Tell us how your film began.
The frustration caused by forbidden fruit was the subject of our last film Haramiste. And in this, the second part of our diptych, we wanted to explore how such frustration leads to violence. It then follows that what is forbidden provokes violence, and that a society freed from its cultural prisons and taboos would also lead to the reintroduction of more equality, more fulfilment, and more love, and that it's only a short step from there to the utopia underlying these observations.
What was the atmosphere like on set? Any anecdotes to share?
We shot 410 pages of screenplay in 18 days of filming with no extra hours. That goes to show that the actors knew their lines, and that we went full steam ahead.
A few words about your actors?
Five young actors selected from the 1,900 we auditioned over 14 months, by our amazing casting director Johanna Lecomte. They stood out for their imagination, humour, intelligence, timing, and their take on the world presented to them, which they knew perfectly well. We came across Souad Arsane on a skateboard in Porte de Clignancourt at 8 in the morning, four years ago. She was an academic underachiever, just like me. She'd never even dreamed of being an actor, but turned out to be supert-talented. The film only shows part of her talent, because she was just as extraordinary in all the other roles – both male and female – when we switched characters in rehearsal. She can make you laugh and cry, and can memorise 60 pages of text per day, enough to prompt her partners. Inas Chanti, studying for a Master's in Law, has her head well screwed on. During the casting, she made all her colleagues laugh their heads off, one by one, until she was faced with Souad, the only one to resist. She's a modern-day Louis de Funès, but can be as heart-wrenching as in Sextape. Sidi Mejai sparkles with unexpected invention when the cameras begin to turn. He embodies the character's total lack of awareness of the horrors he is capable of. Mehdi Dahmane is Sidi's whiteface clown. And Elis Gardiole, a steward in the civilian world, is the flesh and blood incarnation of the film's utopia – a ray of sunshine.
What did you learn while making the film?
A load of vocabulary from the wonderful language used by the characters and actors!
I was inspired by all the fantastic people involved in making the film. The actors, the technicians – many of whom were with me in my first feature film, 25 years ago! Anne-Sophie Nanki, who I wrote so many screenplays with before we finally nailed this one. The producer Annabelle Bouzom who I spent 30 years looking for, and who is the first person not to find my work methods insane.
What's your view on French cinema?
It regularly produces immense filmmakers: Luc Moullet, Joseph Morder, Benoit Forgeard, Antonin Peretjatcko, Julie de Halleux and more besides.
Can you tell us something about your next project?
As I haven't made a feature film for 18 years, but never stopped writing, I've got loads, for film, for series, for kids, for adults. Let's see what gets made!