Monday, 15 July 2019
Interview with filmmaker Alexandre Valles
Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival will be screening Boulevard Voltaire
*How did you get into making films?
I started doing stagings with my tiny toys (which seems extremely banal). Sound and light (with a record player and flashlights). Then my dad bought a camcorder when I was 11 and there it was a real factory of clips, short films in my teenage room. Then at 18 I made my first short film. It was 16mm film because the digital did not exist yet. I have always worked as an autodidact by watching a lot, a lot of film. Film schools have never interested me. I have always been very wary of artistic formatting and intellectual snobbery that decides what is great cinema or what is not. The unique thought and codes have always made me want to throw up.
*What inspired you to make your movie?
I was upset like all Frenchmen by the terrorist attack that took place at Bataclan in Paris on November 13th, 2015. Apart from the barbarity of this event I was extremely touched by the fact that death, that my own death could be so close. This is one of the first times I felt that life could be so fragile. André Marc Schneider with whom I had shot as an actor in the feature film by Ian Hansen "On the footsteps of my mother", offered me a few months after these events if I had a scenario idea to remake a movie together. I talked about my story about following people before the killing, that the film had to stop before the Bataclan concert. He really liked the idea and we started writing the script together.
*How has your style evolved?
Before talking about style I already think that for filmmakers like me the almost nonexistent budget that we have to make each film determines a lot of things. But when you have no money, it makes the brain work to find different ideas in order to reach the desired goal. I think it's very good for boosting creativity and at home that's what must determine a certain "style".
*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
The most difficult scene to shoot is when Rudy Blanchet and Walter Billoni are at home and there are more than 500 candles in the apartment. I really wanted it to be shot in natural light. But we all got very very hot and in the end we ran out of oxygen. Then for one of the last scenes where they meet before going to Bataclan. I really wanted to capture the authentic. I did not want them to pretend so I gave the comedians very little guidance, they had no text and the wine and champagne were real. This is the last scene we shot. We were all very fit under the effects of alcohol so we attacked the end-of-shoot party the same night. It is a superb memory elsewhere!
*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
Compared to the Misrule film movement and Pink 8 I am in my family of thought and in my deep convictions on my vision of the job. Today we sell art like Coca Cola. The scenarios are written to meet the expectations of consumers. Capital, the promotional plan .... Everything is just marketing! There are certainly some directors who are in this system and who make great movies but it is very rare and it is only due to the spectators who are faithful to them. I know it's very difficult for them to edit their movie. There is no place for the diffusion of underground cinema in the current system because the system of the contemporary film industry is completely corrupted by a pseudo elite who absolutely does not want to share the cake of subsidies etc. The diffusion of contemporary cinema today belongs to this small circle of initiates and bankers. When I think about the destiny and the recognition that the greatest artists ... Mozart was buried in a mass grave, it was necessary to make the quest to bury Bela Bartók ... I am convinced that making our underground films is a real war for a cause just far from these manufactured and soulless products. As Léo Férré said, a great French poet: "At the school of poetry we do not learn, we fight! "
*What can we expect from your next film?
I like to change universes with each movie. After "Boulevard Voltaire" I realized "The Ghosts" that you had selected last year for your festival which is a thriller. Now I would like to go on an initiatory trip, I'm refining the scenario right now. Making a documentary also interests me a lot ... To be continued.