The 2013 Filmmakers I
Pierre Mazingarbe: WHAT MAKES ME TAKE THE TRAINUntil the start of the festival, we are going to introduce this year's filmmakers and their films: Pierre Mazingarbe: WHAT MAKES ME TAKE THE TRAIN, France
How/When did you decide to become a
At the festival in Clermont-Ferrand I told an actress that I was writing a script for someone like her. She asked me to let her read it. So I was trapped and had to write it for real. She liked it. So I was trapped again and I needed to find a team to shoot the film. I found one, so I had to shoot it... That's how I made my first short film. The actress' name is Géraldine Martineau.
Which situations or people inspired you to make your
Most of the time, I'm writing a story 'against' something - anger makes me work. The past year has counted a serious number of deaths in my family, and I had the feeling that I needed to do something with all this mourning. And as a kid, I assisted an itinerant cinema in my homevillage (like in "Cinema Paradiso" but with more rain - I am from the North of France). I was fascinated how a simple thing like a projector could bring a story to life for two hours. And cinema is bringing dead people to life again. That's why I decided to work on Orpheus and Eurydice's myth - to find a poetic way, a journey, to tell what mourning is like.
Is there a specific movie/director that was the reason
for you becoming a filmmaker?
Among others, "Habla con ella" by Almodóvar was a shock for me. Just by showing it in a different point of view, the movie could make the spectator see a rape as a true love story. And then, the spectator was facing his own perversity, realizing that from the beginning, he was "accepting" an unbearable situation. I realized what cinema could do. After that, I discovered animation and a more 'fine arts' approach.
What do you think is missing in the established film
In France, even if we have a solid visual tradition (Britain has only three important painters, for example - Turner, Constable and Bacon), there is a serious lack of imaginary movies. There are very few people between Jeunet and Resnais, except maybe Carax (who isn't really able to do his projects), and Gondry (whose best films were made in the US). To use cinema in this way is rare. Drawers-directors, like Fellini, Scola, Kurosawa or Wes Anderson are quite nonexistent in France. A new poetic cinema is necessary. And in my opinion, authors need a new interest in popular genres, like adventure and comedy.
If you could make any movie you'd like, what would it
An adaptation of "The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel", the 16th century novel by François Rabelais. Food, wordplay, crudity and earthy humor: I love it all.
Is there something particular about being a filmmaker in
It's a privilege. As far as I know, young filmmakers are supported really well. But it seems to me, that we need to forget our own tradition. It's strange that most of the young filmmakers that I know don't like what is made in France. Except maybe Carax, Kechiche or Guiraudie, our heroes are foreigners: Bong Joon-ho, Bellochio, Lars Van Trier, Mallick or Kiarostami. Maybe it's the weight we have to carry for having invented the cinema, in this redneck city called Lyon.
Is there something special about your filmschool that is
different to other filmschools?
To me, Le Fresnoy, is a filmschool, an artistic residence and a production company. We have a lot of freedom and resources to make movies. People are coming from fine arts, documentary, photography, others filmschools... It's very open, and a place of intellectual effervescence.
What was the best/funniest/worst thing that happened
making this movie?
Actually it was the best shooting I've ever had. Countryside, my childhood's home, friends, nice technicians, rabbits, dogs, hamsters, chickens, cats, and three generous actors. I've also got the chance to work with two close, talented collaborators, Brice Pancot in cinematography, and Bulle Tronel in production and costume design. The craziest scene to shoot was certainly the egg-chase scene - we had ten people, four chickens, a smoke gun and a camera in a paddock of ten square meters. I asked the actors to shake the chicken in front of the camera (Orpheus was hidden in an egg, inside one of the animals). Did you know that after three rounds of shaking, the chickens are automatically falling asleep? After that, they keep on "egging" during a week.
What's good about film festivals?
Debating with the audience and other filmmakers.
Would you like to make films outside of your own
Yes, for sure, I would love to work one day in a huge production. First of all, because the kind of films that I want to make, cost a lot of money: many sets, visual effects - I like to mix stopmotion animation and live action, etc. The visual, the production design is a pretty important part of my work. Even for this little project, we had a stopmotion team working frame by frame, to do the flying bandage (see fotos below), while we were shooting the live action scene. The idea of working with quite a little army, to concretize crazy ideas, interests me a lot. I like teamwork, and how my ideas are transformed by others. Even if it can be a dirty word in an authors-movies country like France, I would love to experiment directing a blockbuster.
If you weren't a filmmaker, you'd be a…?
An Architect in the daytime, a dog by night time.
What is your next project about?
I can't stop writing stories for women in the lead role. It's a period vampire comedy about menstrual cups. No kidding!
- sketches, storyboard and production design drawings
- Pierre's webpage
- An interview with Pierre about the making his film on vimeo (in French, soon with english subtitles)