Tea Time with Je repasserai dans la semaine
Sophie: It’s a true story that Loïc witnessed. We wanted to write an animated version because this story is full of emotion.
Loïc: Je repasserai dans la semaine is inspired from an experience I had 3 years ago. I was really touched by this moment. It was as if something extremely personal yet universal was playing out before my eyes.
Alizée: When Loïc spoke to us about making this story into a film, we were both motivated by the challenge to tell an intimate story that wasn’t ours.
You are in the same animation school and I suppose it is for this reason that Je repasserai dans la semaine is an animated film. Nonetheless, could you have envisaged making Je repasserai dans la semaine with actors? How does animation make a difference in this film?
Alizée: Yes, this definitely could have been made as a live film. But animation perhaps allowed us to tell this story in a more intimate way through our own personal drawings. The “characters” are not interpreted by actors, but transposed directly via the medium of drawing. So, we avoid an extra intermediary, which allowed us, I think, to remain true to the story.
Sophie: Animation is a means of expression for us as animators, so when we find a subject, we ask ourselves how we can tell the story with our medium, which is animation. It allows us to apply a certain style and create a link with other graphic universes. For example, in Je repasserai dans la semaine, we wanted to create a link with our drawing books as if we had wanted to “draw out” a moment in life. That’s why we chose the stroke of a pencil over the computer.
Loïc: And if we start from the premise that we have an animated film to make, we can focus more on staging than on technique: we decided on a close staging of the characters, with fairly long shots, which places the viewer in the role of observer of the situation. Like Sophie said, with the graphics, we wanted to convey a moment in life, and it was the same desire which guided the staging. Some viewers were surprised by this mixture of graphic technique and staging. They probably aren’t used to seeing animated films in this register. Some claimed “to have the feeling of seeing a real film.” It’s an ambivalent comment because it proves that animation can appropriate a natural cinematic language, but at the same time goes to show that it is still a long road until animated film can rid itself of the image that it has been confined to.
Sophie: Yes, in certain cases. In this case, the family of the “hero” remains very important to him.
In Je repasserai dans la semaine, you evoke the relationship between a grandson and his grandparents, but you do not show the middle level of the parents at all. Why did you decide to skip this rung on the family ladder?
Sophie: It wasn’t in the premise of the film to address the relationship with the parents and to speak of all his relatives. The goal was for the viewer to feel, through this anecdote, the connection between the different protagonists.
Alizée: And also, the parent-child connection is perhaps generally more obvious and hence less interesting to address.
Loïc: In the creation of the narrative we remained very close to the moment that I witnessed. My friend’s mother simply wasn’t there.
Loïc: With this film, we’ve chosen not to position ourselves on a social scale but on one of family and individuals. I can’t speak of the place for elderly people, because it seems to me that we would be ignoring the differences between them and regarding them only as a category of person and not as individuals.
Alizée: Outside of the film, I don’t think that a retirement home signifies abandonment. For me, it is not a question of place but perhaps simply a question of the indifference of the people around them.
Sophie: I think that elderly people are indeed too isolated and pushed aside and that we don’t talk enough about it.
Loïc: For obvious reasons, the start of this project led us to treat this with a high degree of modesty.
Sophie: I would say that we wanted to show the grandparents themselves in Je repasserai dans la semaine modest in relation to their own loss of autonomy.
Alizée: I think we remain discreet but the subject is sufficiently addressed through the grandfather’s physical difficulties and his silence, and also by the grandmother’s obvious uselessness and her rambling monolog.
The intervention of the firemen in Je repasserai dans la semaine was very impressive, by their number, attitude and uniforms. How did you come up with that intervention, in the writing as well as the drawing, for it to have such an effect?
Loïc: In reality, there were also a lot of firemen (I think they were expecting a much more difficult operation), all in uniform, with professional attitudes. They had a “real men” side to them and succeeded in getting the grandfather up whereas Jérémy and I had not. They accomplished what they were called out to do. In those moments, you step back and observe. We felt useless, and almost in the way as we blocked up the hallway.
In this film, we were looking to transmit that contrast between the firemen and the two young men. That is why we chose not to magnify the intervention. The firemen aren’t filmed as heroes who accomplish some impossible task. When they pick up the grandfather, they aren’t even the center of attention. It reinforces the idea that what seemed impossible to the two young men was a formality for the firemen. If the firemen’s intervention is impressive it is in large part due to the way we look at the situation before the firemen arrive.
Sophie: They are all tall and the way the framing was done they seem to tower over the two young men. That surely reinforces the superiority of the firemen in the mind of the viewer.
Loïc: No idea. I’ve never compared films by following a criteria of nationality.
Sophie: French animation production is influenced by all the other French arts, comic books, French illustrators, etc. So what it brings that the others don’t is French culture.
Programme for viewing Je repasserai dans la semaine: National Competition F2.