French scriptwriter and director Gilles Marchand presents his second feature film in Cannes, in Midnight Screenings.
his first film, Who Killed Bambi had been presented Out of Competition n 2003.
Dans Black Heaven, he explores the world of video games, a theme he also looked into in RU There ? and Chatroom. An exclusive interview.
Two films, two films out of competition in Cannes… Are your films too different for the competition?
I should probably not say this since a director should want to be in Competition, but I think that's what I am like, and what the film is like in some ways. Something different maybe, or festive in the style of films, but also shiver-inducing… In any case, I really like having my film shown in the midnight screenings, it suits me very well.
So you enjoy playing video games?
I'm not a true "gamer". But when I played, I had feelings I thought were interesting to explore. Virtual worlds and social networks speak volumes about our desires, our fears. For me, in games, there's this attempt to experiment with life, a bit like in films. When I was 20, I used to spend my time in darkened rooms to see things that were sometimes dark and hard, whereas I lived in Marseilles, in a hap^py and bright world.
How did you structure the real world and the virtual world?
The virtual world was created using animation, but it is fully integrated into the narrative. The character of Gaspard is between two worlds because he is between two women. As he gets involved in a relationship, he is strongly affected by another woman, who he thinks is evolving in an online game netweork, and that is how he approaches her. It comes as naturally as using the phone.
Dominik Moll (Harry, a well-meaning friend) eis both co-scriptwriter and advisor for scene-setting. What role did he play on set?
His role was crucial. He and I have the same position in the films of the other, but we contribute different things. Where he helps me most is with cutting, the position of the camera. One of the difficulties for a director is to be alone, faced with a team that is waiting. By speaking openly about scene-setting issues on set, it first of all helped me to relax (laughs) and it also fed the rest of the team. With Djibril Glissant, who is behind the animated sequences, we also communicated a lot. Sometimes, I'd think I was unable to do anything other than speak to people, but that's not entirely useless either...
Do you want to continue being both scriptwriter and director?
Yes, I really enjoy working on other people's projects. When you make your own films, you examine yourself and you can't help but reach your limits. For me, when I visit someone else's world, I feel it is enriching and exciting. On my own projects, there's somehting more painful, even though I also enjoy working on them.
Interview by B de M