by Jason Whyte
The Counsel - At VIFF 2010
“A suitcase in his hand, a young man runs desperately in the streets of a city in the south of France. His name is Leo Demarsan. Brilliant student, he’s a young and talented lawyer. Now, he runs to save his life.” Director Cedric Anger on the film “The Counsel” which screens at this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival.
Is this your first film in the VIFF? Do you have any other festival experience? Do you plan to attend Vancouver for the screenings?
This is my first time at VIFF.
Could you give me a little look into your background and what led you to the desire to want to make film?
When I was 13, I saw “Once Upon a Time in America” by Sergio Leone. I remember I came back in my child’s room and looked at all my books and comics, thinking “What book could make a good film?” The year after, I discovered Jean-Luc Godard’s “Breathless” and I decided to go to Paris from a little town in Normandy where I grew up. I was a journalist with “Cahiers du Cinema” at 18 and a screenwriter at 23.
Growing up, you were no doubt asked the eternal question “When I grow up I want to be a …”
How did this project come to fruition? If you could, please provide me with a rundown, start to finish, from your involvement.
The project started with different stories told by a friend of mine, a lawyer, about his work and about other lawyers who have failed. It was the occasion for me to make a film that dealt with words, good and evil, temptation and betrayal. What happened to my council could happen to a doctor, an artist, a filmmaker and so forth. I hope it’s a story of our days.
What was the biggest challenge in the production of the movie, be it principal photography or post-production? What was your favourite moment of the process?
The biggest challenge was to shoot a 120 page script in 35 days!
Tell me about the technical side of the film; your relation to the film’s cinematographer, what the film was shot on and why it was decided to be photographed this way.
With cinematographer Guillaume Schiffman, we decided to make the film in 35mm, with a sunny and bright style because we didn’t want a dark style for a dark subject. We worked with contrast to express the conflict of the main character, but we liked to be close to the actors.
Talk a bit about the experiences that you have had with the film. Have you had any interesting audience stories or questions that have arisen at screenings?
We projected the film to a public of judge, lawyers and public prosecutors. They said that the film should be shown in law school.
Who would you say your biggest inspirations are in the film world? Did you have inspirations from filmmakers for this film in particular?
Of course, when you do a genre film you have a lot of directors close to you. It’s the chance but also the danger of the experiment. You have to make reality come into your film, otherwise you do a pure style exercise.
If you weren’t in this profession, what other career do you think you would be interested in?
Please tell me some filmmakers or talent that you would love to work with, even if money was no object.
Cinematographers such as John Toll, Harris Savides or Ed Lachman. There are far too many actors and actresses that I want to work with!
How important do you think the critical/media response is to film these days, be it a large production, independent film or festival title?
It is very important. The critics can give existence to a film or demonstrate that an apparent genre film has a personal style.
If your film could play in any movie theatre in the world, which one would you choose?
“The ‘Grand Café’, Paris on December 28th, 1895. It could be interesting!
What would you say to someone on the street to see your film instead of the latest blockbuster playing at the local megaplex?
“Hey dude! I just saw your wife with someone else at my screening!”
No doubt there are a lot of aspiring filmmakers at film festivals who are out there curious about making a film of their own. Do you have any advice that you could provide for those looking to get a start, and especially for those with films in the festival circuit?
I have only made two films so I think I’m too young to give advice. Can anyone give advice to me?
And finally…what is your all time favourite motion picture, and why?
Akira Kurosawa’s “High & Low”, the perfect mix between poetry and film noir.
This is one of the official selections in this year’s Vancouver International Film Festival lineup. For more information on films screening at this year’s fest, showtimes, updates and other general info, point your browser to www.viff.org.
Be sure to follow instant happenings of VIFF ’10 on my Twitter account @jasonwhyte, including mini-reviews of films, comments on festival action and even a Tweetphoto or two. #viff10 is the official hashtag.
Jason Whyte, efilmcritic.com
link directly to this feature at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/feature.php?feature=3103
originally posted: 10/10/10 18:02:00