Guillaume Malandrin • Director
by Anne Feuillère
26/01/2006 - We meet up with Guillaume Malandrin at the Angers Premiers Plans Festival who presented his first feature film Ça m'est égal si demain n'arrive pas out of competition in the Freestyle section (read article) before going to Rotterdam where he will compete in the Cinema of the Future section. He is currently preparing the production of another feature film Où est la main de l'homme sans tête ? [trailer] starring Cécile de France and Ulrich Tukur, which he presented last year at Cinémart in Rotterdam (read news).
Cineuropa: How did you get involved in cinema?
Guillaume Malandrin: I went to the INSAS because I was interested in photography. From photography, I became interested in images, then I developed an interest for screenplays, and from writing I moved onto directing. But that was not my first choice. It more or less happened little by little. I also wanted to tell my stories.
You have also set up your own production company. How did that come about?
I met Vincent Tavier who at the time was working on Man Bites Dog as a scriptwriter and director. With Vincent, we set up a company, Todo Films, and co-directed a documentary. Vincent got involved in production very quickly with shorts by Fabrice Du Welz (Quand on est amoureux, c'est merveilleux); Martine Doyen (Pâques aux Tisons), episodes from Monsieur Manatane (a series of sketches by Benoît Poelvoorde). I looked after issues related to the more practical aspect of production. I'm more hands-on.
Was it then when you started to direct?
Yes, I made my shorts during this time, and I also wrote for other directors. My first short Qui déménage? is a student film. I made the second film Bonjour with the AJC (Atelier Jeunes Cinéastes) and the latest one Story Telling (Raconte) with our new company La Parti Production.
Is Bonjour an allusion to Ozu?
Yes, but I only stole the title (laughs). It is also a very colourful and upbeat film. But it has nothing to do with the spirit or simplicity of Ozu.
What are your favourite films?
Well, as a cinephile, I'm interested in all types of films. Pick and choose whatever you like! Kubrick, Ozu, Delvaux, Truffaut... I once amused myself by making a list of my ten favourite films – I ended up making three lists of ten films ten times ! Three hundred films (laughs)!
How did the genesis of Ça m'est égal si demain n'arrive pas come about? From the moment where I suggested the idea to Jacky Lambert (main actor in the film and co-scriptwriter with Stéphane Malandrin, the director's brother), we wrote it very quickly. If my memory serves me correct, at least that is the impression that sticks in my mind. We then left for a week in the Lot [a French region] to do some location hunting where we finished the story. The film was shot in two weeks, in DV, with a small team of nine people.
Why did you get involved in this adventure while preparing the feature film ?
I wanted to try something completely different to what I am working on at the moment – a very linear, very simple, head-on story where nothing major happens. It's a film that is almost void of any humour, a little bit dry, in which the characters are quite unlikeable. It isn't only a film, where the viewer is concerned, that aims to seduce.
Are you happy to be back in Rotterdam?
Yes, very. Having had been at Cinémart last year for Où est la main de l'homme sans tête and returning there this year gives me the feeling of coherence. I think that's a good thing.