The international film Festival of La Rochelle, which was held from the 1st to the 10th of July, made this year’s tribute to director Barbet Schroeder, which this year celebrates its 75 years. One owes him in particular The Valley, Barfly, The mystery von Bulow, JF to share an apartment, The lady killers, Amnésia and documentary General Idi Amin Dada : Autoportrait , and the Lawyer of terror (Jacques Vergès). Founder of the production company Les films du Losange, he sometimes makes appearances as an actor. We offer you the best moments of the Masterclass led by this great man of the cinema, first a little rough but oh so exciting.
Barbet Schroeder producer : I am mostly become producer not to make movies on ! I think that being a director is an adult art that has to do with a certain maturity, an idea that aesthetic.
Barbet Schroeder actor : I’m working with friends, I don’t have an acting career ! A director should make the actor a few days each year, to learn how to talk to actors, to see their reactions.
Make a film : It needs to be involved, to be sure, have a good script, pick the actors… it is a gigantic undertaking for me ! For Barfly, it took me seven years to find funding to Los Angeles, I spent my time preparing for the film, to seek places with Bukowski… I had to make all the bars THE. This is how it was finally able to find the one in which we shot, a real tunnel. And then Mickey Rourke has put a lot of time before agreeing to read the script, and then make the movie ! For The virgin killers, I spent years looking for a writer of colombia, to read his works, I agree with him on the scenario !
Shooting in different countries: For Inju, The beast in the shadow that I shot in Japan with teams fully japanese, it is certain that it was extremely complicated and a real challenge when you do not know neither the language, nor the culture ! But as they knew the reason of each of the plans drawn, the visual result is fantastic, and so much more authentic than the film Geisha turned at the same time by the Americans, with a chinese actress in the lead role ! The Virgin killer is 100 % colombian like the coffee ! My most proud of with this film, it is to be arrived at the end of the filming and to have known such a triumph there despite the scandal of the topic, thanks to the special humor of colombia stands out.
The duration of the movie : The great mistake made by all the filmmakers, especially when it comes to the first feature, it is to make movies that are too long : it is very easy to do 3 hours ! Rivette, Bertolucci, Wenders, have committed ! One thing you learn with experience, it is that, in any case, there is almost no time to tell a story in a movie. Become a filmmaker, is to master time. Even when one makes a documentary, it tells a story. It is necessary to find the economy in the story and discover the tips that are too.
“Barbet Schroeder: “The two keys to the cinema for a film-maker are the master of time and the point of view under which it decides to tell a story.” “
The world of Hollywood : The mystery Von Bülow is a film cut ($7.5 million without the actors), and it has not been easy for the actors to play in the void ! But the two films for which I had a budget ten times higher, The issue (Desperate Measures), or the weight of The dishonour (Before and after) have not met with the american public, because they did not say who were the good and who were the bad guys ! What interested me was to examine the family unit, to have one eye slightly critical, to tell of the two points of view, to understand the interior. For me, this is one of the keys to the film and the basis of everything : the point of view under which it decides to tell a story ! But the public was morally misplaced, he is allergic to what we are interested in we, the French : the concept of good and evil ! I am probably arrived too late in the world of Hollywood !
The direction of the actors : I do not have a method of directing actors, if not to listen and try to make them understand in a simple way what I want. I try to encourage them, they also have good ideas that it is not to be missed, but that I can also refuse.
Documentaries on Idi Amin Dada and Jacques Vergès: I approach the evil, I am interested in the complexity of the characters, not to bring my grain of salt and say what I think. My goal is not to judge them but to let them reveal themselves. I acknowledge that I am a little trapped Amin Dada by making him feel that he was the one who decided what we filmed. I’m amused, but at the same time it was pretty terrifying because I was a bit threatened. With Vergès, who was extremely intelligent, I’ve had the same approach. I didn’t want to be present when he saw the film, and he failed to cancel everything but as he had signed the documents, he finally decided to get publicity by coming to Cannes with us, and sell his books. He even said ” the film is a masterpiece, because of me!” I am currently working on the third part of this trilogy on evil.
The power: I hate so visceral power, even if as a director I shall exercise the power ! The choice of extras disgusts me deeply and in the castings, I spend half the time to apologize, I do too, it’s ridiculous and it makes everyone uncomfortable, but I can’t do anything !
The cinema of today : My focus has moved to Ibiza following the collapse of my mother in her house, that’s how I got the idea for the project ofAmnesia. I don’t have the time to see movies, I have to work more and more all alone, with my computer, in an economy that is extreme because of the topics I want to cover. I still have time to sleep !
Interview by Sylvie-Noelle