does not move and remains in front of a couple that does not move either. All plays in the game. Then the more theatrical you die ! And at the same time it is typically film. We don’t know where is the limit in fact.

Finally, in spite of your background, mainly in the theatre, you’re very much tied to the film. How do you see the two ?

L. F : Yes of course I do a lot of theatre, but I also have a lot of influence of the cinema. What makes the film is the big plan, it is a way of playing that requires less volume. And above all, it is the mounting behind it. It is for this reason that it is not the same pleasure for the actors. They have more control in the theatre. With the cinema one is a little more dispossessed.

”I’m especially into the passion of telling stories. It’s just the tool that is changing.”

The Kings of the world form a triptych with two plays, Casteljaloux and Casteljaloux II. What was your approach to them ?

L. F : Yes, all this history goes back 6 years. First, I wrote it in a form that is more experimental where I was playing only eight characters. Except that at the same time I digressais, I was talking about me, of my childhood, of what I was writing. In fact I was the link between the characters. Therefore, the side fiction was even more pronounced. Subsequently, I have written for ten actors. And finally there is this version that I thought of for the cinema. But from the start I had this idea a little crazy triptych.

The shot with the film, the page Casteljaloux is definitely tour ?

L. F : Not necessarily. I could do a series for example. I have enough characters who have things to say. For example, I could devote myself to Jean-François, the gay Casteljaloux, or return to the scene of the bailiffs, to tell their life next. Good but I’m still going to make a break for the moment.

You think to continue it in the cinema ?

L. F : of course. I already have two ongoing storyline. In fact, I’ve always wanted to make films. Even in the theatre I am referring to the cinema. And finally, this medium is not new to me. I am also an actor so I attended a lot of shooting. There is also the writing now, which changes my relationship with the cinema. But, basically, I’m mostly into the passion of telling stories. After that, it is just the tool that is changing.

You have touched on a lot of things in the theatre.

L. F : In fact, during my 24 years of staging, I have always alternated between classics and contemporary authors. Shakespeare, Pauline Sales, with Edward Bond, Daniel Keene, or even Harold Pinter. This is a bit of my big brothers stuff.

Between cinema and theater, have you felt any differences or difficulties ?

L. F : no, not really. What counts is the meaning, what we want to convey in the image. The possibilities are much greater at the cinema, they are endless. But the relationship with the public is not the same. It is this fact that the theatre is changing a lot. The show living up to its name as it evolves with the viewer, who is also an actor in the theatre. Moreover, there is a paradox to ask the live show to be ready on the day of the first. Which is impossible since it lacks the public. With the cinema, you may be surprised at the outcome, but we can’t change it.

In the film, the character played by Eric Cantona, Jacky, remains calm but ends up exploding. One thinks inevitably of him when he was a player. And the day when, during a match, he had had enough of the insults of a bear and pounced on him.

L. F : Yes I remember it. This bear was a leader of hooligans, in fact. But, of course, that I’m aware of it when I do the film. I play it. The idea is not to awaken the anger of a man. I repeat it often but it is Sylverster Stallone, which made its worldwide success. In this, the first Rocky is awesome!!! This is the story of a guy who is the most pleasant in the world, and that it should not awaken anger. But in my film I think that we did not necessarily want that his anger wakes up, just we feel that it may be wrong to finish this story.

In front of him there is Jeannot (Sergi López), which seems completely crazy. That may well find Chantal ?



L. F : no it is not that crazy. This is a man who is more damaged, and who has a love very monomaniacal. But I think its madness fascinates above all. It is a story of passion, of a love that we cannot control. But again it is what it is ! If it was so simple love it is not. One does not choose who you love. And fortunately also that it is beyond us.

Finally, in the face of this trio of adults, Chantal, Bob and Jacky, there’s another trio of young people who follow the courses of the theatre of Chantal. What is their place in the film ?

It is essentially a mirroring between the story of a teenager, Roman, and Chantal. There is the idea of communication in their relationship. What she could not do, that is to say from, it makes sure Roman does it. The question of departure is essential. It is synonymous to progress and evolve. Moreover, it is said Jeannot at the end : “In life, there are two kinds of men, those who remain and those who leave “. Over there it is hard to ask a lot of question I think.

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