Tea time with Nuit debout
What was your inspiration for the character Franck? Did you know someone who had lived through a similar situation?
For the character Franck, I was greatly inspired by my main actor, Pierre Lottin: his energy, his build, his diction, and so on. I don’t think Franck is living through a particular “situation”. Obviously he’s skint, but how many twenty-five-year-olds nowadays aren’t? He’s not an outcast who’ll end up on the streets; he’s a little “slacker” who prefers taking it easy and squatting at his friends’ to being part of the system.
What interested you in the idea of having him wander about at Nuit Debout?
I got the idea for Nuit debout after I watched Jacques Rozier’s film Adieu Philippine. The movement was at its peak then. I suddenly thought that if the directors of the Nouvelle Vague (including Godard) had still been alive, they would have jumped at the chance to go and film down there with a handful of actors and a camera. Like in Rozier’s Adieu Philippine, I intentionally left the political context in the background in order to concentrate on the “little story” of the young contemporary man who has to “pick up a chick” at all costs if he doesn’t want to spend the night on the streets.
Can you tell us a little bit about the actor Benoît Hamon, and of the connection between the film’s context and the politician Benoît Hamon?
I don’t really understand the question… I obviously didn’t choose Benoît Hamon (the actor) for his name; I chose him for his talent. I had seen him in another short film, Yann Delattre’s Jeunesse des loups garous, and I thought he was great there. At the same time, it’s true that his name is quite ironic for a film about Nuit debout!
How did you choose Pierre Lottin, the principle actor, as well as the other actors?
Nuit debout is my second collaboration with Pierre after my first short film, Cadence, which was also produced by Triade films. I discovered Pierre in one of his first films, Johnny, a short film by Bruno Ballouard. I was immediately impressed by his acting, his presence, his energy. Pierre is an instinctive actor, he’s physical, almost animal-like, which I think is pretty rare among French actors. I thought out, wrote and directed this film for him so that he could give free rein to his incredible talents.
Finally, how did you go about filming at the Place de la République? Did you really film during Nuit debout or did you film afterwards, when the movement had died down?
We filmed at the end of April, 2016 when the movement was beginning to lose steam but was still pretty lively. Initially, we thought we would shoot using an iPhone in order to be as discrete as possible, but in the end, we realized that given the number of cameras constantly on the scene at the Place de la République, we would have no trouble making a fiction film “incognito”.
What sort of freedom would you say the short format allows?
In order to shoot a film during the height of Nuit debout, we had to work extremely quickly (it took us about three weeks total, from writing to shooting), since we didn’t know how long the movement would last. Short film is the only format that allowed us to move that fast. After that experience, however, my producer Martin Berléand and I are getting ready to make a feature film in the same vein as Nuit debout with the same main character, who will again be played by Pierre Lottin.