Lunch with Gros chagrin (You Will Be Fine)
Why did you want to tackle the theme of breaking up?
Above all, I wanted to address the first romantic break-up in a person’s life. I realized that, like all first ordeals, every romantic break-up comes in the form of absolute uniqueness. We are misunderstood and alone, not only because we are suffering but also because the comfort of others is often taken as an insult: we rarely want to hear that our pain has been the same for other people, including others that we may find stupid or unpleasant.
When did you come up with the idea for the mixture of video and drawing? Why did you make this choice?
I wanted to put scenes with dialogue in the film, something that I had never done before. I don’t like to draw for the dialogues, or else I transform them and turn them into voice overs, I shift the image and the text. Here, I needed a real physical confrontation. I took this opportunity to experiment in 16mm.
How did you work with the drawings, shapes, colors and movements? Is there a form of abstraction in your style?
I work alone, and Rosalie Loncin, who assisted me on my last two films, comes in when I’ve finished the scene. I try to visualize what corresponds best to an emotion or to an action, visually. I almost always end up with something that is opposed to realism. It is a very free method, but one that requires patience. If I don’t like my image, I redraw it.
The uncluttered aspect conveys the impression of drawing therapy. What do you think of that concept? Is it better to draw or to do yoga to recover from heartbreak?
I think that when we are really in pain, we can’t draw or write. We make do with documenting the experience. The act of recording one’s emotions certainly has a therapeutic aspect, but that is not the case for the drawings in this film.
What interested you in Jean’s character and his acidic wit?
Jean is a man who tries to build a love that can resist everything. If love can survive nastiness, out-and-out frankness, provocation, then it is true love. It’s understandable. In a relationship there is an absolute form that is not based on politeness. On the other hand, you need the right partner to experiment with this. Clearly, Mathilde is not that partner.
Lastly, to what extent were you interested in how and why attraction fades as it rubs up against everyday life? Was it more about sublimating a moment in life?
I don’t think that attraction fades, I think that we live with somewhat hackneyed models sometimes, which result in an overinvestment and a fusion of couples that, in 2017, no longer need to get married or have children to be seen as legitimate. For certain people, it is impossible to survive in an intimate relationship from that lack of space, from that tyrannical mimicry. Mathilde talks to Jean about the person that she was when they first met, the person that he seems to have forgotten. I suppose that is an important element. Of course, they evolved through their contact with each other. However, she is still an individual that he can still “watch from the back of the room”, with her language, her tastes, the books that she has read, the days that she spends away from him. It is this person that he fell in love with.
What sort of freedom would you say the short format allows?
The short film is an extraordinary form of expression. It saddens me that you have to go to a festival to see them (even though they are so numerous and enduring). Advertisements took their place before feature-length films, but I thought that it was a perfect place for them.
If you’ve already been to Clermont-Ferrand, could you share with us an anecdote or story from the festival? If not, what are your expectations for this year?
I have been extremely fortunate to have presented all of my short films at the Clermont-Ferrand festival. I have won three awards here and have met people who have become very close friends. This festival has great importance in both my professional and personal life! I am very happy and proud that the festival continues to believe in me and that Gros Chagrin was selected.