Lunch with I Made You, I kill You
I Made You, I Kill You is about the disillusions and misunderstandings of a parent-child relationship. Why did you decide to tackle this failure?
I firmly believe that a lot of how we are as human beings comes from the relationship with our parents or our mother/father figures if we are talking about children who never met their parents. I was interested in the failure of this relationship because of my own personal struggles with my parents during my childhood. I am still recovering from that period as it has profoundly changed the way I see myself and my ability to create solid relationships with people around me.
How did you come up with the idea of dealing with the impact of our childhood memories on our self-development?
I simply examined myself and the failures of my own rehabilitation from my childhood. I realised that I had ended up trapped in a victim mentality which, even though it was true as I was a victim of child maltreatment, never helped me overcome the sadness of my past. In my case, growing up, the idea of “self” was to be someone as far as possible from what I saw in my parents, especially in my father. But even if this “self” is so different from my parents, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t altered by abuse, fear, shame, etc. So here I realised that as a child you are defenceless towards your own parents. And what I really find unfair is when people said: “Well, you’re a grown-up now, you are responsible for your own acts, etc. – you can’t blame your parents anymore …” well, I say: “Who is the one who has grown up? Where does she/he come from?”. You don’t have a different brain or past when you’re 18 years old. Obviously, you mature, you are supposed to get wiser – but that doesn’t mean that all the awful things your parents did to you while you were a child have disappeared.
What were you interested in showing when you questioned the “power” of parents who are the “creators” towards children who are their “creations”?
I was interested in this horrible mentality that I got to see around me. Children who would say “vous” to their mother or father. Also parents who see their children as little humans who have to be instructed, not educated, punished when they do wrong, without explaining to them why something is good and something is not. I hate this idea of children as property whereby parents think they can act however they want towards them. Parents who have this fear that if they don’t shout, scream, beat their children, their children will grow up to be against them, so they are “obliged” to show their children who is in charge every time they get the chance.
Why did you focus on the memories of educational abuse experienced by the protagonist’s parents?
I had this theory that violent behaviour can often have its roots in the abuser’s childhood. So I wanted to investigate the cases of maltreatment to which the parents were subjected as children and which continued with the same violence towards their own child. It was too simple to throw some guilt onto the parents and have a short film only about that and also unfair to the truth of these lives. What is almost tragic about the parents in this short film is that they don’t see the wrong in how their parents acted. For me this is something very sad to discover. It might be their own justification of how they acted with their child. After all, taking the blame for having been a bad parent or an abusive parent is not easy at all.
How did you compose the animation? Did you start from the soundtrack or did you work on image and sound simultaneously?
I wanted to find a way to illustrate the cruelty of child maltreatment, but not through something which would completely dramatize the words: meaning that if we hear “knife” in the voiceover, I wouldn’t show a knife because I wasn’t searching for the re-enactment of a memory. So I remembered that in my family albums I have these funeral photographs and when I looked more carefully, I discovered young children, from 4 to 7, taking part in these open coffin ceremonies. So I started with this. The animation came first and the voiceover after. Elements were added little by little in the animation compositions. Same goes with the voiceover and the choice of words.
How much live action footage is there? How did you incorporate children’s drawings into it?
There is no secret, the main character of the short film is me, the director, and the voices are my actual parents. The VHS footage is me as a child recording myself singing or reading poems. The drawings are also all mine, as I liked to draw a lot as a child. The photographs are family photos, from our album. The documentary is a mix of all these “old documents” with the photographs that I took of the houses from my village and the skyscrapers of NYC. Only one of the drawings was made for the short specifically and that is the family portrait at the beginning of the film. It was a sort of overnight idea and I made it the next day.
If you have already been in Clermont, can you tell us an anecdote from the festival? If not, what are your expectations for this year?
I really hope to find some work opportunities from the festival. I would really like to join a filmmaking team as a video-editor, animator, etc.