Philippe Blasband • Director
by Dimitra Bouras, Jean-Michel Vlaeminckx
In real life, they are a married couple with a child who suffers from dysphasia. On screen, Aylin Aye plays Marie, a young woman who suffers from this handicap, a language disability which makes it difficult for the person to enunciate and to be understood. Philippe Blasband wrote, produced and directed The Colour of Words (news). The second feature from this intellectual (author, screenwriter, dramatist) after Step By Step, screened at the Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2004, The Colour of Words [+see also:
film profile] will be released in Belgium on March 22. Cinergie met with Philippe Blasband.
Cinergie: Why did you choose a fictional rather than a documentary approach to the subject of dysphasia, a little known handicap?
Philippe Blasband: The idea was to put the audience in the place of someone who suffers from dysphasia. I felt that it would be easier to take the subject on through fiction. With a documentary, one feels a little excluded. And the main aim of the film was to follow someone who is dysphasic, to see things from their point of view. I had to find a metaphor to help people understand this phenomenon in a film, the confusion, the feeling of being lost, which makes everything get mixed up in the head.
So there is no documentary element?
Apart from the last two shots of my son, no. Even in the speech therapist sequence, I wanted the documentary to remain purely fictional. I didn’t know many dysphasic adults. Some things I invented, such as the alcohol part. In some ways, the film is also a catalogue of the anguish one can feel as a parent. The film shows them that their child who grows up with a handicap may have problems, but an inner force drives them.
There is more to Marie’s character than her dysphasia.
One can imagine a documentary or a film for television where there would be a sort of pure dysphasia. But personally I have never met anyone who is purely this or that. I wanted to create a character in her environment, a story with more to it than just dysphasia. There’s more to a person than their handicap. It is much more complex than that.
The story goes beyond the framework of dysphasia. Marie made me think of Cassavetes’ A Woman Under The Influence.
Yes, but if I remember well, Mabel (the Cassavetes’ character played by Gena Rowlands) allowed herself to be influenced by what surrounded her. She was fine with the children but allowed exterior things to eat her up. That’s the secret. The common denominator is that central connecting point which allows all sorts of situations to take place. Marie’s small problem of understanding triggers events which, without her meaning to, affect others. It’s very strange because the first time we watch Cassavetes’ films, we have the impression that we are not sure what’s going on. Yet, in fact, they are simple things. The most astonishing film he made was Minnie and Moskowitz. In it the mother says, “Why marry him, he’s half deaf?”. When you watch the film again, we realise that the boy didn’t understand what people were saying to him and that’s why he shouted! It’s something very simple but it has huge consequences.