Book : 500 anecdotes from the filming by Jean-Pierre Jeunet

It was a small moment that I had not taken the time to introduce you to a film book. I caught up with me today, not with an essay on the craft of filmmaking, but with a collection of anecdotes from one of the French directors today’s most talented : Jean-Pierre Jeunet. In the book “I remember… 500 anecdotes of filming“, the filmmaker is back, with the humor and frankness of its own on his career and his films.

The presentation of the book by its author

I remember.

I remember what ?

Ah yes, I remember that the editor of this book asked me to write a small presentation text.

Knowing that the publisher is none other than the younger brother of the author (eleven years apart), the author remembers a lot of things, including the following :

When the editor was five years old, I was so sixteen.

I remember that I organised competitions pénos. Each in his turn in goal. The first person who gets to ten. My trick was to conduct gender 7-0. Then let me back, or overtake me. Therefore 8/7 for him, I go back to… 9/8… ball game… And finally, he wins ! He has never realized anything, and I never dared to tell him the truth. I know this text is going to be a shock.

At the same time, it doesn’t matter a bit, since the “I remember” speak of the cinema.

For example, memories of Delicatessen, the exciting story of a butcher whose bed squeaks. The City of lost children, where we learn that it is healthy to allow children to belch after eating of a sausage. Alien, resurrection, drama œdipien, Amélie, the story of a garden gnome who eats raspberries in her fingertips, if I remember correctly. Even that.

In short, more than 500 “I remember” more serious than these. Even still…

My opinion on the book

Before discovering the filmmaker we discover the man. The child to be more exactly. The child who becomes a cinephile. And the world in which he lives. Very different from our, but also far enough away from “her universe”. A shift that’s going to feed her inspiration, and strongly be in his films, with characters also in the margins of “normal people”.

The book is not necessarily chronological, for all that, since after it switches to the pubs and grants a great part to the pub Chanel tour with Audrey Tautou in the years 2000, well after his beginnings in the business.

And then passes it on to his films in chronological order. And it is here that the collection of anecdotes sympathetic, but just too… anecdotal becomes interesting for any apprentice film director, and even exciting for a fan of Jean-Pierre Jeunet.

In addition to many practical tips on the staging to speak of, we discover its working relationship with the actors, his operation to write, to prepare a film, their habits of shooting. He does not hesitate to address its difficulties, without language and without rejecting the fault on others.

Finally, we learn that he does not in his heart the infamous and powerful producer Harvey Weinstein, with whom he was brought in to work multiple times.

A few excerpts

About Gérard Depardieu : on the second day, when I decided I wanted to start to build a plan, he could not help but say to myself : “Ah, there it is, it will come out the box to fuck the flies “…

About his collaboration with Chanel : I brought two ideas. The second is sold very easily. I say to Mr. Wertheimer, the owner of Chanel : “All the same, it will take you to a quote.” I will always remember her little pout meaning : ” it will not be a problem…”

About Alien : During the realization of the storyboard, I had set as a principle to find a personal idea by sequence. It was my way of me capturing the film.

All the directors with whom I became friends in Hollywood were as if by chance expatriates (Atom Egoyan, Danny Boyle, Roland Emmerich, John Woo, Wim Wenders, Luc Besson, Lee Tamahori, Rober Rodriguez, Simon West).

About un long dimanche de fiançailles : taking Advantage of the many cranes of the shoot, I made plans to air the battle-field and shell-holes. According to some theorists, it is a sacrilege, because the camera should represent the point of view of someone. {…} let’s say that of the poet.

Additional info

Book published by Editions Lettmotif

260 pages, 500 anecdotes, 15 illustrations

Price : 18€ TTC

Available on Amazon

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