Strength Through Unity
by Fabien Lemercier
20/07/2005 - Born in 1966 and 1965 respectively in Lourdes (Hautes-Pyrénées), Arnaud and Jean-Marie Larrieu fist caught the film-making bug in the company of their grandfather, who made his own 16 mm films. Infected by the virus, the brothers, even in their teenage years, direct home-made Super 8 films before electing to study literature and philosophy, during which time they attempt, and fail, to achieve entry to FEMIS (the French National Film School). In spite of the twenty years or so they spend in Paris, it is in their homeland that they will do most of their filming. A Pyrenean identity which, in the words of Arnaud Larrieu, "is more complicated than it would first appear. The French have a particular attitude to the provinces, which they tend to look at askance. We are not defending one region against the rest of the world. The Pyrenees are just a studio we know like the back of our hand."
From 1987 onwards, the Larrieus produce one short film after the other, both taking it in turn to write the script and direct: Court voyage (1987) and Les Baigneurs (1991) for Jean-Marie (1991), Temps couvert (1988) and Bernard ou les apparitions (1993) for Arnaud, the sole exception to this pendulum being the medium-length docufiction Ce jour-là (1992), officially directed by both. But their names always appear together at the editing stage, even if Arnaud is the only one whose name appears on the credits. Just in passing, the brothers even join the cast in 1989 with roles as hunters in Antonin, one of Yves Caumon’s FEMIS-produced short films which the Larrieus also co-produced. 14 years on, they will again have lines to learn in their second feature film, A Man, A Real Man, in which they play the Ramos brothers, two mountain climbers.
After Jean-Marie’s solo experience in 1998 as assistant director of the middle-length filmSolo tu, the brothers will make their feature filmmaking debut together in 1999 with Fin d'été, the tale of a community living on the fringes of society in one of the Black Mountain valleys. The film puzzles the critics, but also intrigues them to the point where several of the industry’s top press organs give the middle-length film La Brèche de Roland (2000) the thumbs-up and hail the Larrieus’ second full-length film, A Man, A Real Man (2003), both films staring Mathieu Amalric. A buzz that will reap benefits when it comes to casting To Paint or Make Love before selection in the official competition at Cannes last May brings the name of the Larrieu brothers to the attention not just of French audiences but to filmgoers the world over.
As joint directors:
To Paint or Make Love (2005) LM
A Man, A Real Man (2003) LM
Madonna à Lourdes (2001) CM
La Brèche de Roland (2000) MM
Fin d'été (1999) LM
Ce jour-là (1992) MM Docu-Fiction
Bernard ou les apparitions by Arnaud Larrieu (1993) CM
Les Baigneurs by Jean-Marie Larrieu (1991) CM
Temps couvert by Arnaud Larrieu (1988 ) CM
Court voyage by Jean-Marie Larrieu (1987) CM