Lunch with La chair de ma chère
In Mimma, the characters speak an imaginary language. The goal was to support the universality of their words, and also effectively to create a distance, leaving the characters unattainable, confined in their world.
However, the main reason was acoustic. I didn’t hear a single existing language that corresponded to this universe. The film opens a window on a child’s perception, separated from “reality”, just like this language.
Mimma is based on a child’s feelings. The film is particularly disturbing and reminds us of the excessive anxiety we experienced during childhood, feelings of terror in the dark, the quiet, the forbidden… Extremely powerful emotions that we no longer experience as adults. How did you work with this? Were you in contact with children in order to stay connected to this “high voltage”?
No emotion is inaccessible. From childhood to death they are there, present. It is us who sometimes no longer know how to see them.
I worked with Denis Vautrin, who I cannot thank enough. Without him, this film would never have turned out as it has. It was a rewarding partnership, and not only for the film.
It would certainly be useful to be able to separate the brain from the rest of the body, but it seems impossible for the moment, and I have no desire to serve as a guinea pig to reconfirm that. On the other hand, if you are talking about separating the mind, consciousness, whatever it may be called, from the “material” body, then I think yes. There is much that leads me to believe this, including certain experiences, and it is interesting to see that it is a widely-held belief in many schools of thought. In any case, I know that “reality” goes much further than what my senses are able to show me. That makes this world without meaning even more interesting.
While the mother seems to be a constant, albeit fluctuating, presence, the child seems to go through several phases in the relationship with his father. Do you think psychological distance can be more painful than physical absence?
Absolutely. Especially with a being that lacks sufficient points of reference, such as a child.
Grief is a psychological and destabilizing process that according to Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross passes through 5 stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. Are you familiar with this psychologist’s work?
No, but it sounds interesting – I’ll have to take a look at it. However, I don’t think all of those phases systematically appear during the grieving process.
In fact, I am convinced.
In this situation, the guidance is both reality and fantasy; reality because it is what happens, the authority that a parent imposes upon a child allows the establishment of limits. That “dear” framework, even if it is sometimes sad, may be necessary, I don’t know. But it is fantasy in part thanks to man’s famous “free will”. Man is who he is, often surprising. And a frame can be broken.
On the other hand, the question of “the order of things” arises, and once again I don’t have THE answer, because my answer is that there isn’t one, neither answer nor order. At the most, only choices.
If I have to compare, it would be based on what I have heard, because I only have a vague idea of foreign production. Apparently, French production offers an ease of financing that not all countries offer. But in an area like short film which includes a variety of different methods, I think it would be wiser to compare all countries, one by one. For me, it is above all a question of the producer/director relationship, and I don’t doubt that there are good producers everywhere. The thing is, finding the right match.
Programme for viewing La chair de ma chère: National Competition F6.