We met the team of the movie THE COWBOYS on the occasion of the presentation of the film in avant-premiere in Bordeaux. Present were the two leading performers François Damiens (Alain) and Finnegan Oldfield (Kid), as well as the director of this beautiful film is realistic and poignant, Thomas Bidegain, also co-writer of two films released recently : Dheepan of Jacques Audiard and Neither the Sky nor the Land of Clément Cogitore.
The exchanges were exciting, not only because our three Cowboys claim their total involvement on this project, but also because of the obvious complicity woven between the three has allowed us to have another look at the film.
Can you explain to us the birth of the project ?
Thomas Bidegain : I watched the movies of cowboys and indians with my older brother, and I wore the idea to use a community to talk about another. Of course, The searchers or Rio Bravo have inspired me. There was at the time of the 90s the case of the gang of Roubaix, and I wanted to tell the story of our first world war to us, punctuated by the terrorist attacks in London, Djakharta, Madrid, as said the one I call “the Man on the train” – the type of Ministry : “we did not know at the beginning”. Of course, the muslims that I mention in the film are the metaphor of the indians of my youth.
What interested me, it was to tell a transition. Kelly hand and the balance of the world is upset. And it will take several generations to regain that balance.
You never give an exact date in your story, for what reasons ?
Thomas Bidegain : We see at the beginning of the year 1994. I wanted to tell my story as a legend with a beginning, narrated by the indian, the friend of the Kid. But after, I have deliberately not put in any chapter, and one locates oneself in the time at the discretion of the information and of terrorist attacks a little as though Kelly sent us postcards with the roar of the world. I like to put the spectator in this position, in which I asked him to participate, to get involved in the story, be reached him even through this passage of time, otherwise it would be too easy ! The cinema is a machine to pass the time, I like levels that lead us little by little in the film. My proposal of the film is in three acts, with a beginning and an end, but in the middle, you don’t know where we are going.
You, who are accustomed to co-screenwriting, which is the trigger that made you switch to directing ? Is it because you haven’t found a director capable of wear your scenario ?
Thomas Bidegain : All the good directors were taken ! (laughter) In fact, I had wanted to make this film, working with actors, to see them involved in a process of incarnation, which is not the case at all when it is screenwriter or dialogue writer. It is a lot of work too, but I had for the first time a vision with this film.
Can you tell us about your characters ?
Thomas Bidegain : Nicole, the mother, knows her daughter to Alain, she is on the side of life, she has to look after her other child, Kid. Alain, himself, is narcissistic, he will lose everything in this story, even his family. At the same time, Kid, his son will be open to the world and find a family. I didn’t know too under what spectrum approach : a teen taiseux ? A teenager who hatches ? A young man who becomes a father, and that was the challenge to believe it, but thanks to the game, Finnegan has managed to evolve the character.
The young is a real figure in westerns : in his quest, the Kid is going to reconcile the two communities and become a real cowboy.
– Finnegan Oldfield: It is true that this transition to adulthood, which itself has a child, I was a little scared. Speak English has not been easy : John C Reilly is good damn my accent !
How do you work with the actors ?
Thomas Bidegain : I trust the players. I am convinced that it is necessary to know to work well together, it is even critical because we spend a lot of time together on a shoot. We went on holiday together with Francis to see how we would work together.
I even believe that it is a relatively intimate turn. With Francis, much has been exchanged on our fathers, and with Finnegan, as I have a 19 year old son on the son.
– François Damiens : there is no dictator in Thomas, we talk a lot, it has the word easy.
– Finnegan Oldfield : Me, nobody invited me on vacation !
In what countries have you toured ?
Thomas Bidegain: I have 3 levels in hollows in my film : family, Kelly, and the places where we live and in which we are evolving. Usually, to represent the Pakistan, rather turn to Morocco. But I wanted a light that we rarely see in film, a exotic that we don’t usually see : it was shot in Rajasthan, with long scenes with a horse.
“I love asking the viewer to participate and become involved in my story, to be reached itself by the passage of time”
It is Raphael who composed your music ?
Thomas Bidegain : It is a childhood friend of my wife, we talked a lot and worked together. The soundtrack will come out soon. About the song american performer Francis, it really tells the film.
François Damiens, do you choose now of roles that more dramatic ?
– François Damiens : No, I really don’t have the will to move towards roles more drama, I depend on the desire of the filmmakers ! For me, this is important, this is not necessarily the scenario, it is to have confidence in the director, which is not so common. What I would like is to do a good comedy like, why not, the Family Aries (NB: Thomas Bidegain has participated in the adaptation of The family Aries, in which has turned François Damiens)
Your news is loaded, can you tell us about that ?
Thomas Bidegain : With the release of Dheepan, the ceremonies of the Cannes film Festival of which I wrote the two discourses of Lambert Wilson, Neither the Sky nor the Earth and now THE COWBOYS, yes, it is a busy year! I am in the process of writing a screenplay with Jacques Audiard.
– Finnegan Oldfield : the film of Eva Husson Gang Bang spell in effect in January.
THE COWBOYS :CRITICAL