Oranges Sanguines (Bloody Oranges), the bloody mosaic of Jean-Christophe Meurisse

Picture of the movie Oranges Sanguines (Bloody Oranges) © Rectangle Productions / Mamma Roman


A couple heavily in debt, a fraudulent government minister, a sexual maniac and a barbarous adolescent: this is the explosive cocktail of characters set in action by Jean-Christophe Meurisse in his second feature film. Presented in Midnight Screening, Oranges Sanguines (Bloody Oranges) builds bridges between souls living in a frazzled society.

Where did the idea for this film come from?

I wanted to make a choral film. The script was inspired by a news story about an event in 2015 in the United States. A young girl avenged her abuse by making the rapist eat his testicles after torturing him. I found this story insanely brutal. But it said something about our society. This was the first building block of the film.

You draw the portrait of a society in crisis …

It’s our daily life and I think that reality is even more violent than this. This is a film that says that in the end, we are all bloody oranges. It's a social western from our own times with bad guys who end up meeting each other!

What did you want to achieve by putting this mosaic into images?

I didn’t have a clear aesthetic intention because I always start by thinking in terms of situations. This means that I wanted the sequences to be in perpetual movement and that the movements change according to the characters. I often work with two cameras because from one shot to the next, the same thing never emerges. The “shot reverse shot” technique, I find that futile.

How do you direct your actors?

I like to push them to improvise in scripted situations. I prefer to look for the accidental. I orchestrate while we are filming and I put myself in an emotional frame of mind where I can achieve what I want. And in the end, I get a lot or rush shots!

You use the sets to make fun of your characters…

My attraction for the grand scenes where human beings appear small leads to a form of absurdity. It is because I am a big fan of Sempé and comic books.

A word on your collaboration with Fred Blin, who plays the sexual maniac?

With Fred, we wanted to create an American bad guy. We wanted a real cartoon character, very nasty and sadistic, and like all great sadists, very intelligent.

And his huge pig?

It looks like a prehistoric animal and yet, it is as gentle as a kitten. For his scene, I wanted Fred to feed him pork sausages to depict a form of cannibalism in the image. But we had a crisis of conscience because a pig that eats pork… In the end we made sausages with apple sauce!

A word on the jokers in the casting, Blanche Gardin and Vincent Dedienne?

I knew they would rise to the challenge of improvisation and they would be funny. But we rehearsed with them a lot beforehand so they would get a feeling for the situation and the relationships between the characters. They had a score.

And editing the film?

For me, writing Orange Sanguines really started with the editing. There was conscious writing for the script and a different writing during the shoot, which is for me the zone of the unconscious. The return to conscious writing was in the editing. This results in a lengthy process. We finished filming at the beginning of December 2020 and the editing last March.