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28 May 2020 à 09:13
"Keeping in Touch": Claude Lelouch talks to Fabienne Bradfer (Belgium)
In this collection of interviews "Keeping in Touch," French filmmakers and actors currently in lockdown due to COVID-19 answer the questions of international journalists for whom French cinema remains a far-reaching voice and vision.
For this new long-distance interview, UniFrance put director Claude Lelouch in touch with the Belgian journalist Fabienne Bradfer (Le Soir).
Fabienne Bradfer: How have you lived through this peculiar time?
Claude Lelouch: I used to be a weekend warrior. Now, with lockdown, I felt like I was taking the first vacation of my life! Seven weeks! I'm a man of action. I've never stopped. I've made films one after the other and since I enjoy making them, for me, vacations are when I'm shooting. Now I understand why people take them! I've taken advantage of this period to write for the film I'm going to shoot in September, to bring it up to date. It's set in 2020, so I have to take everything that's happening into account. It allowed me to revise the script to include these incredible events we're going through. The greatest screenwriter in the world being life, this screenwriter proved once again that it isn't afraid of anything. So I'm trying to adapt the story, "Love is Better than Life," to the times we're going through.
In these times of social distancing, how do you reinvent this love?
But I think we're going to get closer to it than ever before. Love had become a habit, so it's going to become an event again. We're going to rediscover all the little things of life. Everything that seemed normal to us. We're going to rediscover the feeling of doing things for the first time. For all those who pass between and elude this virus' drops, it will be a way to reinvent the world and to focus on fundamental things. Up till now, wealth and showing off had become too important. Now, we're going to realize that happiness is free, that luxury is expensive. The luxurious lifestyles of show-offs have changed the world we live in. Ego, power, everything that made us no longer appreciate shaking hands, kissing, having a drink... Going to the movies, even to see a flop. We're going to rediscover what was normal and all that we never stopped criticizing. In the past, it used to be just professional critics, but with social networking, critic numbers have grown to seven billion. It's now a terribly competitive profession. We're going to rediscover the sunset, walking on the beach, day and night. I think it's great.
How would you imagine A Man and a Woman today in the context of imposed social distancing?
In all things, you have to take risks, especially with love. Now, the risk is even greater. A match is being played between romantic relationships and the virus! But in love, what counts are the proofs of love. People who have the courage to drop the mask in order to honor love will be rewarded. We have to take the risk. There were venereal diseases, AIDS, and now there is this virus. Love has always been a dangerous sport.
Do you see the period ahead post-coronavirus as something positive?
Totally. I've always believed in the virtue of imponderables, which is the title of my film that was to be released this summer. I believed that the worst was never disappointing. That constraints appealed to the imagination, that great catastrophies have made the world move forward. Disasters often turn into inventions, which is fantastic. We are too attached to our habits, and habits are the cancer of life. In the face of disasters, the world makes decisions that change it. The post-war period was an incredible one. The Roaring Twenties happen every twenty years in a century. In fact, I've been working on this project for two years because I knew 2020 would be a crazy year, but not to this degree. This virus seems diabolical, but what it's giving us is a kick in the ass. I want to believe that this is a great opportunity for humanity. All of a sudden, seven billion people have a common problem. Suddenly we speak the same language. It's the first time that states understand things they didn't want to understand. All of a sudden, capitalism undergoes a shock equivalent to that of the Great Depression of 1929, the reason why money no longer has the same value at all. It's a great revolution, without world war and its millions of deaths. All in all, we may be looking at 500,000 dead. That's a lot, but for those who make it through, it'll be a great opportunity. We had become spoiled children and no longer realized how lucky we were to be able to simply go out and sit on our stoop. As a result, people are happy to go to work, to go out, to meet up with friends again. Because it was sometimes a nightmare to live cooped up this way, on top of each other. There will never be as many divorces as those resulting from this virus. Because couples need freedom, life as a couple can only exist when there is freedom. This situation deprived people of it. Freedom is our number one asset. The present, too. It's wonderful to live with someone if you can leave them regularly and then get together with them again. Right now, we're experiencing a great life lesson.
In the short term, many artists have no prospects. Does that worry you?
No. It's certainly a difficult, even cruel time for artists, but you have to be extremely creative afterwards. There will be more talent. If Victor Hugo doesn't talk about misery, he doesn't write the most beautiful book in the world, do you see what I mean? Artists have been nourished by the world's misfortunes. Zola, Balzac, the most beautiful songs as well... Artists feed off the world's crap and I think that they are going to make masterpieces from all the things we're living through. They're there to sublimate. Besides, artists have left more traces than politicians. Van Gogh and Mozart are more memorable than politicians who started wars. We artists are the darlings of the good Lord. Today, we have a duty to tell incredible stories. And I've been working for sixty years with the greatest writer, life. I never would have imagined I'd have to live with a mask. This current crazy state will one day make the material for great comedy.
What would you like to say here to the actors who love working with you so much?
Well, right now I'm putting together a big ensemble film and I'm going to invite all the actors and actresses who have trusted me for fifty years to participate in it. A bit like Sacha Guitry when he made Royal Affairs in Versailles. I'm going to try to reunite all of my extended film family. A bit in the vein of my film Bolero and Money Money Money. The script is so serious that it's a laughing matter.
Latest update : 29 May 2020 à 09:13 CEST