Edouard Waintrop • General Delegate of the Directors’ Fortnight
by Fabien Lemercier
Cineuropa: You have announced that your selection is made up of films to delight audiences. Is this the Directors’ Fortnight’s new editorial line?
Edouard Waintrop: I don’t understand it when people say that they will make others discover auteurs, and there is no pleasure in it. When an auteur impresses me, there are necessarily emotions involved. If we go to the cinema, it's still to enjoy it, even if there are different kinds of enjoyment, even with complicated films. Filmmaking is also transmitting meaning with pleasure.
You have chosen several comedies, a genre that is usually under-represented...
It’s harder to make a comedy than a “normal” film. Those making them have the double handicap of tackling a difficult art and of being unknowns. Nothing annoys me more than certain condescending reviews of some comedies. Chaplin and Buster Keaton made the best worldwide, Tati is a hero, Woody Allen is very worthy, Jerry Lewis has done some brilliant work, and then there is Italian comedy with Dino Risi, a real reference for me, Mario Monicelli, Comencini… But I wasn’t going to organise a comedy festival. I like all kinds of films, including comedies. As far as French films go, for example, we will screen two comedies and two quite dark first features.
You watched about 1,400 feature films before you made your selection. What are the tendencies in world cinema?
The influence of television has been devastating. There are lots of shots of the back of characters' necks, lots of cameras on shoulders going all sorts of places without us really knowing why... The art of making images has taken a dramatic fall almost everywhere because people think that, as long as they follow a main character, it will work. Yet there is nothing less expressive than a neck, while a face is the complete opposite. The art of shooting is still what Rohmer said about Murnau: knowing where to place the camera and, from there, composing the shot.
Your film selection includes French, Spanish, Swiss, and British films. What of other European films?
A Scandinavian film was almost chosen, but I had to make a choice as I didn’t want too many films. I was disappointed by the Italian films, of which I am usually a great fan, even if I found Romanzo di una strage by Marco Tullio Giordana very interesting. But I wondered whether the nuances in the subject would really be understood at an international level. In Eastern Europe we didn’t see anything fascinating, with their film sectors producing relatively little for different reasons, like Hungary facing one of the biggest crises of its history.
Some of your predecessors had a policy of no communication with the official selection. What about you?
You don’t have to stop all communication to be independent. You just have to feel strong enough to be able to discuss things. I’m on good terms with Gilles Jacob and Thierry Frémaux, and I don’t intend to change this. Of course, it always creates problems [laughs] when you choose films because there’s always someone you would like but who makes it to the official selection. It happened with two films, but this is nothing, and good for those who chose to go to the Certain Regard over coming to us!