Kuriko Sato: How do you spend your days in lockdown?
Cédric Klapisch: You could say that they are going well, despite the fact that never leaving the house obviously doesn't make life easy. Luckily, I'm writing a project, and as a novelist friend of mine once said, "When you write, you're used to the possibility of being in lockdown mode."
Could you name some of your favourite books and films that you would like to recommend in the current situation?
The best thing would be to go to LaCinetek's website, where directors (including me) provide their list of fifty favourite films... When it comes to books, I'm re-reading Jirô Taniguchi's manga and I'm quite a fan. For us French folk, it's also a nice way to travel...
Do you think that in this lockdown period, an increasing number of people are enjoying cinema through streaming or television?
Probably, yes. Here again I'll mention La Cinetek, whose streaming figures have literally exploded since the beginning of the lockdown.
Do you think that the current situation will change people's habits and the way they watch films?
I don't think so. No doubt people will use VOD or SVOD more and more, but that would have been true even without quarantine. On the other hand, I hope that theatrical attendances will not be affected. But for the moment, no one can tell.
You co-founded La Cinetek, a VOD platform dedicated to the great films of the twentieth century. Can you explain its purpose and its particularity?
The idea was specifically to create a website where people could access curated classic cinema selections. Most Internet platforms for viewing films were developed primarily for commercial purposes. We wanted to put forward a cultural vision, by making that vision as lively as possible.
It's an incredible pleasure for us to introduce today's younger audiences to classic or just "important" films. We get a huge thrill from "revealing" the Nouvelle Vague, Renoir, Hitchcock, or the Italian cinema of the sixties, or the great classics of Japanese cinema (Mizoguchi, Ozu, Kurosawa, Oshima, Kobayashi, etc.) to people unfamiliar with them. I showed Kurosawa's The Seven Samurai to my twelve-year-old son, and it's one of my greatest joys to share a film I love with him. Of course, he sighed when I told him: "We're going to see a 1957 black and white Japanese film." But afterwards, like me, he was captivated when he watched it, and he totally loved it. He even talked to a friend of his on the phone and said it was "great." For me, sharing moments like this is a tremendous victory.
In your opinion, what role does art play in the current situation?
Undoubtedly people understand that although we are sure that a doctor is really useful and saves lives, in a second phase artists also help people to live in another, more spiritual way... But it is precisely this spiritual aspect that people are discovering more easily at the moment, because they are locked up with themselves.
Do you think that viewers will soon want to go back to the movie theater?
I think they will have understood "the taste of others," to quote Agnès Jaoui's film... This social distancing makes people understand the pleasure of touching and meeting people. Yes, people miss the cinema, concerts, parties with friends and places to share.
The day lockdown is eased, what will you do first?
We've now understood that lockdown won't just stop like that... it'll be very gradual. But for sure, getting together with friends, café terraces, restaurants, and movie theaters are cruelly lacking. Right now they've become genuine fantasies...
Is this global health crisis likely to inspire filmmakers and get their imaginations going? What influence has it had on you as an artist?
I'm thinking about it... probably differently from before this period. I'll give you an answer in a few months.