Breakfast with Jusqu’à l’os
Why did want to tackle the topic of angst and the questioning it can lead to?
I don’t think angst is actually a particular “topic” in the film. It’s a question of the intermittent state that my characters find themselves in; they’re are simply living through the inconveniences of the times. In that they’re close to many people living in the current climate, and for that reason seem to me like interesting characters to film.
Why were you interested in death, or to be more precise, non-death?
The idea of a character hovering between life and death, a sort of angel or zombie, and what comes out of his encounter with Usé and Thomas, seemed like an inspiring catalyst for a story that was rich in possibilities. Jojo needs Usé and Thomas in order to return to being a complete individual. He’s unable to get out of his condition on his own; the encounter among the three beings gives the film its meaning, and each person individually finds a meaning in the group of three.
How did the musical composition come about? Was it completed before filming or was it added afterwards?
In the film, there are pieces that Usé plays live that we had chosen together before filming began for their the way they resonated with the characters’ paths. Later on, I asked Usé to compose an original score after editing was done, with the condition that there be a recurring theme.
Why did you want your characters to traverse various places? How did you go about selecting the places beforehand?
That’s part of the job of the journalist for the Courrier Picard played by Thomas. His newspaper commissioned a portrait of Usé and he decided to accompany him to his favorite places. This condition in the script allowed me to use the city of Amiens as a purely fictional backdrop. I chose the places for their suggestive power, their poetry and for what they represent of Amiens’ counter-culture, its working-class past…
Why did you draw a connection to Emmanuel Macron and current politics? Where did the idea for the quotations come from?
Macron went to high school at La Providence in Amiens and that’s where he met Brigitte. I couldn’t imagine filming the real story of a character who becomes a candidate in the municipal elections in this city without mentioning Macron. Once I’d lined up some of the soundbites he’s produced in the last couple of years, I was struck once again by the violence of his speech. I wrote the scene in front of the high school as a cry of rage, as a way of saying: Do you realize who our president takes us for? And how can we continue to bow our heads submissively?
Why were you interested in portraying a gap between the strong connection that Thomas and Usé have and the relatively sterile ones they have with other people, including Thomas with his ex?
Thomas’ relationship with his ex-girlfriend is more like a sign of the end of a romance. In this instance, there is also the question of their age difference, of experiencing other adventures separately. When Thomas meets Usé and then Jojo, he in some sense finds a new meaning for his life. For Usé I believe the meeting is also one he needed. They both believe, as I do, in the virtues of friendship and strong ties that can bind two people beyond romantic love.
Have you discovered any advantages that the short film form offers?
I’ve always championed the short format as affording a freedom that is often hard to maintain with feature films. So I have to come back to the format in order to rekindle my initial drive to make films, without having to fight to impose my aesthetic or narrative choices, with the possibility of shooting without having to wait a long time. With Jusqu’à l’os, which is an urgent film, I did not censor myself in the least and it’s a pleasure to be able to write, direct, choose the actors or non-actors that you want to work with, and have no limitations. On that score, I would like to thank Pascale Faure and Brigitte Pardo for their trust, as well as the Hauts-de-France region.
Which works did you draw from?
That question is too difficult, and I always have trouble answering it. Many works have stayed with me since my first years as a viewer, so it would be reductive to come up with a list of just a few titles.