[INTERVIEW] Robert Guédiguian

We met the director Robert Guédiguian in Bordeaux, on the occasion of the presentation of his latest film A CRAZY STORY (Read our review). Passionate and exciting, he shared with us the fruit of his reflections and of his work.

The story

It is difficult to make a film on the subject, I’ve found the key that I didn’t have to start a scenario in the book of José Gurriaran, which I’m freely inspired. It is heroic to me : he went up to meet with those who had committed the attack in which he was injured. It has a true political consciousness, he tries to understand before judging, as my character of Gilles. I don’t like the word ‘collateral” damage to define Gilles, I prefer the word trauma. José is not, of course went to meet the mother, but I needed that this mother becomes the universal mother, who is sharing at the end, Gilles operating a quasi-substitution after the death of his son. I also wanted to address the subject of forgiveness, because as was written Jankélévitch, to get the forgiveness, you should ask.

What I wanted to do, this is not a documentary nor a political film, but a film of historical and incarnate being, with emotions.

As to the vigilantes of Operation Nemesis, which means “Vengeance and Justice”, they were limited to two performances by the avenger, to avoid the excitement and the pleasure to see him die the Turks. They were instructed to take and organize the media coverage of the story of the genocide ; there was a clear strategy on the part of this organization. This is what happened at the trial of Soghomon Tehlirian, which I have read all the minutes, which referred to its release as the “contentment of the heart”.

The liberties taken with the Story and the role of transmission

Historians picky I have often been criticized for taking liberties with History, as for the Army of Crime. But it has not prevented the film to be shown in all high schools. This is important to me is that we serve, that through him we learn something from it, that one feels more intelligent and understand the Story through the emotion of fiction.

I am a filmmaker and I make sometimes with the Story, I am obliged to the fiction : the time is different. I had the desire to be as comprehensive as possible on Armenia to properly calibrate the positions. How dies the Turkish Ambassador is a work of fiction, in reality he was killed at point-blank range on the Bridge Bir Hakheim and no other casualties were reported. And the church has really been a busy one, April 24, by the forces of law and Order was not in Marseille but in Paris.

“I didn’t want to make a documentary, but a film is more historical than political, embodied with emotions.”

I have not met other victims of terrorist attacks, the book of José me was enough. I took the advice of the founders of ASALA, who work today in the humanitarian works in connection with Armenia. But it must be remembered that at the time of the attacks, Turkey was a fascist dictatorship and military that Beirut was the place international of all armed struggles, including communists, and of their excess. The ASALA has been the most active group, even more than the PLO, with 150 attacks in the ten years between 1975 and 1983. The attack Orly airport, which precipitated the dissolution of the ASALA, whose members are ultimately between-killed, as I show in the film. The trial that followed have been publicized in the media, however, and the activists sentenced, moreover, to low sentences, of 5 to 7 years.

The choice of actors

Arianne Ascaride and Simon Abkarian were self-evident. I also thanked Simon in the credits because he has been a great help, almost as a documentary filmmaker. It is to live the traditions of Armenian : in effect, he danced very well in the movie and it is him who made me discover the songs that sang the Armenians of Lebanon, more violent than in Europe. The actress who plays the grandmother, however, has refused to sing the lyrics ‘”you will drink the blood of the Turks” because it is not vampires, it has transformed into a “thou shalt pour the blood of the Turks”.

I like Grégoire Leprince-Ringet its remote courteous, aristocratic, who did not make it friendly and that fact that we do not attach to him immediately.

My Armenia, and the fight for recognition by the Turks of the Armenian genocide

The three pillars constituting the arménité, what are the language, the church and the recognition by Turkey of the Armenian genocide. The struggle will continue until the genocide is not recognized. There is a job to do with the Turkish civil society, but it is not easy today from a political point of view. Things are moving in spite of all ; 40 percent of young Turks under 30 years of age that would like the Turkish government to make this gesture. In the world, Armenians are lobbying in a strategic way among all elected assemblies, whether of the Council of Europe, of the state of California, or even the town halls of small villages.

I have already presented my films in Turkey, and I hope that I could make A CRAZY STORY.

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