Liberté as seen by Albert Serra

Picture of the film Liberté © Román Yñán

Following the success of La Mort de Louis XIV (The Death of Louis XIV) starring Jean-Pierre Léaud as the Sun King (Special Screening, 2016), the distinguished Albert Serra confirms his appreciation for the contradictions of the Enlightenment with his newest film Liberté. Presented as part of Un Certain Regard.



What inspired you to begin work on this film?

My love for the 18th century in France. I like everything about it, even the fatal contradictions that pushed society towards the revolution. Its freedom and unpredictable paths are always inspiring. The people too, Rousseau, Voltaire, Sade, Casanova… Fragonard and Boucher were references too.

Please describe your working method and the atmosphere on set. Anecdotes welcome.

The film is about a “cruising” area where everything is levelled, rich and poor, handsome and ugly, men and women, master and servant… I did the same thing with the cast: I mixed famous actors, with technicians that became actors, with non-professional actors found on Facebook, with people from my small town, with theatre actors… No rules, only my love for chaos and my hate for actors' vanity. 

Please share a few words about your actors.

I like them all. They are better than me in some respects. They are fragile, something that was nice to see during filming. I think it’s necessary to convey some innocence. I don´t like fragile people in real life, so it’s like a dream to be there with them and not be bothered by this. You are obliged to accept the unacceptable during the shooting, me and them. This is what I like.

What did you learn while making this film?

I learnt not to rely on past achievements, as it’s the beginning of the end. I'm very aware of this. And I was also taught a cruel life lesson as a result of a big mistake I made, but it’s personal, I can’t talk about it. 

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?  What were the sources of your inspiration?

The intuition that with digital technology the shooting of a film could be extremely playful. My sources of inspiration where my own friends, the popular music and the experimental cinema of the 60s, and all the classical avant-garde artists of the beginning of the 20th century. I was deeply inspired by some film critics of the 60s too! They were a capital influence in my life. 

What are your views on the Spanish film industry?

It’s awful. There is no future there. The establishment of the cinema is so blind and mediocre, it’s like living sixty years ago with the dictatorship. They don’t have respect for the real filmmakers, it’s dire, believe me.

Can you tell us about your next project? 

It’s called I AM AN ARTIST and it’s about a young present-day artist. It’s satirical and tender, and it will be an original description of the inner process of creation, free of clichés of course.