Lunch with L’Arrivée du Soleil dans votre signe [The Arrival of the Sun in Your Sign]
Are the characters Karine and Sylvain based on real people? How did you come up with the idea for their meeting?
I’ve travelled alone frequently and observed that, among solitary travelers, there are those who intend to remain alone and those who take every opportunity to chat up others. That observation allowed me to write about something broader: what we project onto the other and what we tell about ourselves, and the way some encounters, even brief ones, change our lives and build us up.
How did you go about casting the actors?
There wasn’t a casting call per se. I put less weight on pre-established characteristics for the parts as on my desire to film with people whose presence, voice and movements affected me, and on the complementarity that would exist between them. I’m glad to have been able to make this film with Laetitia Spigarelli and Jean-Benoît Ugeux who were obvious choices to me even before I met them. Their sensitivity towards each other and their understanding of the project confirmed my desire to work with them.
Tell us a little about the conditions on set, especially at sea.
The idea was always to film with a small crew making genuine crossings to Corsica, because we wanted to get most of the real context. Since the ferries run at night too, we soon decided to film during the day and sleep on board to facilitate the logistics. Then Covid hit, which lost us a year and made it impossible to make plans: fewer crossings and especially no heads-up on the rotation of ships used, each of which is very different from the others… Since we didn’t have the option of scouting each one, I studied photos and maps of the different ships in circulation so we could adapt to whatever we found ourselves with. In the end, we filmed on four boats. The changes were a huge constraint, but they also made sure we didn’t take up too much of the crew’s time. We also had to come to terms with the very loud sound environment, with the windows that had blue sun-blocking filters that weren’t great for the images and especially with the health protocols that forced me to be more hands on than I would have imagined in order to avoid masks on people’s faces.
Tell us about your journey as a filmmaker.
My journey as a filmmaker is brand new, this is my first film! As a child and teenager, I always took courses in the dramatic arts thinking I’d become an actress, then I studied film at university before I entered la Fémis in distribution / operations. I then worked as a movie theater operator and programmer in France and abroad. Actually, for a long time my connection to film has been as a film buff; I haven’t been particularly attracted to sets and creation. Then for two years, I was in charge of film at the French Institute of Lebanon in Beirut where my work was broader, and I came into more direct contact with directors, scriptwriters and producers. That was a decisive experience in my journey and in my decision, once I returned to France, to move closer to the creative end, first as an assistant director then developing my own projects.
What are you currently working on?
Keeping at it! I’ve begun writing several films but I’d mostly like to be able to film faster this time and a bit differently. For this first film, I needed to have a very tight script, obviously for the financing, but also to convince people to work with me. Now I’d love to try giving the actors more room to breathe, and more space for things to happen on set, without having an air-tight script, and if possible even, alternating filming and editing. I’d also very much like to co-write with other filmmakers on projects other than my own.
Is there a particular short film that has made a strong impression on you?
I hugely admire Guillaume Brac’s A World Without Women and Emmanuel Marre’s Le film de l’été (The Film of the Summer). I also very much like all of Valérie Mréjen’s work.
What’s your definition of a good film?
What Robert Bresson sums up in Notes On Cinematography: “Nothing too much, nothing deficient”. I’m impressed with such simplicity that holds everything.