We met Marie Monge, director of PLAYERS, his first feature film, with Tahar Rahim, who plays Abel, his hero addict to the game.
PLAYERS is the first feature film directed by Marie Monge. It was found in Bordeaux with Tahar Rahim, during the presentation of the film. Very invested in this project a quasi-documentary, they spoke with passion of the underground world of the circles of the game in paris and from the addiction to easy that they arouse in the players. Both have well analyzed the profile of this kind of players and the feelings that run through them, crucial for the interpretation on the wire of Tahar Rahim.
What was the point of departure of this history in the particular world of the game ?
– Marie Monge : I discovered by accident that the circles of the game several years ago, because I had a friend who was playing as I accompanied a day. I discovered a parallel world that fascinated me. There is a social and cultural diversity, and especially a species of fever that you feel, even if you don’t play. As a journalist and for several years, I have met players and people who work in these gambling establishments. But as the circles very spécifiques in Paris closed down. Wagram has closed just as The aviation and the first that I spent, less prestigious, the Eldo that looks like the one in the film, in the Faubourg Saint-Martin, the neighborhood where we shot. And when it came to making the film, it was necessary to re-create this world and it was therefore a tremendous work of documentation and reconstruction. We invited him to come on the shooting of former players, dealers and cashiers, who are still working in the last circle paris open de Clichy, which helped us a lot on the film.
These circles were not illegal ?
– Marie Monge : No, it is a very particular system. As you can see in the film, anyone could go, even the tourists, by paying a membership fee to be part of the club. They were places of life. After the second world war, in particular to thank the Resistance corse, the State has distributed exemptions to open gaming-houses in Paris. It was like a system of associations under the 1901 law non-profit, not as in the casinos. In circles, the table games are against the bank, as the punto banco of the film. One of the actors in corsican of the film, Henri-Noël Tabary (A life-violent), knew the schools because of the people of his family have worked there, and he even has a little worked as a croupier at Wagram. It is part of the people who have participated in the credibility of the device and of the place.
How have you worked with your co-writer Julien Guetta ?
– Marie Monge : I had already worked with him on my way film Marseille the night. It is advantage of this material documentary that I had accumulated, and then it was necessary to find a more intimate and personal. I had to make the mourning of some of the other stories possible. I spoke of what I knew, as the person who initiated that discovers. We wrote for almost three years, and at the end, we had the chance to have Roman Compingt, co-writer of the Divine, who has joined us at a time when they no longer had a lot of backtracking. He gave the last impulse.
Tahar, the interpretation of a player you did-it allowed them to understand what motivates a player and maybe even become a player yourself ?
– Tahar Rahim : This is not necessarily the money that motivates a player, it’s the adrenaline. The game is like a shoot. If we win all the time, it becomes bland. Je believe that ce who is looking for a player, consciously or not, it is to lose, to be at the end of the cliff. They are taken to an extreme. For the good of the film and the character, it was formed in the circle game de Clichy. We learned the rules of the game and the game itself. It was quite fun at the start, then I went out to Enghien to play at punto banco. I had asked one of my friends to accompany me, in case I would have it in my DNA. And indeed, I was quite stung, I have lost and gained several times, and my friend has finally been released by the collar. And then I returned several times to the circle, and I felt that I wanted to install this habit in me. It is easy to return to it, we find excuses and time. On the set, we bought all of the games and scratch, because addiction affects not only the poker or punto banco, there are also scratch games, or the PMU is becoming just as serious and dangerous to addicts. Out of the movie, it took me three weeks to stop scratching of the games. I’ve also broken my membership card in the ring in front of my friends who told me that, I was hooked. So, yes, it caught me a little bit, enough in all cases to interpret my character.
“I like to go and feed myself with truth to believe in what I do. I don’t want to imitate, I try to experience things.”
You would say that a player is like a drug addict, sometimes lack ?
– Tahar Rahim : addictions do indeed work a little all the same mode. This is no less dangerous to the project of life than to be addicted to the drug. At the casino it destroys everything, it ruins their life. Before being an actor, I’ve seen players put literally their lives on the table. Nothing more exists, in another dimension. There is no window, no clock. The players may be lacking, and have evil, and have cold sweats. It is as if you affamait and you put a steak under the eyes without having the right to eat it. My biggest problem with the movie was the famous scene of a crisis of lack, because I don’t know what it is the lack of drug or gambling. I like to go and feed myself with truth to believe in what I do. I don’t want to imitate, I try to experience things. But tomorrow if I play a drug addict, I’m not going to go bite me in real life. Mary I was well directed and explained that I needed to be just in a physical state, which can no longer think or have a consciousness of the world around us.
– Marie Monge : The game is recognized as an addiction lasts. There are centers and groups of word to help out. In the scene of the word group, these were real players. The facilitator of the meeting with the players in the film is a host of another network, The Narcotics Anonymous. It is a place where people are in distress, a little to bright and the idea is to have the most kindness possible. Actress Stacy Martin had his text, and two other actors were also of the text in case it would not be a grand thing. The sequence is a little tour differently from the rest of the film, as a documentary. They let the word get, and as, extras intimidated, began to talk of their experience. I was very emotional because I find that there are things that are very beautiful that are saying. And above all, we see shame. The players that I met are people who are overwhelmed by illness, and at the bottom there is a sense of self-hatred and shame are very strong. I believe that it is the sentiment which prevailed among the players. Because you never get enough when we win and we play until we get back to lose. And once you lose, you want to do it again. And when you get out of the room, there is this moment of lucidity and return to the life that flashes and this feeling of shame is coming back and that can be lived with great violence. There are some scenes of the film or Abel embodies this shame.
Do you think that gambling addiction affects more men than women ?
– Marie Monge : No, I don’t think the addiction has a kind. It is like the drug. There is parity perfect.
– Tahar Rahim : It is of the avant-garde!
A player, it’s a bit like an actor?
– Tahar Rahim : Yes, I had not thought of. With Mary, we talked a lot about the playing, in terms of definition and dimension. I like to define my character beyond his addiction, as someone who plays the life, and that at a given time arrives at a point where the implementation is no longer sufficient that he’s going to play to the death. He wears a mask.
You would say that the addiction of Ella, this is Abel, this character extreme, violent and seductive?
– Tahar Rahim : The perverse are often charming, they have the beauty of the devil. They attract you and at the same time, they sell you is not what you see at the end. But it is shining, it’s warm, it looks like. Ella has a life all mapped out and when you are this age, we want it to vibrate. Abel comes to move to a place where his life is almost monotonous. And it feels good. I believe that in psychoanalysis, it is called the co-dependency. She wants to save him. But we can’t necessarily save the people.
You have done a great job on the body and the posture of Abel?
– Tahar Rahim : I made a plan to be a bit more seconds In the base, this type of player is nervous, he moves all the time. If I was a little fat, I’d have less raw.
Abel also participates in car races demolition derby, for what reasons?
– Marie Monge : through these races, and before the game, he had to show that there is a behavior, a profile of adrenaline, wanting to test his limits and this energy that Abel search. We learn that he grew up in a garage, we met with his uncle and his cousin. These are games fairly common for people who work with. These are not the races rodeos and classic, but there are a lot of this kind of races in the North of France and Belgium. What interested me in the demolition derby it is less of a speed race than a stamina and know how many shots we can take, because the last rolling won. There is a form of violence, but many turned against itself. What that looks like for me at a table game, because the last that remains of a table is the one who won. These types of players want to know what they are capable of, they want to know what they are going to survive. This is not a suicidal character, but he wants to draw on its resources to reinvent itself with each stroke and start with a zero. There is no competition, this is another gambling that the poker or there is another strategy, where he is to defeat someone.
– Tahar Rahim : Abel is rather self-defeating, where the parallel with the demolition derby : it breaks things, and breaks itself.
Mary, you took care not to judge your characters, for what reasons was it important to you?
– Marie Monge : When one treats a topic of addiction, it often becomes a history of a fall, because there is not much positive to tell. The movie outside of the game tells especially a momentum of love, with perhaps the neurosis and the side toxic to the relationship. I did not mean that the film is content just to watch people deteriorate, or judge or condemn the story and the people caught in this disease. I wanted a movie that shows an adventure that is intense, without the need to see what we earn to live this adventure, to love and fight to win the love of the person that we love. I wanted to feel that there is something very lively and show the attraction and the complexity of this ambivalence. Ella is not unhappy, she works with her father in a restaurant, but she has not chosen this life. The encounter with Abel will enable him to meet it-even in the event of fire, to know who she is, what she is, what she can endure. It is also a player, and that is why there is an s in the title of the film.
How did you feel being selected for The Directors ‘ Fortnight?
– Marie Monge : It was wonderful and amazing. The projection was very moving.
Tahar, you interpret often dramatic roles, to when a next role in a comedy?
– Tahar Rahim : I would love to, I want more. But for the past five months, I have not had a single proposal of comedy. This is not the most easy to make laugh, but there is nothing more enjoyable than to hear the room laugh.
Interview by Sylvie-Noelle
Check out also our criticism of PLAYERS !