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Monsieur Mannelli lives in the French-speaking part of Belgium. With the
invaluable help of Christiane Surdiacourt I emailed questions to him and
he kindly responded in emails and phone calls via Christiane - Dave
|Q: Was there a special reason for choosing this theme? Did a relative
of yours die in obscurity?
A: No this subject doesn't relate to any particular person I know. The reason I chose it, is because we see more and more that people are valued for their looks, fame, press coverage, and such values are very often ephemeral and artificial. (For example, consider what happened at the time of the heat wave in France. Thousands of people died amid general indifference. People only took notice of them when the media spoke about it). It was interesting because I had already begun to write the movie before that event and that only served to confirm my views.
|Q: Do you deliberately celebrate the life of a
small French town?
A: Yes, because this mentality is unfortunately also fixed in the small villages where previously work, solidarity and care for others were the basic values.
|Q: Why bicycles? Of course it allows you to contrast the fame
of "Tour de France" riders with the obscurity of the hero's mother.
A: You've got it. There is certainly a contrast between the celebrity of the Tour de France riders and the obscurity of the hero's mother. But I also chose it because cycling is a sport where a lot of effort is necessary to get results and one in which a lot of sportsmen dope themselves. There is a contrast therefore between the fact that cycling was a basic sport in the first place (not a technology as in Formula One car racing)and those who trained a lot won and the fact that at the moment all the news is about doping (those who have the best doctors win).
|Q: How did you persuade a well-known professional actor to take
part in your film?
A: To my great surprise he accepted the role quite naturally because he felt in harmony with the story and what it attempts to denounce.
|Q: Were there special problems in directing such an experienced
A: No, in this movie in particular, the actor and I very quickly realised we had the same point of view, rather as if the actor was indeed "Guillaume." It gave me great pleasure to watch how he interpreted the role.
|Q: What was the most difficult shot to get - technically and
A: The most difficult shot from a technical point of view was filming Guillaume and his buddy in the car, when they were following the team. The camera was attached outside the car, therefore you can imagine the difficulties for adjusting it, focussing etc.
Artistically, the most difficult shots were those in the court where, at the end, all is based on the looks between characters, as you noted in relation to the magistrate.
|Q: How important do you think the shot of the lady magistrate
is when she looks sympathetically at the accused? (For me it is the moment
when I believe that public sentiment will forgive M. Martin, whatever the
A: There was something primordial in expressing the message this way, a message which could not be said with words - and it is not by chance that the magistrate was a woman.
|Q: Were there any special problems or disasters during the shoot?
A: Of course, there are always a few problems such as a burst tire, we lost the team of cyclists in the countryside (and they didn't have mobile phone!), we had just finished the filming of the funeral and there was a terrible storm - we all had to pack up quickly, otherwise, that could have been the worst! At the end filming you can look back and laugh at those things.
|Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am try to put together a movie with the same actor on the problem of losing one's job and the psychological and social repercussions of that. La Trace is my third short movie. I am also involved in other projects, notably in the movies made by J. Kopetti.
Christiane Surdiacourt talks about how she met Daniele Mannelli - click here.
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