The DIVINE shakes, shakes, irritates and inspires like a ball in a pinball machine ! In all cases, the film leaves no one indifferent, and divided even within the writing of the Blog of the Film (our reviews HERE). It was able to meet during their tour to Bordeaux the team of the film who responded cash in the crossfire of our questions. The director Houda benyamina l and the three great actresses Oulaya Amamra (Dounia), Deborah Lukumuena (Maïmouna) and Jiska Kalvanda (Rebecca) had always provided the potato almost three months after the Camera d’or at the Directors ‘ Fortnight in Cannes. We are obviously back on the famous speech of the director committed, who sees his film to apply to represent France at the Golden Globes and the Oscars.
Where do you come up with this idea for a scenario ?
– Houda benyamina l : the project has been triggered by two elements : the friendship, which I consider essential in my life and the riots in 2005. I had seen a documentary in which a bunch of kids in a cell expressing the anger that followed, I could have been one of them. I wanted to make a movie about this youth angry, a state-of-the tragedy in which one finds oneself today. We must look at society as it is.
Tell us about your film ?
– H B : The cinema is an outlet for me, a necessity. I’m not afraid, I have nothing to lose. I’ve always had a big mouth. I prefer to make a film that missed rather than an average movie. I’m trying to, I don’t care to get stuck. I’m doing cinema popular author. My job is to ask questions through the film. I don’t have a message, I hate films with messages. I love the film Hate on the form but not the substance. It has been too demonized the cop. It is all now in the same boat. It’s the crisis for everyone, but where I come from it has always been the crisis. There are just people who were more needy, such as the Roma.
Tell us about the actresses who embody your characters ?
H – B: I am interested in the actors, it is the body, the movement. The actors it is often in the head and not in action. It is important for me that the actors have the human intelligence. What I wanted is that the actors can embody my characters without judging them. I am the guarantor of meaning and intention and their work to them, it is to transcend this sense. The actresses have gone one step further than what I had asked for, they are more invested, they are forgotten. The film, it is like a team sport.
Have you struggled to embody your characters?
– Oulaya Amamra : We have prepared for 9 months ! It was difficult to express the violence and rage of Dounia, because in real life I am very timid. To embody the best Douania, I have been immersed in a camp of roma, he had to become like them ! Houda wanted me to feed me of characters from films, I had a list of films to see, such as Scarface, Taxi Driver, Do the right thing, Mean Streets, films with warriors, Samurai, but also of documentaries on predatory animals, felines. The film has made me a more strong !
– Deborah Lukumuena : What seduced me in the DIVINE, it is the bold choice : the casting, the storyline, the artistic choices. I felt a reversal from the beginning, a kind of insolence in these codes are not respected, political choices, far from clichés. I tried not to be moralistic with the character of Maimouna, even if I found the majority of his choices are questionable. I am 21 years old and I play a 15-year-old, it was my duty to understand it. I was molten with it, while keeping a safe distance.
– Jiska Kalvanda : He had to go to something concrete. We worked a lot on the costumes, the makeup, the hair, the scars, the electronic bracelet. He had to find what I could to harden. But I knew that it was going to be difficult, that he would have to go and draw things that are deep. I thought the character of Rebecca, really nasty, I judged it a lot. And then I let go and understood what he wanted Houda.
You think that you have to love his character to embody in the best possible way ?
Answer by heart : Yes !
You do not hesitate to discuss the relationship to religion ?
– H B : This is the challenge theme of the film ! More precisely, le sacred, that interests me more. Dounia, it means “life down here ” and the fight for access to the spirituality, the inner life. Art is also a form of religion, it seeks the beautiful. I often say that I am looking for God in all the plans ! There are no boundaries in religions, as the stage of the Church in which Dounia invokes his God.
You have chosen music rather classic in your movie, far from the rap which you would expect ?
– H B : Mozart is not for the bourgeois, it belongs to me too ! I have integrated a lot of classical music, arab. Music is a universal language, that allows to embody the emotion and my issues themes of a more subtle way. “Lacrymosa ” is a harbinger of the tragedy, opening the doors of the guilt.
That will you respond to those who might find your movie hopeless ?
– H B : on The contrary ! I find that it is full of hope in the laughter of Maimouna, in the moon that Dounia looks, in dance and the grace of Djigui ! I believe in destruction before the rebirth, the tragedy that always leads to something good ! Of course, there is no Happy End, my end is rather bitter-sweet. What matters to me, that is the point of view of each of my characters, understand their actions, but without judgment. Dounia was right, but the fireman also ! The film is obviously in resonance with what happened on 14 July in Nice. I believe in individual responsibility, the intelligence of the being, to our role as citizens. This is what I try to do with my association 1000 FACES, who can help young people regain their self-esteem. I do as it has done for me. A movie, a book, it can be life-changing.
Tell us about Cannes ?
– H B: When I set up my film, I don’t give a fuck about Cannes. Besides, I was still in the mix when it was presented. This was especially the view of my actresses mattered to me the most. As to the remarks that followed my speech, I have not looked, I am protected. Now, I can read negative reviews, it doesn’t do anything to me.
– O A: On was touched, I cried, there is such a range of emotions in the film ! It is like a passport for me !
– J K: It was crazy, I cried for weeks !
Interview by Sylvie-Noelle
See our reviews, positive and negative, of the DIVINE