How did Faits divers come about?
I had the idea in New York. In the late afternoon, there was a news programme on NBC - the stories that didn’t make the headlines. It spoke to me, this programme, and I thought it would be interesting to make a film about the local police, with the help of an American cameraman. Then I said to myself, “Why not Paris, rather than New York?”
When did filming begin?
At the end of 1982. I spent three months alone at this police station. I’d been advised to film in a police headquarters where the judicial police share the premises with the administrative police. I chose the one in the 5th arrondissement.
What technical difficulties did you have to overcome?
I was shooting in difficult light conditions. It was a film that was technically way ahead of its time, because the technology wasn’t fast then, in low light. I prioritised long takes so as not to have to explain the chronology of events in any other way. I did a DIY job on my camera to equip it with a microphone, used in Germany to record classical music concerts.
Was it difficult to fit in?
I was put with an emergency team made up of a sergeant and four men. It was difficult to start with because the uniformed officers didn’t really like me being there. But later I enjoyed incredible freedom, for the time, because I slowly and carefully gained everyone’s trust, without judging them.