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News in brief

14 May 2020 à 16:56

"Keeping In Touch": Mathieu Kassovitz talks with Kuriko Sato (Japon)

In this collection of interviews "Keeping in Touch," French filmmakers and actors then in lockdown due to COVID-19 answer the questions of international journalists for whom French cinema remains a far-reaching voice and vision.
This time, UniFrance has put director Mathieu Kassovitz, whose Hate celebrates its twenty-fifth anniversary this year, in touch with Japanese journalist Kuriko Sato who notably writes for the Japanese francophile website France.

Kuriko Sato - JaponKuriko Sato - JaponKuriko Sato: How are you doing during lockdown?
Mathieu Kassovitz: I'm fine. I'm in a nice house in Paris. I'm writing a screenplay. Things are going well.

This year marks Hate's twenty-fifth anniversary. Would you say that time has passed rather quickly, or the other way around?
Time goes by very fast. Because I'm lucky to have a lot of work and to be busy.
When you're young, you should be aware that time flies and you have to enjoy it.

Today, there's a lot of talk about the inequalities and disparities in French society, made more visible by this crisis. To what extent do you think banlieue-related issues have changed over the last twenty-five years? Do you think your film has helped to improve the situation in the projects?
They've evolved in the sense that back then, the banlieues weren't really known about and now they've become more familiar. Have matters been resolved? No, they have not. But if nothing had been done, if nothing had been said, I think it would be worse today. Police brutality still exists, but people are more aware, the police are more aware, and politicians are more aware. In the period I made the film, there was police brutality absolutely all the time and in a completely open manner. Today, it's more difficult for the police, there are cameras everywhere, they know that they are filmed if there's a problem. At one time, it was very difficult to tell people that police officers existed who didn't do a good job. Now we can see these things, they can't be ignored, have to be denounced. Victims must be respected. That had not changed in years.

Hate was much mentioned when Ladj Ly's Les Misérables was released last November. Do you think this was appropriate?
Yes... The film has inspired other filmmakers. But once the buzz around Les Misérables dies down, people will discover Hate thanks to Les Misérables That's the way it works.
What did you think of Ladj Ly's film?
It's a very fine film. He made his film about his neighborhood, his world. It's very good.

In Hate, the use of black and white was esthetically very controlled, far from the raw "docu-fiction" style. Was this esthetic choice essential for you?
It's important to make an esthetically beautiful film so that people accept the story, accept the characters, and take an interest in them. I use the camera to tell a story, so I have a specific mise en scène. And I attach a lot of importance to rhythm. In order to have the right rhythm, you have to be precise. So I worked it all out in advance. I knew exactly how everything was going to unfold.

Hate is going to become a musical. Why now? How did the project come about?
I've always wanted to do a musical and I always thought Hate was a very musical film. Since it's the film's twenty-fifth anniversary, I was asked to do it. I wouldn't have thought of it on my own but I think it's a very good idea. It will be like a live movie, let's say a big theater show. It's a big production, there will be fifty dancers on stage, with a mix of songs, hip-hop, rap, dance, and special effects, which will offer another angle on the film. We're going to use music to tell the story of the scenes seen in the film. It's going to be fun.

Is the story set at the same time as the film?
No, it takes place nowadays. We're due to mount the production at the end of 2021.

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Latest update : 14 May 2020 à 16:56 CEST

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