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INTERVIEWWITHGASPARNO

ByGeraldPeary(BostonPhoenix,April,2003)
www.geraldpeary.com

FrenchfilmmakerGasparNowasinasweatinMarchattheMiamiInternationalFilmFestival.He
toldmethatsomeoneanonymoushadthreatenedtokillhimbecauseofhistransgressivefilm,
Irreversible.He'dbeenlookingoverhisshoulder,anticipatinganattack.Earlier,heandhisleads
MonicaBellucci,VincentCasselweregreetedwithjeersandboos(andalsoapplause)whenthey
appearedforthepressconferencefollowingIrreversible'spremiereatthe2002CannesFilm
Festival.
AtCannesNocouldn'thavebeensurprisedthatsomejournalistswerejoltedbyIrreversible's
mostincendiaryscenes:aguybeingpummelledtodeathbyafireextinguisherinthebowels
ofaParisgaybar,Rectum,andaseeminglyendless,noescapebrutalrapeinthecorridorsofa
Parismetrostation.He'sasked:whytrapanaudiencetowatch?
Therearedaysyoudon'twanttoseesuchthings,"Noconceded."Asfortrappingpeople:when
thereareaggressionsonthestreet,includingrape,peoplecomeuptosee.There'savisual
fascination.Ontelevision,suchthingsareonallthetime.Isawsomethingrecentlyat8:30of
peoplekillingeachotherwithmachetes.Inmovies,youhavekillingswithoutemotions.Butrape?
It'salmosttaboointhecinema.
"IwantedtomakeafilmIlike.WhenIseeBunuelfilms,Ilikethem.Peopletalkaboutthescandal
ofIrreversible!Afewpeopleleftthepressscreening,buttherewasnoscandal.Icanunderstand
thismoviecanshocksomeAmericandistributors,whoaremoreandmorepoliticallycorrect,
becauseofthemultiplexes.ThisfilmwillbeRrated,orNC17.Maybeinthe1970s,itwouldhave
justpassedby."
ActorCassel: "Whydoesafilmmakerhavetojustifyhisfilm?IfeveryonelikedIrreversible,it
wouldbestrange.PeopleIreallylove,Itoldthemnottogo.That'sthebestadviceIcangive
them."
ActressBellucci,therapevictim:"Ihavefriendswhosaytheydidn'tlikeit,butwewereonthe
phonetalkingforhours.Isaid,'Areyousureyoudidn'tlikeit?'Alotofpeopledetestthefilm,but
someloveit.There'sareasontomakeit:it'sanimportant,deepfilm."
Noexplainedtherapescene:"MyideawastouseJoPrestia,whohadbeenarapistinanEric
Zoncamovie.Hewasperfect.Heusedtobeaboxer,aworldchampionofThaikickboxing.He's
very,verynice.IintroducedhimtoMonica,andshewasscarednotoftherapebutthathewould
hither.Thatwouldn'thappen.Heknewhowtobox,tocontrolhimself.
"It'satotallyartificialrape.Everythingissimulated.Althoughitseemsacontinuousshot,actually
sixtylittlebitswereputtogetherfrom20minutecontinuousshots.Therewereninemonthsof
postproduction,manysleeplessnights,puttingthescenestogether.Nowtherapesceneis
credible,itwasn'toriginally.Therapist'speniswasn'tthereoriginally,orbloodonherface.
Specialeffectstechnologyallowedustoaddallthat."
Bellucci:"Howdidweprepare?Ilookedatvariousfilmsconcerningrapeintheday,like
DeliveranceandTheAccused.Gasparonlyaskedmetobestrongandtruthful.Ididmybest.The
firstday,weshotmylovescenewithVincent.Therapesceneinthemetro,weshotfourtimes,
andthenwechosethegoodversion.It'strue,whenIseetherapescenenow,ithurts.Butas
Gasparsaid,'Thefilmisnotacrime.It'safilmaboutacrime.'"
Noe:"CompareittorealrevengemovieslikeMadMaxandDeathWish.Irreversibleisn'ta
revengemovie.Theguyseeksrevengeontherapistkiller,butIdon'tbelieveinthat.Weneedto
seethebeastwithinus,andthenrefuseit."
www.geraldpeary.com

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INTERVIEWWITHGASPARNO
ByNeilSmith
www.bbc.co.uk

AfterCarneandIStandAlone,FrancoArgentinedirectorGasparNoisnostrangerto
controversy.ButevenhecouldnotforeseethefurorethatgreetedIrrversible,an
unsparingrevengedramastarringhusbandandwifeVincentCasselandMonicaBellucci.
Howdidthefilmcomeabout?
ItoldVincent[Cassel]IwantedtodoafilmlikeIntheRealmoftheSenses.Monicawasstarting
TheMatrixsequelinSeptember2001,sotherewasverylittletime.Becauseoftheircelebritywe
foundthemoney.TheonlyconditionwaswehadtofinishbytheendofAugust.Thebudgetwas
20timesmylastfilm,butIonlyhadsixweekstoshootit.
Whydidyoutellthestoryinreversechronologicalorder?
Veryfewmoviesdealwithnonlinearnarratives,andtheyaremuchmoreinterestingtome.On
thefirstdayofshootingwedidthelovescene,whichisattheendofthefilm.Strangely,itwas
thissceneMonicaandVincentweremostconcernedabout,nottherape.
Thefilmhasbeenattackedforitsviolence.Howdoyoureacttothat?
Violenceisinlifeit'spartofhumanexperience.IhadproblemswiththeFrenchcritics,because
theydon'tlikeseeingFranceportrayedinthisway.Interestinglythough,mostofthepeoplewho
areoffendedhavenotbeenwomen,butmen.
Sowhatwasitlikemakingsuchavisceralfilm?
GoingtoworkwaslikegoingtoapartyIneverknewwhattoexpect.Youdon'tseethefunwe
hadoffscreen.Theonlyhardscenetoshootwasthepartyscene.Wehadtoshootit20times!
Courtesyof:www.bbc.co.uk

INTERVIEWWITHGASPARNO
ByBrianPendreigh
www.iofilm.co.uk

IrreversibleDirector"Delighted"ByAudienceResponse
Irreversiblehasbeencalledmanythings,includingunwatchable,butdirectorGasparNo
tellsBrianPendreighthathehasreasontobepositiveaboutaudiences'response.
ItisayearsinceIrreversiblehittheheadlines,withsuggestionsitwouldproveoneofthemost
shockingfilmsinrecentmemory.ItliveduptoitspromiseorthreatattheCannesFilmFestival,
whenmanywalkedoutindisgustatitsrapescene,orsimplybecauseitsswirlinghandheld
camerainducednausea.
TheBritishBoardofFilmClassificationpasseditforcinemaexhibition,whilstwarningitmaytake
adifferentviewonavideorelease.
"Itsgoodforthepublicityofthemovie,ifyouwanttomakeitacommercialsuccess"saysGaspar
No,thefilmsArgentineborn,Frenchbaseddirector,whoseemsyoungerthanhis39years,
citingJasonandtheArgonautsamonghisfavouritefilms,alongwith2001andPolanskis
Repulsion,aneclecticmixsuitedforthepostofcinemaslatestenfantterrible.
"Butsometimesthecontroversymakesyouforgetwhatthemoviereallyisabout,"headds.
Attentioncannowfocusonwhatiscertainlyaremarkablefilm,thoughitisnomeantasktowork

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outwhatthefilmisabout,forIrreversiblebeginsattheendandworksitswaybacktothe
beginning,presentingscenesinreversechronologicalorder.
Onemanisarrestedatagayclubandanothertakenoutonastretcher.Thefilmthenbacktracks
slightly,followingwhatseemstobethesametwomen(VincentCasselandAlbertDupontel)
throughasuccessionofdarkenedrooms,pasthalfnakedbodiesinsearchofathirdman,called
LaTenia.
Thecameraspinslikeadrunkfightingtokeephisbalance,adiscordantsoundtrackassaultsthe
ears,stroboscopiclightsflash.Itisdifficulttofollowwhatishappening,thoughthereisan
overwhelmingairofviolence."Myaimwastomakeyoufeeloutofyourminds,"explainsNoe.He
succeeds.
Amansheadisrepeatedlysmashedwithafireextinguisher,likeapumpkin.Asubsequentscene
revealsthemenwenttotheclubtoavengetherapeofagirlfriend(CasselswifeMonica
Bellucci).Thescenewasapparentlyshotinoneagonising,nineminutetake,withjustgruntsand
muffledcriesonthesoundtrack.
Itisnotknownwhosatwiththeireyesonastopwatch,notme,thoughIwishithadbeen.
Irreversiblecontinuestobacktrack,toablandlovestory,butrarelyhasblandnessseemedso
welcome.
Thefilmhaspromptedawiderangeofresponsesfromsometimesbewilderedcritics.Andwhile
viewerswillnodoubtcontinuetowalkout,Nomaintainsthereareothersforwhomthefilm
becomesan"obsession",continuallyreturningtoit,lookingforsomethingnew.
ThereversechronologytechniquehasbeenemployedinMementoandbyQuentinTarantino.
"Everybodycopieseverybodyelsenow,"saysNoe.Hisstartingpointwas"arapeandrevenge
movie,toldbackwards"."Thatwastheconceptthatwassoldtothepeoplewhofinancedthe
movie."
DialoguewasimprovisedandNoinsists(thoughIdidnotnotice)thatatonepointCasselsays
hisnameisVincent,thoughhischaracteriscalledMarcus.
ThefilmbenefitsfromthechemistrybetweenCasselandBellucci."Whentheyareholdingeach
otherintheirarms,itsnatural,"saysNo."Inmostmovies,whenyouseeacouplehavingsex,
theyreverystiff."ButhedismissedtheideathatCasselandBellucihadsexforreal,oneofmany
bizarrerumourstoattachthemselvestoIrreversible.
Hehasbeendelightedbytheresponseofthosewhomakethefinishingline."Alotofpeoplecry
attheendofthemovie.Somepeoplecomeoutandsmokeacigarette.Somepeoplegofora
walkoracigaretteinthemiddleofthemovie.Eachpersonhandlesthemovieashewants...
"Butanybodywhogoestothetheatreknowsexactlywhatheisgoingtoget."
Courtesyof:www.iofilm.co.uk

INTERVIEWWITHGASPARNO&MONICABELLUCCI
TimeDestroysEverything
ByWarrenCurry
www.cinemaspeak.com

"Ithoughtifthemoviewastobeuseful(I)shouldportray(violence)asrawasitcanbe,"
commentsFrenchdirectorGasparNoeabouthiscontroversialnewfilmIrreversible.Having
alreadybeenreleasedinnumerouscountries,aswellasbeingafilmfestivalstapleforwellovera
year,IrreversiblewillhaveitschancetostunawiderrangeofAmericanmoviegoersuponits
Page 8 of 19

U.S.releaseonMarch7(inL.A.andNewYork).Regardlessofwhatyoumayhavereadabout
thefilmuptothispoint,noamountofadvancewarningcanprovideasuitabledefenceforthe
sensoryattackthisfilmunleashes.Eventhemovie'smostardentproponentswouldhaveto
concedethatit'safilmforveryselecttastes.Theeasilydisturbedneednotattend.
Irreversible,whichstarsreallifehusbandandwifeMonicaBellucciandVincentCasselastwo
loverswhoseliveswillbetragicallyandirreparablyaltered,isgainingmostofitsnotorietyfortwo
horrificscenesofjarringlyrealisticviolence.Usingabackwardnarrativestructure(alaMemento)
wefirstseeaharrowingactofrevenge(ofcoursewearen'tyetawarethatit'srevenge)carried
outbyanenragedmannamedMarcus(Cassel)andhismoresedatefriend,Pierre(Albert
Dupontel).Later,wewitnessthecrime,whichpromptedthelethalresponseasavagerapeof
Marcus'girlfriendAlex(Bellucci)thatNoecapturesinoneexcruciatinglylongtake."Thereare
movieswhenrapeislongandthenitbecomesaspainfulasitcouldbeonthescreen,"saysNoe.
Headds,"Still,ifyousee(AbelFerrara'sfilm)Ms.45,orothermoviesdealingwithrapeorcrime
orkilling,it'sliketheinformationgoesthroughthescreen'thisguyhasbeenkilledthiswoman
hasbeenraped'butyoudon'thavetheemotionalsensationofhavingseenanything."
Bellucci,alreadyastarinEuropeandwellonherwaytobecomingoneintheU.S.withhigh
profilerolesintheupcomingTearsOfTheSunandbothMatrixsequels,wascertainlyfamiliar
withthedirector'spreviousincendiaryoutput."Isawhisfirsttwomovies,CarneandIStand
Alone,andthought,'Thisguyiscrazy,buthe'ssotalented.'Whenhewantedtowork withmeI
wasverythrilled,"commentsBellucci.However,theactressdefinitelydoesn'tseethedirectoras
anartistnavigatingextremeterritorymerelyinanattempttoshock.Sheobserves,"Gasparhas
somethingtosay.FormethisfilmislikeAClockworkOrange,it'slikePi,it'slikeRequiemForA
Dream,it'slikePasolini'smovies.Allthosemoviesaresodifficulttodigest,butthereis
something,thereismeaning."AccordingtoBellucci,partofthatmeaningis,"thatthemonsteris
insideusanditcancomeoutatanymoment.Oneofthethemesofthisfilmisvengeance,and
Gasparsaysthatvengeanceisanaturalinstinct.Butforvengeancewedostupidthings.
Vengeancemakespeopleblindandforvengeanceyoudothingsthatcan'tbetakenbackthey
areirreversible."
Whileplayingthevictiminarapescenethatlastsovertenminutesmustbedifficultenough,
Belluccialsomentionsthatshehadtodosixtakesofthescenebecauseofthephysical
complexityofcapturingitinoneshot.Sohowdoesanactorprepareforsomethinglikethis?"The
actingprocessisverydifficulttoexplainit'ssomethingveryintimate,veryprivate,"explains
Bellucci."ThatdayVincentaskedme,'Doyouwantmetostayonsetwithyou?'Isaid,'No,'sohe
wentsurfingintheSouthoftheFrance.Iwasbymyselfalldaylonginmyhouse.Ihadrehearsed
thesceneonedaybefore,soIknewverywellallthepositions.Ididn'treallythinkaboutit.Ididn't
knowwhatIwould'vedonefiveminutesbeforeshooting.Youhaveeverythinginsideyou,youjust
havetofindit."
Asthefilmregressesintime,thecameraworktransformsfromthechaotichandheldthatfollows
MarcusandPierreastheirsearchforthecriminalleadsthemtoahellish,underground,gayS&M
clubwiththedubiousnameofTheRectum,toastaticframethatcapturestheearlierwarmthand
happinessofMarcusandAlex'srelationship."Iwantedthemovietobelikeamushroomtripit
wouldstartwithabadtripandthenbecomeagoodtrip,"pointsoutNo."Inamushroomtrip,
everythingisfuzzyatthebeginningit'slikeanightmare,youhaveglimpsesofthingsyouthink
youseebutyoucannotrememberthem.Iwantedthewholemovietobelikethat."Thefilm's
distinctvisualimprintshouldn'tcomeasasurprise,asNoalsoservedashisownD.P.
Regardingthemanicopeningscenes,hereveals,"Iwouldnotframeitwithmyeyesjustdoit
withmyhandsandthenIwouldshowtothecraneoperatorwhatIdidwiththecameratoseeifhe
coulddothesamethings."
Althoughit'seasytoascertainanobviousmethodtoNosmadness,thefilm'suntamedblast
seemslargelyattributabletothefactthatthefilmmakerwasworkingwithoutatraditional
screenplay."Thewholemoviewasveryinstinctiveandorganicitwasnotabrainiacmovie
becausewedidn'thavetimetowritethescript,"offersthedirector."IhadalotoffreedomandI
wantedtoenjoythatfreedom,soIhadnotimetowritethedialogue(andaskedtheactors)tojust
improvisethedialogueontheset.Thewholetreatment,thedaywestartedshooting,wasjust
threepageslongandeachscenewouldbeportrayedin10or12lines.Ididn'tknowifthescenes
wouldlastfor15minutesor3minutesonpapertheyalllookthesamelength."
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Anartistwhoclearlystrivestousethemediumasaconfrontationaltool,Noisreluctantto
establishalimitinhiscinematicassaults."Whatevercanhappeninlifecanhappenonthescreen.
Formenothingis(pornographic),"hestates.Bellucci,whiledisplayingbraveryclearlyaboveand
beyondrealisticexpectations,doesn'tnecessarilysharethesameviews."Gasparissuchacrazy
guy.He'snotlikeanormalhumanbeing,soyousometimeshavetocontrolhimabit."While
shootingasceneofpostcoitalblissbetweentheactressandherhusband,Belluccilaughingly
reminiscesaboutthecoupleadamantlydistinguishingtheirboundaries."(Gaspar)said,'Youguys,
thatscenecanberealyoucanmakeloveforreal.'Wesaid,'ListenGaspar,filmsarefilmsand
realityisreality.I'mgoingtodomybest,I'mgoingtogivethebestperformanceIcan,I'mtryingto
besorealistic,butI'mnotapornostar.'"
Regardlessofaminordifferenceofopinion,Noisexuberantaboutexpressinghisadmirationfor
Bellucci'scourage."Idon'tknowanyotheractressatthelevelofMonicawhowould'veaccepted
todothescenethewayshedidit,"heasserts."Comparedtowhatshehaddonebefore,where
shewasalwaysliketherewardforwarriorsfightingandtheultimateEuropeanbimbo,and
sometimesshewasinmoviesshedidn'tcarefor,maybethiswasthefirsttimethatsomeone
said,'Inthis(movie)youplayawomanwhoisclosetoyourself.'"Althoughindisputablyonthe
brinkofmonumentalinternationalacclaim,Belluccihumblyplaysdownhermeteoriccareer
growth."Idon'tfeelI'mamoviestar.Idomymovies,butIdon'tgotoparties.I'msurprisedI
thoughtnobodywouldbeinterestedaboutIrreversibleinAmerica.It'ssuchacrazyEuropean
movie,"sheremarks.AndwhilethismaybeoldnewstoMatrixfanatics,Belluccidescribesher
newcharacterinthefranchiseas,"verymysterious,verydangerous.She'snotavictimshe'sin
control."
WhereasreactionstoIrreversiblewilldifferwildly,thefilm'sdetractors(andtherearealready
many)willbehardpressedtorepressagrudgingrespectforNoscinematicmastery.Thisisa
director(likenoothercurrentlyworking),whoacutelygraspstheemotionalandpsychological
impactofsoundandimage,andthedevastationtheycaninflictupontheviewerwhenlinked
togethersoexpertlyandwithsuchprimalintentions.WhenNoclaimsthat,incontrasttothe
brutalityofthefilm'sfirsthalf,"theendofthemovieissomelancholicthatpeoplecomeout
puzzledandnotwithanger,"heseemstoconvenientlydismisstheoneminute+ofharshblinking
strobelight(thosepronetoseizurespleasetakenote)whichconcludesthefilm.Whenasked
abouttheinclusionofthisvisualblitz,Noresponds,"Itgivesyouasenseoffearlinkedtotime.
Youhavethisabstractfearthatisnotlinkedatalltotheplotofthemovieandit'svery
mechanical,soyou'remoreafraidofyourselforyourmind'sstructurethanwhat'sgoingonthe
screen."
Ifthemessagehasn'talreadybeentransmittedinclearenoughlanguage,Imustrepeatthatthose
thinkingaboutspending90minuteswiththisfilmarestronglywarnedtoproceedwithcaution.
Possiblyit'sbecausethiswriterhadbeenexposedtoallofthedisclaimerspriortoseeing
Irreversible,inevitablyleadingtoamaximumofheightenedawarenessasthefilmunspooled
beforemyeyes,butneverbeforeduringtheopeningcreditsofamoviehaveIexperiencedsuch
unrest.ThosewhocantaketherelentlessearlypunishmentNoedishesoutwillcertainlybeinfor
amoviegoingexperienceunlikejustaboutanyother.Whetherornotthat'sagoodthing,
arguably,hasneverbeforebeenaspolarizingacinematicsubject.
www.cinemaspeak.com

INTERVIEWWITHGASPARNO,MONICABELLUCCI&
VINCENTCASSEL
StandinguptoCensorship
ByRichCline(writingasJackLeger)
www.shadowsonthewall.net

ArgentinebornfilmmakerGasparNoisnostrangertocontroversy.His1998filmIStandAlone
waschoppedbytheBritishcensors,andeveryonethoughthisnewfilmIrreversiblewouldbe
evenmoreseverelycut,ifnotbannedaltogether.

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ThebuzzbeganlastMayattheCannesFilmFestival,wherepeoplereportedlyfledthe
Irreversiblescreeninginhorror.AsthefilmsstarVincentCasselsays,Thefilmhasanotorious
reputation.AtCannespeopleranawayfromthecinema,threwup,fainted.Theyrejustabunch
ofwimps!
BellucciaddsthathermotherwasntinCannes,butherdadwas.Afterthenewsreports,my
mumcalledmeandsaid,Monica.Whathaveyoudone?Peoplearesayingyoudidthishorrible
movie,yourcareerisfinished!AndIsaid,Ohcomeon,itsonlyamovie!Meanwhile,herdad
lovedthefilm!
IrreversibleopensinagayS&Mnightclubwithasceneofastonishingbrutality,astwomen
stormintotheParisclubandbeatamantodeathwithafireextinguisher.Itsshotinonetake,
withgrittycinematographyandanenergythatgetswayundertheskin.Andthisisnothing
comparedtoascenelaterinthefilm,inwhichCasselsreallifeandonscreenwifeMonica
Belluccigetsbrutallyraped,alsoinasingle10minutetake.Thetrickisthatthefilmismoving
backwardsthemurderisrevengefortherape,andthefilmisactuallyexamininghowlifecan
changeinasplitsecond.
JUSTANIDEA.AfterIStandAlone,Nodecidedhewantedtomakeanevenmoreeroticdrama:
IranintoVincentinabarandwestartedtalking.HewantedtodoafilmtogetherwithMonica,
butwedidnthaveverymuchtime,becauseshehadtogoofftodoTheMatrixReloadedin
September.
Casselcontinues:GasparaskedifMonicaandIwantedtomakethemovieTomandNicole
shouldhavemadewhentheydidEyesWideShut...apornomovie!IknewIdnevermakea
pornomoviewithorwithoutMonica.Butwestartedtalkingandnegotiatingforbodydoublesinthe
explicitscenes.Anditallgottoocomplicated.Thenwestartedtalkingaboutsomethingdifferent.
Nocontinues,Mytwopreviousfilmswereverylinear.ThenIsawMementoandthenonlinear
structurewasmuchmoremental.Iwastryingtothinkofsomethingusingreversechronology,and
thenIrememberedarapeideaIdhadbefore.Sowedecidedweddoareverserevengescript.I
wrotedown12scenes,norealscript.Andwealljustsaid,OKletsdoit!MonicaandVincenthad
thisincredibleenergy!Wehadtoshootveryquickly.Butwecoulddowhateverwewantedtodo.
Ittooksixweekstoprepareandwritetheoutline,andthensixweekstoshoot.
Thereversestructureworksbrilliantly,examiningtheviolenceandrevengewithastartlinginsight.
Atthebeginningofthefilmtheyrejustredneckthugs,Nosays,butyougettoknowthem.Its
abouttragedy,abouthowpeoplecantfighttheirfate.Peopletrytofightforsurvivalandtheyget
intothisrevengetripthatsstrongerthantheirpersonality.
NOTTHEUSUALCRAP.CasselwasdrawntoworkwithNoafterseeinghisfirsttwofilms.
Theywereshocking.Theyhadtheabilitytoprovokereactionsasopposedtotheusualcrap,he
says.Withthismoviesomepeople,suchasmyfamily,lookedatmeafterthescreeninglikethey
didntknowme.IsawittwiceandIllneverwatchitagain.ButImgladIdidsomethingimportant
withanimpactlikethis.Itwasactuallyfuntomakewehadagoodtimemakingit.IknowMonica
hadagreattime!
Noagrees,addingthateverydaywaslikeaparty.Youdontseethefunwehadshootingthe
film.Weneverknewwhatwouldhappen.Itwasintuitiveandverycreative.
Althoughtherapescenerequiredextracare.Casselleftthesetwhiletheywerefilmingit.Iwent
tosouthwestFrancetosurf.IsuggestedthatIleave,andMonicaaskedmenottobethere.I
knewtheactorwhoplayedtherapisthesaboxerandheknowshowtocontrolthescene
physically.IknewGasparandItrustedhim.Iknewwhathewaslookingfor.Andthefloorwas
madeoutofrubber.
Noaddsthatthescenewasnotfilmedtobeeithereroticorunerotic.Therapeisseenfromthe
victimspointofview,hesaysItsalmostcartoonish,toobadtobereal.Thecameraisstuckto
thefloorlikesheisweareinherhead.Andthepeoplewhocomplainaboutthatscenetendtobe
men,controlfreakswhodontliketheangle.Ithinkitplaysontheirfearofbeingraped.Onthe
otherhand,duringtherevengesceneinthegayclubthecamerawasexcited,liketheguysinthe
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scene.ButduringtherapeIputthecameraonthefloor.Andattheend,theguysdickcoming
outwascomputergenerated.Iaddeditinlaterbecauseitmadeitlookmorereal.WhenMonica
sawitshelikedit.ButIdidntexpectmentobemoreoffendedbythatscenethanwomen!
FULLOFLIFE.Filmingeachofthe12scenesinonesingletakewasaconsiderabletechnical
feat.Besidesbeinglimitedto21minutesequences(thelengthofafilmreel),Nodidntputany
limitationsonascene.Hejustrolledthecamerasandlettheactorscreatetheircharactersand
dialog.Theshootingscriptwasonlythreepageslongwith12scenesinit.Idjustbeontheset
withtheactorsandwedseehowitwouldbe.Wedbringideasandtalkandsayifitsounded
fake.Weneverknewwhoddowhat,andthatmadeitfulloflife.Iorchestratedthemoviemore
thandirectedit.
Casselsays,ItstheonlymovieIvemadewhereIhadstagefrighteverydaybecauseInever
knewwhatwouldhappen.Ilikedit,andIddoitagain.
Eachsequencewasshotbetweensixand20times.Nosaysthehardestpartwastryingto
controlhundredsofextrasinthepartyscene.Butwedidntstopshootingiftherewasaproblem.
Onetimeyoucouldseeallthecrewreflectedinthemirror,butwecouldjusteraseitandfixit
afterwards,becauseoftheadvancesintechnology.Therewerealotofaccidentsandwedid
digitalworkafterwardstocleanitup.
Healsopointsoutthatheusedtechnologytohighlightthefilmsmoodsandemotions.Overthe
courseofthefilmtheresaprogressionfromaveryshakycameratosmoothsteadycam,andthe
coloursgofromredandyellowtoblue.Andweactuallyaddedalowfrequencysoundtothefirst
halfofthefilmjusttomaketheaudiencefeeluneasy.
CENSORSHIPISINSULTING.Obviously,censorshipwasntinNosmindashemadethefilm.
Hisbasicprincipleisthatyoucannotcleanouttheviolenceofreallifewhenyoumakeamovie.
Bellucciputsitthisway:IfIhadkidsIdletthemwatchthisfilm.Idontthinkchildrenhavetosit
inthehouseandeatsugarandchocolatealldayandthinkthatlifeisjustpink.Lifeispink,butlife
isalsoblack.
Nofindsitinsultingthatagovernmentcensorsfilms.TheresaviolentrapeinStrawDogs,and
thewholefeelingwiththatsceneisreallytwisted,hesays.Butpeoplearemature,sowhy
shouldtheBritishgovernmentthinkitspeoplearemorestupidthanothercountries?Idontknow
whatcouldbestoppedbycensorstodayunlesstheywanttogetintoapowergame.Thisfilmisnt
aspeechonviolence.Itsabouthowpeoplegetintoviolentsituationsandjustgofurtherthan
expected.
Nosayshisgoalwastomakealifeaffirmingfilmabouthowpeopledreamoffindingafuture
butthentheresananimalreality.Thisfilmislifeaffirminginthesensethatitsaboutthe
perpetuationofthespecies.
Text2003FirststarLtdSite2003byRichCline,ShadowsontheWall

Q&ATRANSCRIPT
WithGasparNo&VincentCassel
www.bfi.org.uk

GasparNoandVincentCasselwereinterviewedattheNationalFilmTheatreonthe11th
October2002byHannahMagill.Thediscussionisinfourpartsunderthesubheadings:

Courage
TellingitBackwards
TheViolenceinLife
TheKubrickFactor

Page 12of 19

Part1:COURAGE
HannahMagill:I'dliketobeginbyaskingyouhowyoucametobeworkingtogether.Iknowthat
youwantedtoworktogetherbeforethisparticularprojectcametofruition.Canyoutellusabout
theprocessofcomingtogether?
GN:OneyearagoIwasgettingtothepreproductionstageofanothermovieIwantedtoshootin
Tokyo,aboutadrugdealer.Buttheproducertoldmewecouldn'tgetintopreproductionbefore
October.ThatwasinMay,beforeCannes.IwenttoanightclubforafewdrinksandmetVincent.
HeaskedwhatIwasdoing,andItoldhimIwasn'tsurewhatI'dbedoingthatsummer,butthatI
mightbeshootinganeroticmoviethatI'dproducemyself,withaverylowbudget,andunknown
people.Heaskedwhatwasthemovieabout,andIsaidthatit'sthestoryofacouple,butit'svery
erotic,likeInTheRealmoftheSenses.
"I'dlovetoworkwithyou.""Metoo,butIdon'tthinkthisistherightmovie.""Well,justletmeread
thescript.""Thereisnoscript,justatenpageoutline".ButIaskedanywaywhetherhethought
Monicacouldbeexcitedbytheproject?SoIbroughtthescripttothem,andtheywereyes/no,
yes/no.Ididn'tthinkthey'ddoit,orthatI'ddoitwiththem,butfinallywecameroundtodiscussing
whocouldproducethemovie,andwemetthesetwoproducersthatVincenthadworkedwith
before.OnewastheproducerofLaHaine,andtheotherofTheBrotherhoodoftheWolf.And
theysaidthatifMonicaandVincentwanttodothiseroticprojectwithyou,goahead,they'dfind
thefinancing.TheproblemwasthatMonicawasstartingTheMatrixReloadedinSeptember.So
therewasaveryshorttimetopreproducethemovieandshootit.Finally,Igavethemthescript
anditwasreallytooexplicit,andIknewthey'drefuseit.Whichtheydid.Butwhilewewerehaving
lunchwiththeproducersIsaid,"Whydon'twejustdoanotherproject:let'sdoaraperevenge
movietoldbackwards.Withnoexplicitsex."Theysaid,"You'rejoking".IsaidIwasn't."Ofcourse,
wedon'thaveenoughtimetowriteitdownbutwecoulddoamoviewithalotofmastershots,
andimprovise.IfIjustwritedownthetwelvescenes,thenwecanshootthemoviewithtwelve
scenesthat'llbetoldbackwards."TheysaidOK,buttheydidn'treallybelievemetheproducers
evenless....ButtheyaskedVincentandMonicawhattheythoughtofit,andtheysaid,"Yeah,
we'lldoit."Andfinally,becauseoftheircelebrity,muchmorethanmineasIscarealotofpeople,
theproducerswenttotheTVchannelstofindthefinance,andbecauseofthenamesofMonica
andVincent,themoneywasonthetable.Therewasnotitle,noscript.Therewasonecondition,
though:thatthemovieshouldbefinishedbytheendofAugust.IsaidIwantedtodoitviolent."I
don'tknowifyou'veseenPasolini'sSalo,butI'dliketotrysomethingthatwilltouchthatkindof
violence."ButIthinktheyhadn'tseenthatmovie,theproducers.Thewholethinghappenedlike
that,butalsobecausetheenergyofVincentandMonicawasheadinginthesamedirectionas
thesortofmoviesthatIwantedtodo.Soafterawhileitwas"Whatcanwedotogether?"
"Whateverwewant.Themoney'sthere."Mypreviousmovieshadcostlike$200,000each,and
suddenlyIhadabudget20timesthat.Withsixweekstoprepareandsixweekstoshoot.
VincentCassel:Itwasfiveinthemorning,inthisclubinParis,andIhadn'tseenGasparfora
littlewhile,andhecametome,alittledrunk,andsays,"Wouldyouliketomakethemoviethat
NicoleKidmanandTomCruisemissed?I'dreallyliketodoapornographicmoviewithyouand
Monica.""What?Whatareyoutalkingabout?There'snowaywecouldmakethiskindofmovie
withyou."ThenIcamebackhome,andtalkedwithMonica,andsaiditwasfunny,I'dmetGaspar,
andhewantstomakethispornowithus,andthatI'dsaidno,ofcourse.Shesays,"What?You
can'tsaythat.Youneverknow."SowestartedtotalkwithGaspar,andIknewtherewasnowayI
wouldmakeapornographicmoviewithMonica(orwithout,bytheway),butwestartedtotalk
abouteverythingbutthosethings,andGaspargaveustapesofL'Histoired'OandIntheRealm
oftheSenses,andwewatchedand,honestly,withalotofwill....itjustwasn'tpossible.Sowe
camebacktoGaspar,andIsaid,"OK,let'sfindasolution.Maybewecouldconsiderallthose
explicitscenesasstuntssowewouldhavetohavestuntdoubles.""OK,noproblem,maybewe
coulddothatwithdigital..."Sowejustdroppedit,andhelaughed,"It'sOK,wecanmakeanother
movie."Andfirstwethoughtofdoingsomethingwithbetrayal.
GN:It'sworthmentioningthattheeroticmoviewastoldbackwardsnottotally,but...Becausemy
firsttwomovieswereverylinear,andyougettiredofthat.Andtherearedirectorsaroundwho
matchnonlinearnarrativeswithrealnotions,soyouthink,"WhyshouldIdolinearmovies?"
ThingslikeMemento,muchmoreinterestingbecausethey'remuchmorementalthanlinear
narratives. Whenyou'rejumpingfromoneprojecttoanother,inonenight,youhavetoaskwhat
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youcandothere."Let'stakereversechronologicalorderonthisproject."I'dalwaysthoughtthat
onedayI'ddoarapemovie,showingarapeasitcouldbeinreallife.Thentheideaofthemaster
shotswasmaybecomingfromtheprojectI'dwantedtodoinJapan,whichwassupposedtobe
donewithalotofmastershots."Let'sdothemovietoldbackwards."
VC:Itwasliketwomonthsfromthenightwemetintheclubtothedaywestartedtoshootthe
movie.
HM:Andyouwentfromwantingtodoaneroticmoviewithnostarstodoinganuneroticmovie
withbigstars...
GN:Thegoodthingaboutallthetalkingwe'ddoneaboutthateroticmovieisthatwhenwecame
tothelovescene,whichweshotonthefirstdayofshooting,thatwasthesceneVincentand
Monicaweremostconcernedabout.Nottherapescene,nottheviolenceinthemovieitwas
showingtheirintimacy.Icanunderstandwhy.Butwhenyoudoamovieit'sbettertogetridof
thingsthatareproblematicatthebeginning.Sowejustrehearsedtwicewithavideocamera.The
setwasready,wehadtworunthroughswithaMiniDVmachine,founditwas16minutes,andI
calledforthesteadycamera.AndIhadtowaitinthekitchen,becauseIcouldn'tbebehindthe
steadycamera.Butitmeantthatattheendofthefirstdayofshooting,wealreadyhadthe16
minutesshotthatisattheendofthemovie.Ifinonedaywehave16minutes,maybeinone
weekthemoviewillbefinished...
VC:Myfirstquestionthatdaywastoask,becausetherewerenolines,ofcourse,howlongthe
sceneshouldbe.Andhejustsaid,"Anythingbetweentwoandtwentyminutes..."
GN:ThemoviewasshotonSuper16(andthentransferredtohighdefinitionvideoandthen
transferredbackto35mm'scope).SotheSuper16camerahasa300metrescanonit,itgives
you21minutes.So,besidethatrestriction,nothing.

Part2:TELLINGITBACKWARDS
HM:Intermsoftellingthestorybackwards,doyouthinkthatmakesadifferencetotheimpactof
theviolentscenes?Theycomeatthebeginningratherthantheend,sothereisn'ttheusualbig
emotionalbuildup,buildup,buildup,thenrelease.Wasthatdeliberate,reversingatraditionof
howraperevengemovieswork?
GN:Ithinkyoujustgetlinkedtothecharactersinthemiddleofthemovie.Atthebeginning
they'rejusttwoheavyrednecks.Andinthemiddleofthemoviewhenyoucometoseetherape
scenethenyouseetheirmorecivilisedaspect.You'regettingintothem,emotionallythen
retrospectivelyyouunderstandtheirwholebehaviour.
Someonetoldmethemovie'snotadramait'satragedy.Iaskedwhat'sthedifference.In
tragedies,youknowwhat'sgoingtohappennext.Peoplecannotfightagainsttheirfate.
Whatever'sgoingtohappen,it'sbeenwrittenbysomeoneabove.Inthiscase,writtenbythe
director...
HM:Isthataverynegativeviewofhumannature?Thatinasensethebestialinstinctswithin
peoplewilleventuallycomeout?
GN:Idon'tthinktherearegoodinstinctsorbadinstinctsit'sjustpeopletryingtofightfortheir
survival.Andattimestheygetintorevengetripsthatarestrongerthantheirbrain.
HM:Howdoyoufeelabouttheshootingoftherapesceneandtheveryviolentmurdersceneat
thestart?Isittroublingtoshootsomethinglikethat?Doyoufeeladistancefromitasanactor?
VC:Well,you'dbetterhaveadistancefromit.Butaltogether,themoviewasprettyfuntoshoot.
HM:ForMonica,too?

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VC:Yes,shetoldmeshe'dhadalotoffundoingit.Ofcourse,itwasverytiringtodotherape
scene,andshedidn'twantmeonsetforit,whichIunderstood.(Ijustwenttothesouthwestof
Francetosurfmeanwhile).ButwewerecallingatnighttoseeifeverythingwasOK.ImeanI
knewtheguy,theactor,whousedtobeaworldchampionThaiboxer,sotherewasnothingI
coulddoanyway...Betweenthetakeshewouldtalkabouthiskidsandsoon,sotherewasno
ambiguityreally,andIknewthat,soitwasmoreaboutnothurtingher.Thefloorwasmadeoutof
rubber,andbecausehe'saboxer,heknowshowtocontrolhismovementsandeverything.Iwas
neverworriedaboutGaspar,Iknewthemoviewasn'taboutstealingsomethingoutofusbut
moreaboutworkingtogether.Weknewwhattheresultwassupposedtobe,andwhatwewere
lookingfor.AndwhenwewenttoCannesIrealisedwehadjustwhatwewerelookingfor.
[Ironically:]Scandal.
HM:Itcanbeaproblemwithfilmsthatcontainrapescenesthattheycanseemtoomuchlikesex
scenes.We'reusedtoseeingscenesportrayingsexbuttoshootarapesceneinawaytomake
itunerotic,isthatdifficult?
GN:Itwasn'treallyaboutmakingiteroticorunerotic.Therapeisseenfromthevictim'spointof
view.Therapist,ifyoureallyconsiderit,isreallyquitecartoonish.He'salmosttoobadtobereal.
Anyway,becausethecameraisfollowingherfromtheback,andisputonthefloor,likeshe's
stucktothefloor,youareinherhead.Thepeoplewhogetpissedoffwiththatscene,it'snever
women,it'smostlymen.Mostlyaggressiveorcontrolfreakmen.Becausetheyfeelinvadedby
themovie.Men,ingeneral,havealwaysbeenafraidofbeingraped,fromwhentheywerekids,
andassoonasthey'reputinapositionwheretheyhavetoconsiderarapefromawoman'spoint
ofview...
HM:Butintermsofyouruseofafixedcamera,andnotusinganycutsinthatscene,isthatto
breakdowntheuseofherbody?
GN:Ididn'tdoitrationallyIdidn'tthinkaboutit.Thewholemovie'saboutbeinginthebrainof
someonewhowantstotakerevenge.Theydon'ttakerevengeontherightguytheykillthewrong
guywhatever.Butyouarewiththemwhentheyaretakingtherevenge,andsothecameraisas
excitedasPierreorVincentduringthatscene.InthecaseofMonica,Ididthecameramyself.I
wasprecedingher,andthensuddenlyIputthecameraontheground,andIjustcouldn'tmoveit
again.Iwouldhavefeltashamedofshakingthecameraaboveher.Thatwouldbelikesharingthe
rapist'spointofview.Soyoudon'teventhinkaboutit,youjustdoit,andsaythisiswhatitshould
belike.
VC:Threemonthslater,Gasparcameuptoourhomeandsaidhehadsomethingtoshowus,
becausehe'daddedsomethingtotherapesceneandit'sthedick.ThedickisCGI,andheasked
usifitwasright.
GN:Becausewhentheguywascomingupyouwouldnoticethathiszipwasclosed,andIsaw
therewassomethingthatdidn'tworkthere.He'sjustrapedher,andyoudon'tseehispenis.SoI
addeditwiththeguywhowasdoingallthespecialeffectsinpostproduction,andIknewwe
shouldshowittoVincentandMonica,especiallyMonica,becauseshewastheperson
concerned.Andshesaidthatitlooksgreat,looksmuchmorereal.Andyou'renotreallyexpecting
thatdetail,especiallyinamoviewithanactressaswellknownasMonica.

Part3:THEVIOLENCEINLIFE
Audiencequestion:WhydidVincenttakeontherole?
VC:IdiditbecauseIsawthefirsttwomovieshedid,andIthoughthewasveryinterestingeven
thoughhewasveryshocking.AnytimeIseeamoviethatprovokesarealreactionfromthe
audience,Iamveryinterested.Weseesomuchcrap,somanythingsthatareformattedwe'reso
usedtoseeingviolencewherepeopleexplodeallthetime...It'sonlywhensomebodytellsastory
thatcouldhappen,toanybody,toanyofus,thatitwillprovokethesekindsofreaction.Peopleget
mad,peoplestarttolosetheirmindsandsayincrediblethingslike,"You'reafascist,""The
governmentshouldforbidthemakingofthesekindofmovies."
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Withthismovie,forexample,somepeopleveryclose,frommyownfamilyeven,lookedatme
afterthescreening,anditwasliketheydidn'tknowme.Wegetusedtoeverything,buttoamovie
likethisyoucan'tgetused.Idon'tactuallywanttoseethemovieagainasIsawittwice,that's
enoughfortenyears.ButIhavethefeelingofhavingmadesomethingspecial,insteadofjust
anothermoviefromthishugeindustry.That'swhyIwantedtodothemovie,andIthinkMonica
wantedtodoitforthesamereason.AsforwhyGaspardoes,Idon'twanttoknow.
Audiencequestion:regardingtheviolenceinthefilm.
GN:Violenceisinlife.Iknowsomanypeoplewho'vebeenrapedthoughIdon'tknowany
who'vebeenkilled.Iknowcloselymenandwomenwho'vebeenraped.It'spartofthehuman
experiencetomeetviolence.Ifit'snotwhenyou'refive,it'swhenyou'reten,it'sduringworktime,
whatever.Butyoucannotcleanouttheviolenceofrealitywhenyoudoamovie.Thedifferenceis,
it'sausefulmovie.Saloisausefulmovieevenifit'sverysymbolic.Therearemanymoviesthat
dealwiththeanimalitywithinhumanbeings.Peoplearejustfightingfortheirsurvival.And
sometimestheygetintoneurosesofpowerthatbringthemtobeviolentwithotherpeople.
VC:Theotheractorinthemovie,AlbertDupontel,alwayssaysthatthemostviolentbookeveris
theBible.
Audiencequestion:Waseveryshotwasasingletake?
GN:No,theywereshotfrom,let'ssay,sixtimestotwentytimes.MaybeVincentwouldhave
worriedmostaboutthelovesceneattheendofthemoviethatwasshotattheverybeginning,
butformethehardestscene,thenightmare,wasthepartyscene.Thatoneweshot20times,asI
justcouldn'tcontrol100extras,doingdrugs,drinking...halfofthecrewdoingdrugs...everybody
tryingtoseduceagirlonset.Ifeltlikedyingtheweekendaftershootingthatscene.
Audiencequestion:regardingthefilm'slook.
GN:Inthewholemovietherewasaprogressionfromtheshakiestcameraevertoaveryflat,
liquidcamera.Andthecoloursgofromdarkredandblackandbrowntolikegreensandyellows
andblues.Ithinkthefirsttimeyouseeblueinthemovieisattheendwhenyouseethesky.
Audiencequestion:regardingpreplanning
GN:Youcanconsideramovieasmusic.Iwantedtostartchaoticandthengetflat.Icouldn'ttime
thescenesbeforehanddidn'tknowifascenewasgoingtobethreeminutesorfifteen.Ijusthad
tobewiththeactorsonsetwiththecamera,toseehowlongthey'dbe.
Forexample,thescenewithMonica,orthesubwayscene,orthescenewiththemattheendon
thebed,theactors'proposalswerealwaysgoingtobebetterthananythingIcouldimposeon
them.Bringmeideas,I'llletyouknowwhethertheysoundtrueorfalse.Forexample,when
Monicadidthatthingwithherhand,Iwouldn'thavethoughtofthatshecameupwiththat.When
onthesubwaytheactorstartsaskingVincentabouthowhemakesMonicacome,noone
expectedhimtosaythat,notevenVincentorMonica.Sothatmakesthewholescenefulloflife.I
usedtosayIwasorchestratingthemovie,notdirectingit.
VC:Dependingonwhattakehadbeenedited,themoviewouldhaveadifferentsense,because
weneversaidthesamethingtwice.
Audiencequestion:regardingdigitalpostproduction
GN:Therewerelotsofaccidents.Sometimesthemikewouldbeinshot,butweknewwecould
eraseitdigitallylater.Itoldeveryoneweshouldneverstopatakeunlesswewerereallyshortof
negativeortherewasahugecameraproblem.Thereweremanytechnicalproblemsthatwe
erasedinpostproduction,somesoundproblems,likewhentherewasahugesoundinthemiddle
ofasceneintheapartmentwhenthey'resupposedtobealone.Butweknewwecoulderaseit
later.Andtherewasonescenewherethecrew,me,thecameraassistant,theguyholdingthe
mike,werereflectedinthewindowoftheapartment,butweeraseditlater.Ifthemoviehadbeen
Page 16of 19

shotasmovieswereshottenyearsago,youwouldhavenoticedalltheseproblems.Hopefully
thishighdefinitionpostproductionpermittedalotofthingsthataregoodforthemovie.
Audiencequestion:regardingStrawDogsandcensorship
GN:I'mnotprovokingtheBritishcensors,it'snotmyproblem.It'snotaconcernwhenyou're
doingamovie.IwasthinkingofStrawDogswhenIdidthismovie,andwhenIdidmyprevious
movie,becauseit'samoviethatimpressedmemorethanmaybeevenTaxiDriver,andmaybe
theonlymovieinmywholelifethatmademewalkoutbecauseIcouldn'thandleit.(Ialmost
walkedoutofTheTexasChainsawMassacrebutIstayedtotheend.)
IttookmeafewyearsbeforeIcouldwatchtherestofStrawDogs[aftertherapesequence]it
didn'tevenhappentomewithSalo.ThewholefeelinginthatrapesceneisreallytwistedandI
don'tunderstandwhyamovielikeStrawDogscouldbebanned[fromvideorelease]forsomany
yearsinEngland.It'sjustasiftheBritishgovernmenthadmorecontempttowardstheircitizens
thantheFrenchgovernment.PeoplearematureinanycountryandwhyshouldtheBritishthink
theircitizensaremorestupidthanFrenchcitizens.Stupid.Especially[inrelationto]StrawDogs
asit'snotappealing,mymovie'snotappealingandtherearesomemoviesthatcanmake
revengeseemappealing,wheretherevengeistakenontherightguy,andthey'remuchbetter
thanthepolice.That'snotthecaseinthesemovies.SoIdon'tunderstandthecensor'srole,
exceptinperpetuatingtheritualsofpower.
Audiencequestion:regardingrevenge
GN:Themanwho'stryingtorationalisethewholethingofrevenge,thatcouldbealmostaDustin
Hoffmanfigure.ThekindofherothatyoualwayshaveintheserevengemovieslikeSomeone
rapedmywife",or"Someonekilledmy wife,I'mgonnakilltheguy"andthentheotherkindwhod
say"No,noyou'vegottothinkwithyourbrains,notwithyourguts"andattheendhecomeson
likeDustinHoffmaninStrawDogstocommitamurder.Butthethinghereisthatalsohekills
someonewho'sgoingtorapehisbestfriend.Soinawayhe'sjustprotectinghisbestfriend.
Maybehedoesn'tkilltheguywhorapedtheirmutualgirlfriend,butatthesametimehe'sjust
savingthelifeofhisbestfriend.Andthenhegoestoofar,becausepeoplewhoarenotusedto
violence,whentheygetintoit,sometimestheyjustlosetheirmindmuchmorethanpeoplewho
areusedtoit.It'snotreallyaspeechonviolence.Igotintotoomanyfightsmyself.I'mnotproud
ofit.Itjusthappens.

Part4:THEKUBRICKFACTOR
Audiencequestion:regardingtheinfluenceofStanleyKubrickandAClockworkOrange
GN:IheardsomeonesayI'dmadereferencestoKubrickandJohnBoorman.Isaid,"Why
Boormanbecauseoftherape?""Nothat'sthemusicattheendofZardoz."ButIreallyhadn't
remembereditfromwhenI'dseenitatabouttheageoftwelve.There'salsoastoryabout
pregnancyattheendofZardoz'soIhadtogooutandbuytheDVD,andIsortofsaid,"Oh
yeah..."MaybeitwasanunconsciousthingthatIusedthatmusic,butIreallylikedit,there's
somethingaboutit.Comparedtoalltheothermusicinthemovie,wherethere'sasenseit'sjust
comingfromaradio,thispieceislikeacommentonthemovie.IhadthissceneattheendandI
wentthroughsomuchmusicforasoundtrack,notallclassical,butthenIheardthissymphonyby
Beethovenandjuststartedcrying.Andeverybodyintheeditingroomsaidthiswasgreat.You
can'texplainwhyitworksunless,ofcourse,it'sthatthemusicisbetterthanthemovie.
EverybodylikeditIhadtroubleinsteadwiththestrobelightingattheend.Ihadtofighttokeep
that.
HM:ButyoudohaveaKubrickreferencewiththe2001.......
GN:Therearereferencestomany,manydirectorsandmanymovies.ThereisKubrickthereis
mainlyKalatazov[MikhailKalatazovishvili],aRussiandirectorwhodidthismoviecalledIAm
Cuba[1964].Idon'tknowifitwasreleasedhere,butyoucangetitonDVD.It'samoviemade
mainlywithmastershots.Butofcoursetherearemanyreferencesinthemovie.Whenpeople
sayit'sahomagetoBoorman,ofcourseIwastouchedbytherapesceneinDeliverance.Andif
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there'sahomagetoSamPeckinpahit'sbecauseIreadaninterviewwithhimsayingthathe
alwayswantedtodoalifeaffirmingmovieafterallthesemoviesaboutanimalhumanbehaviour.I
thinkheneverreallycametodoalifeaffirmingmoviesoIreallywantedtocrossStrawDogsand
somethingmorelifeaffirming.Idon'tknowentirelyifthesceneabouthavingababycountsas
thatbutattheendyouhavepeopledreamingofabetterfuture,orjustafuture.There'san
animalrealitytheycanstopwiththesevirtualprojectionsintothefuture.Ican'tsayit'sreallylife
affirming,butitisaboutperpetuatingthespecies.
Audiencequestion:regardingCannesselectionandreception
GN:WealwayswantedtohavethemovieatCannes.It'sthekindofmoviethat,ifitdoeswellat
Cannes,everybodysees.Ifyou'reincompetitionitcouldbebetterorworse.Atacertainpoint,
though,weproposedittothemaincompetition,whosaidthey'dreallylikeaVincentandMonica
movie,butthismovie'stooheavytohandle.SotheproducersaskedifIwantedtomakeany
changesbutIsaidwe'djusttakeittotheDirectors'Fortnight,totheCritics'Weekbutlet'snot
changeaframeofthemovie.Themovie'smuchmorethanjusttheCannesFestival.But
eventually,after,Ithink,seeingmyothermovies,theysaidthey'dacceptitforthemain
competition.ItwasmainlythenewartisticdirectoroftheFestivalwhoreallywantedthefilm,and
hesaidthey'dcometoanarrangementtoputthefilmincompetition,butatmidnight,whichhad
neverhappenedbefore.Wehadtheseconditions.GillesJacobandtherestofthefestival
committeedidn'twantustoshowthefilmtothedailyjournalists.Theysaidifwereallywantedto
releasethefilmonthesamedayasitsCannesscreening,wecouldshowittothemonthly
magazinesortheweeklymagazines,butnottothedailyjournalists,becausetheyhadtodiscover
itinCannes.Soalotofpeoplewerereallypissedoffwithourpublicists,withthedistributorsand
evenwiththemovie,becausetheywerenotinvitedtothetwopressscreenings,wherewewere
obligedtoadmitonlythemagazines.Soweendedupwith100%oftheFrenchpresshatingthe
movie,evenifsomeofthesamepapershad,withinafortnight,changedtheirminds.There'stoo
muchenergyinCannesof"It'sgood"/"It'sbad"peoplewerescreamingintheaudience.But
that'squitegood.That'spartofthepleasureaswhereelsecanyougotoscream?Youhave
4,000peopleinthetheatreandyoustarttoscream,andeverybodystartsscreamingit'spartof
thegame.AndIknewmymoviewasthekindoffilmthatwouldgeteverybodyshoutingit'scool.I
toldmyfriends,pleasestartwhistlingorscreamingasit'sfunny,likegoingtotheWorldCup.
Audiencequestion:regardingregularuseoftheactorPhilippeNahon
GN:Mainly,hehadbeenworkingforfreeinmypreviousmovies,andhewouldhavefeltbetrayed
ifIhadnottakenhimin.Ireallydidwanttoputhimintothemovie,butbecausethewholemovie
wasjusttwelvescenes,andIknewwhattheywere,atfirstIcouldn'tfindaplaceforhim.Except
maybebeingthecop,who'saskingAlbertDupontelwhichpartythey'vecomefrom.ButIsaidI'd
ratherhaveacoptoplayacopsotheguywhoplaysthecopisacop,thetransvestitesare
transvestites,thetwobigguyswerethesecurityguysfromtheproduction.
SoI'dpromisedPhilippeagreatpart,andhewasringingalmosteveryday,askingwhathispart
was.AswewereshootingIwassaying,"Don'tworryyou'llhaveyourscene."Thefirstweekhe
wasn'tinvolvedthesecondhewasn'tinvolved,andhe'scalling,"WhenamIshooting?"Imean,
he'slikeastepfathertome,I'vebeenworkingsomuchwithhim,soIcannotbetrayhistrust,andI
say,"You'llhaveagreatscene,Ipromise."SoIdecidedIwantedhimintheopeningsceneofthe
movie,whichwouldcomeattheendoftheshoot.Hecomes,andheasksifhe'splayingwith
Vincent,whohelikesalot,orwithAlbert.OrwhetherhehasascenewithMonica?Infact,the
guyhe'swithatthebeginningofthemovieisaveryclosefriendofmine,whowasperhapsthe
mostexcellentdirectorofmygeneration,whodidtoomuchspeedandactuallyhe'sinamental
hospitalbecausehedidtoomanyamphetamines,andhassomeotherproblems.Buthecan
comeoutofthehospitaltodothisonescene.SowhenPhilippeasksagainwhotheactoris,Ijust
tellhimit'safriendfromamentalhospital...Atfirsthe'slike,errrrr?,andthen,eventhoughhe
doesn'tusuallydrink,hewenttoabarandstarteddrinking.Iconvincedhimnottogetdrunk,and
heaskedagainwhatthescenewas.Isaidmaybehecouldjustbeonabedtalkingabouthow
timedestroysallthingsbecausethatwasoriginallygoingtobethetitleofthemovieandhe'lltry
togiveyouablowjob..."Oh,no,Idon'twanthimto..."
Finally,though,hewasveryamused,andherealisedthattheotherguy,Stphane,wasreally
intelligenthereallylikedthepersonandbegantofeelfree,sowekeptonshootingallnight.It
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wasthelasttakethatmadeitintothemovie.Theguywaschanginghisdialogueineverysingle
take,soIknewwhatPhilippeNahonwouldsay,butnotwhattheotherguywouldsay.Andinthis
lasttake,Philippesays,"I'vebeeninprisonforhavingsexwithmydaughter",andtheotherguy
justsays,"Thewesternsyndrome."AlotofpeoplehaveaskedmewhyhesaysthisandIdon't
know.Alotofthingsinthemovieareimprovised.Forinstance,IneveraskedAlbertDupontelto
askMonicaifthecharacterplayedbyVincentmakeshercomeI'djustsaid,"Surpriseme."There
wasjustaweirdenergyonthattakethatmaybewasbestforthemovie.Theydidsurpriseme.
That'swhywhenIwatchthemovieitfeelspartofmeandpartofthem.
HM:Andyourownbitpart?
GN:Thepartysceneisonecontinuousshot,butsometimesonemastershotismadeupoftwo
shotsthataredigitallyrearranged.Inthenightclubsceneitwaseasytousemanysmalltakes,
becauseit'ssodark,andwhenthecamera'smovingthroughthedarkyoucanmatchanytakeas
longasthemovementgoesthesamewayandatthesamespeed.Iwasthinkingsomepeople
mightcomplain,astheydidwithCruising,thatIwasbeinghomophobic,soIdecidedtoputmyself
intothatscene.Oncethewholemoviehadbeenshot,Idecidedtogobackforjustoneshotofme
gettinganerectionandmasturbatingwhilewatchinganotherguy.Sowereturnedtotheclub,
wentuptothethirdlevel,justforthisoneadditionalshot,asIwantedtobeinmyownmovie
doingthiscameo.UsuallyIoperatethecamera,butinthiscaseIaskedmycameraassistant.
AndI'dstartmasturbating,butIcouldheartheguysscreamingwhowerereallyfuckinginthe
club.Also,therewastheproducerinfrontofme,andtheassistantdirector,andeverybodywas
going"mmmmmm"...Iwouldhaveanerectionformaybeaminute,andthenwe'dhavetostart
again.Therewereseveraltakesbetterthanthisone,buttheywouldn'tmatchtheediting,soIhad
tousethisone,whichisnotverygoodformyimage.BythenIwasmoreconcernedwithwhatmy
fatherwouldthinkofthescene,
Audiencequestion:regardingmale/femalereactionstothemovie
GN:Ijustsaidthatmenweremoreoffendedbythemovie,notthateveryonewas,but
proportionatelymorementhanwomen.I'dexpectedittobetheotherwayaround,butaftermany
screeningsIdiscoveredthatmenhavemoreweird,moreaggressivereactionstothatscene.
HM:Ithinkmaybethere'sadistinctiontobedrawnbetweenbeingupsetandbeingoffended.Do
youmeanupsetinthesenseofbeingsaddenedandaffected,ordoyoumeanangrywiththefilm?
GN:Youfeelcompassion...Themovieisphysical.IdideverythingIcouldtomakeitphysical.
Youcanhaveaphysicalreactiontothemovie,too.Evenonthesoundtrack,weaddedthese
reallylowwaves,infrawaves,sothatduringthefirsthalfofthemovieyouhavea27herz
frequencythat'susuallyusedinriotstomakepeoplerunaway.Soforthefirsthalfofthemovie
youfeelweirdyoucouldshowjustacatdrinkingmilk,andit'dbescary,andyouwouldn'tknow
whybutit'sbecauseofthisinfrawavebeneathit.
Audiencequestion:regardingwhathaveVCandGNlearnedfromeachother
VC:WhatIlearnedfromhim?GoodquestionIdon'tknowreally.MaybeIcantellyouwhatI
learnedfromthewholeexperience.Thankstothishugefreedomwehad,it'stheonlymovie
whereI'dgoonseteverydayandhavestagefrightasifIwasonatheatrestage.BecauseI'd
neverknowwhatwasgoingtohappen.That'sthememoryIhaveandwhatIlearnedfromthat
was...well,thatIlikedit.AndthatIwoulddoitagain.
GN:Ilearnedabouttrustingpeople,havingfunwithpeople.Iwasgoingtotheshootlikegoingto
apartyeveryday.I'dwakeup,go"Let'sgo"becauseIdidn'tknowwhattoexpect,andthatwas
exciting.Youdon'tseeonthescreenthefunwehadduringshooting,orreallyfeeltheenergy.
Withonlyaveryshorttimetoprepare,andaveryshorttimetoshoot,thathelpsyoutodoitina
moreinstinctiveway,andnottothinktoomuch.Sometimesyouhavetoputyourbraininthe
closettodogoodthings,tohelpthingshappen.
HM:Thanks
Courtesyof:bfi.org.uk

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