• Original title : The Fighters
• Achievement : Thomas Cailley
• Screenplay : Thomas Cailley, Claude Le Pape
• Main actors : Adèle Haenel, Kevin Azaïs, William Lebghil
• Country of origin : France
• Released : August 20, 2014
• Duration : 1h38min
• Distributor : Haut et Court
• Synopsis :
Between his buddies and the family enterprise, in the summer of Arnaud promises to be quiet…
Quiet until his encounter with Madeleine, as beautiful as it is brittle, block of tense muscles and prophecies of disaster. He expects nothing ; she prepares for the worst.
Up where the follow then it asked for anything ?
It is a love story. Or a story of survival. Or both.
Interview de THOMAS CAILLEY
director of the movie THE FIGHTERS
This is the first feature from Thomas Cailley, after the short Paris Shanghai.
And it is little to say that THE FIGHTERS are successful. The director manages to capture a lot of things, filming with expressiveness and to any channel on film. The blog of the Cinema had, suddenly, a lot of questions to ask him. that falls well ! Thomas Cailley ‘s a lot of exciting things to tell us about his film.
the Blog of the Film – How did you come up with the idea for the film ?
Thomas Cailley : a walk in the Landes de Gascogne. A beautiful landscape, consisting of plains, straight roads, forests, and beaches. But from time to time, you cross a rough terrain, a forest burned. It is the confrontation between these two types of landscapes that has inspired me Madeleine and Arnaud. To him, it would be these stretches of flat and dull, like his universe, his life journey. Path, straight. Madeleine, in contrast, would be this fire that can ravage suddenly this landscape, and by this, bring back a form of beauty.
Tell us about your characters, Madeleine and Arnaud.
T. C. The personality of Madeleine, I’ve expanded it, drawing my inspiration from a tv show : Man Vs. Wild. The main protagonist, Bear Grylls, place themselves voluntarily in a hostile environment and seeks, by techniques of survival, to join in the civilization. A man to the edge of madness evolved by an instinct as much suicidal, that existential. The Madeleine of the FIGHTERS has a little bit of it. Arnaud, to him, is defined by the hollow. This is a character whose life is traced, without irregularities. A character’s “reality”. Madeleine embodies this full-just fill it out, and their union constitutes a whole.
Your film could be likened to a romantic comedy…
However, neither your characters nor the situations in which you place them, do not belong to the stereotypes of the genre .
T. C. returns that I had put often before the hardness manly of Madeleine and the delicate, sensitive Arnaud ; the opposition in the characterization tends to designate my characters as simple stereotypes… Reversed, but all the same.
For me, Arnaud and Madeleine are normal. What are the stereotypes portrayed by the cinema, which are not. So I want to make a documentary about my characters, because I think I represent the reality, with this couple.
I didn’t want to tell a love story between two beings of the opposite or same make as my film is akin to a kind. I figured instead of creating a link, a transfer between fiction and reality. This fiction, this is the universe of Madeleine. Convinced that it is necessary to physically prepare for survival, because the end of the world is near, She broods in a world of rigidity, and of righteousness, beliefs illusory. She represents the alternative to the “reality” in which Arnaud evolves. The story is so centered on it. Following the collapse of their universe, they seek to create their own bubble… But the anguish of Madeleine take shape, up to materialize. The fight will continue after the end of the film. In spite of everything, the evolution of Madeleine remains positive : she will have learned, thanks to Arnaud, the confidence in the other.
Did you had in mind Adèle Haenel from the beginning ?
T. C. I have not written the scenario thinking an actor or other. We have launched the preparation step, after the writing of the script, of the characters.
But Adele (Haenel), was the first person we cast for the role of Madeleine… And that was a no-brainer. She was immediately impressed by his personality crazy. It we to surprised because we had imagined the Adele Haenel “serious” of The Apollonide, the Devils, the Birth of an Octopus. Adele, it is a stack, which operates at 300 at the time, who speaks with the speed gun. Its strength is to transform dialogue into material. Then she was in his eyes, that mixture of the rational and the irrational. It is this energy that we needed to Madeleine.
And Kevin Azaïs ?
T. C. It was more difficult. Kevin was initially hired for the role of Xavier – a friend of Arnaud. We wanted to the base, to oppose to the experience of Adele, a player most amateur, find, there, a form of balance. This is why we have launched casting wild… Without success. There was always something that didn’t work.
Kevin attended the casting, to give the reply to the possible performers of Arnaud. So, after a while, it has been observed, and deduced that it was our Arnaud.
The personalities of Kevin and Adele, have also significantly changed the characters.
The humor of your film is very special.
T. C. Yes… It is in fact the choice of betting on the counter-time, the transitions between the scenes. I was looking for a certain musicality in the dialogue. What are the reactions of characters who are funny, not their valves. We wanted to avoid the comedic front : A puzzled look as a result of a situation or a dialogue strange… We did it last ! It is very burlesque.
It was hard, not letting go of it. After three years of shooting, after having seen 20,000 times the same face, heard the same joke, it hard not to wonder if this is the right direction to take. But it was taken. The greatest satisfaction was to hear this laughter franc for the first projections. In Cannes we showed the film 4 times, in a room of 1000 people… And the reaction of the public, always positive, has really validated our business.
Your film is very funny, but also sensitive and sensual.
T. C. Yes, but it is a real job to do with the viewer. First, it had to submerge. In their daily, their conception of the world. This is why we really work to flesh out the universe of Arnaud, his business, his family, his friends, and then that of mary, the army. Staging accompanies this, placing the viewer as an observer to a remote and moving towards little by little the protagonists. Then, The emotion comes to pick you up at the time or you do not expect. I wanted to involve the visceral through the trivial.
The sensuality, it is the result of this. The relationship between the two main actors, our choice of framing that will bring Arnaud and Madeleine, almost in spite of themselves.
We find in some scenes, the energy of the kissers Riad Sattouf… By the music a melancholic and ethereal, the precision of the jokes, the acting…
T. C. No, I am not particularly inspired by this film… My tastes are keeping rather on the side of Apatow, the buddy movie. From the burlesque to the Keaton. Adventure films… Spielberg. Side of French comedy, I would quote more Pierre Salvadori, with his film : The Apprentices, or The Balls of Bertrand Blier.
For the character of Madeleine, I have thought a lot about Javier Bardemin No Country For Old Men for its stiffness, her hair ! In general, the Coen brothers are also a great source of inspiration. I perceive in them a great respect for their characters, as well as a desire to stick to the real through fiction.
The film seems to leave the leisure to the actors to improvise…
T. C. Me, I do not believe in the improvisation, to this heritage, franco French, which imposes on the actors : the natural… For me, it doesn’t work. Ca forces the actors to step out of their role. In Each dialogue was written. Except maybe… Ah yes ! This passage or Madeleine and Arnaud eat around the fire in the forest. this is the only time we let the actors bring what they wanted.
The story of the film is absolutely non-linear, unpredictable. It is a great strength.
T. C. Our design of the film is made like this :
With my co-writer Claude Laland, we went to a cork board, such as those of the school, on which we had put post-its corresponding to the steps of our scenario. The film of the coup, is divided into scenes, each of which has a tone very precise. The film has a form of heterogeneity completely assumed. We could have actually, for the staging, bring in a unit. Instead, we chose to tell the story by the form it takes.
You want to tell the story and your characters through the mise en scene ?
T. C. Like I said, THE FIGHTERS are divided into smaller scenes that make up in the end, four separate parts of the story. With my brother (David Cailley, Chief operator of the film – editor’s note) it was thought to attach to each post-it, a picture of a landscape, an atmosphere, like from a movie, or not. Our goal was to enroll an atmosphere specific to each scene. Instead of blue, purified at the beginning – the part Arnaud. Then we pass on shades of green, the world of Madeleine, the military, hard. Then we advance on a atmosphere yellow, very ocher, when they create their world, finally the end, rather red, a twilight. We were looking to illustrate the frame of literature with a frame color. Our sightings were to follow this logic. The sets correspond to the initial schema. We wanted them to be an extension of the characters, an extension of themselves.
The mise en scene, it also evolves with their history. It creates a hell of a lot of distance between Arnaud and madeleine at the beginning of the film. The us plans, always : is Madeleine, Arnaud on the screen. One look at the other, and vice versa. This is only after half an hour that we put them in the same plane. Then in the third part, we could place them side by side, the distance is reduced. We placed great emphasis on the wide shots at the beginning and, eventually, the increasing close-ups.