After appropriate the aesthetic codes of the giallo in their previous films, the pair of filmmakers aesthetes invests the genre of the western as a new field of play, to LEAVE a TAN on THE DEAD bodies, in cinemas on 18 October.
After two original scripts for your first films, how did you come to adapt a novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette and Jean-Pierre Bastid ?
BRUNO FORZANI : After The STRANGE COLOR TEARS OF YOUR BODY, we had exhausted our inspiration. We struggled to raise our artistic collaboration, we did not know how we communicate to one another our ideas and our desires. Helena has read the novel and Cuff Bastid and advised me, he has been sort of neutral ground in which one could find and applied our own universe.
HÉLÈNE CATTET : The book is very visual, he inspired us to plenty of images. It was already very cinematic.
It is the duality between the shade and the mediterranean sun that interested you in this project ?
B. F : Our previous film, The Strange color tears of your body, takes place in a space more claustrophobic, filmed in decor of art nouveau in Brussels, so in an atmosphere of more northerly and more dark. We need to breathe, to get out of this atmosphere, and we keep a good memory of the second part of’BITTER (their first film) filmed outdoors, in full sun. We wanted to find the same colors, the same type of mediterranean décor, and turn with the same roll. The other interesting part of the project came from the work on the darkness that was already present in the book, there were already notions very evocative of various degrees of darkness. We wanted, therefore, a project that allowed us to mix up a work around at night, especially of the american night that we had already used in Bitter, and the darkness such that it is used in The Strange color tears of your body which is more of a work on the darkness, the black, and the loss of reference points.
H. C : We wanted to make maximum use of the palette aesthetic of shadows, light, silhouettes to try to talk to characters, place them in the narrative with their different facets.
B. F : In our films, there are always these faceless characters. This is the theme of the fear of the unknown that has been following us since our first short films.
These aesthetic effects, therefore, serve to create mystery around the characters ? You have preferred this treatment to the installation of a psychology ?
H. C : this is what we had talked about in the novel; Cuff stood out from the polar French with characters defined by their actions. We write a story in the present, the characters are not surrounded by a screed psychologisant that allows the viewer to locate them from the beginning. No, it is necessary to gradually discover their behaviors and the choices they make, in order to understand their place in the narrative.
Hence the importance of a cast of faces and strong personalities (Bernie Bonvoisin, Elina Löwensohn, Stéphane Ferrara) ?
H. C : We have thought from the beginning in terms of group, we were looking for personalities who interacted well together; who would head to that, which would support the gaze, etc, It took us a year.
B. F : In the castings, we were filming each time only one sequence with only one player, and then you tried and then the combinations at several to see where the interactions were working.
Beyond the characters, we understand that you are looking to create icons for films. As in your two previous films, an icon of women finds its place in the image.
H. C : It is true that we will often draw our references in a film with strong images, especially in the western and the giallo.
B. F : there has clearly been with us a fascination for the female icons. In my case, one of the first images of the film to have me moved, it was Anita Ekberg, dazzling in Dolce Vita. In developing the scenario, having regard to our culture, our tastes and our desires movie, naturally enough, the character of Luce has taken the central place. It is a figure of a strong woman, but we didn’t want to give him a hand, “Jason Bourne women”, where she would have been in the forefront of the action, to shoot in all directions, fighting etc, in The end, it has an exterior point of view, the withdrawal of these men a little “animals, cattle”. It appears as a kind of ghost, or angel…
H. C : An angel of freedom.
It is through the character of Luce that you want to “hijack” the western genre ?
H. C : We wish that a turning point appears in the plot, that we should take a step back, change your point of view. And the viewer sees the whole as a performance art, a happening. Where the work of scenography, choreography and cutting around this situation of western.
B. F : This point of view is brought by the character of Luce, who in the book is more secondary in the movie. There, we made it a central character, it’s sort of his mental universe, which pervades the film.
One often associates your movies in fantastic cinema. It is in a failover such that the porosity with the fantastic appears.
H. C : Yes, it is a turning point fantastic, I would say dreamlike to be more fair. While being respectful of the novel origin and the universe of authors, it is through this dreamlike dimension that we add to the story our filmmakers.
B. F : These are the same actions that are told, the scheme of the western remains apparent, but seen through a prism of poetic.
Projects after that ?
B. F : We are working on the third part of’Amer and The Strange color tears of your body, and on an animated film for adults that we expect to realize in Japan.
Interview by Arkham