On the occasion of the presentation of the SELLER (our critique HERE) in Bordeaux, we had the pleasure of meeting the director Sylvain Desclous, with Pio Marmaï, who plays Gerald. They spoke with emphasis and pride in the film and their way of working.
What is the starting point of your film?
– Sylvain Desclous : I wanted to portray a man very professional, admired by all, but which was, paradoxically, a lone figure absolute. What interested me, it was to show the behind-the-scenes of success, and the sacrifices. We all know a Serge in our entourage!
Why did you choose to evolve your characters in the middle of the sellers kitchen?
– S. D : I had seen a documentary about these sellers is the kitchen, the place of life of the clients. The salesmen are like actors, there are the best as not very good. A vendor plays, he donned the costume of the time of the sale. Without being pejorative, it is sometimes even more fun to play as it is to make the sale! He must know how to listen, accompany the client and his or her desire. It does not go into force.
Can you talk to us about the character of Gerald ?
– S. D : The character of Gerald is universal, it allows to project into the question, “what is it that I make of my life?”. The border is thin: when I begins to have the recognition in a job that does not please you more than that, how is what I do to get back to the passion?
– Pio. Marmaï : It’s a guy from my generation, which 30-35 year-old collapses and, by default, is obliged to turn to a backup plan, and sale. This is what had struck me in the reading of the scenario, it is the spite with which it carries on a trade even if one is not passionate. And then we see who starts to enjoy it, it is grayed out. So, it is not quite suspicious, what makes it touching, human. I saw a parallel with my profession as an actor, you must be vigilant and keep the passion!
It was a choice of making Gerald a restaurateur when his father Serge’s kitchen ?
– S. D : Even though I love the food, I realized quite late! Of course, this is not trivial to have the father a merchant and the son artist. It is his way of saying “I don’t want to be like you, but I’m not far from you!”. But these two have found it difficult to talk about, like Serge with his own father. It is the former, with circles-vicious not-so-called. But I like to believe that if the movie had continued a bit, their bonds would be strengthened.
Tell us about the atmosphere in which you evolve Serge ?
– S. D : Without doing a documentary on the kitchens, I wanted to evoke this sort of poetry of the “non-places” that the anthropologist Marc Augé has described, these commercial areas which are all alike. I am also pleased with a particular light and with the soundtrack!
How did you work with your co-writers ?
– S. D: They have accompanied me at key moments, when I felt a certain tiredness, helping me to put it in motion. This is Olivier Lorelle , who encouraged me to refocus on the relationship father-son, and Agnès Feuvre who had the idea of the health problem of the Serge.
Your actors say you manage to create the trust on the board, what is your secret?
– S. D: I‘ll try to be on the shelf as I’m in the v –ie, to be attentive and open, and to accept the proposals of the actors.
– P. M : It gives us some love! This is a very good director, which allows for the encounter and has a way to work smoothly, I need this sweetness. He is patient with us, let us breathe. We build with him, but by taking the time. It is important for me to be able to surprise, to shake up the expectations of the director! Sylvain has a real dimension of staging, poetic, a true look of a filmmaker.
How would you react to the critical if adventure it is not as good as you hope?
– S. D: I respect criticism if it is well-argued, substantiated. It can bring a different perspective, be constructive, give us the desire to defend the film, and to return with pleasure into a debate. I often think of the reflections of the book of Bergman’s “Laterna Magica” and on the time of the critical reduced at the time of creation I am proud of my film!
– P. M : It is necessary that the work of the director and production of the film to be a least respected. It is delusional to classify a film as a consumer product!
Pio, do you choose to go to from now on towards roles more dramatic ?
– P. M: I do go back and forth between dramas and comedies, I avoid comedies racoleuses. But I’m lucky to be able to choose to go towards directors and films that make me the good and avoid the ease of the pattern in a type of roles. Anyway, I hate to see myself on the screen!
Interview by Sylvie-Noelle
• Original title : Seller
• Realization : Sylvain Desclous
• Scenario : Sylvain Desclous with the collaboration of Olivier Lorelle, Salvatore Lista and Agnès Feuvre
• Main actors : Gilbert Melki, Pio Marmai, Pascal Sent, Sara Giraudeau, …
• Country of origin : France
• Released : may 4, 2016
• Duration : 1: 29h
• Distributor : Bac Films