There are things that can be blamed on Nicolas Bedos and his cinema. But one thing is undeniable: the guy knows how to write. You may not like his style, but he has one, frank, recognizable. Recurring themes. Types of characters more marked than the average. A certain taste for literature or the cinema of yesteryear too, which has always been felt in his filmography, and which stands out particularly in Masquerade, his latest feature: a story of love between two sex workers, he evolving around a great actress, she twirling left, right. The two decide to unite to scam the richest. A dark and sensual film as it was in the years 1970-1980. In addition to bringing back Pierre Niney in our Video Club, we wanted to discuss with the author of the film. To ask him precisely where this love for the past comes from, what importance for France in his stories, and how he knows he has a good story.See also on KonbiniKonbini | To start: when you write a film, when you have found a plot, you need to succeed in writing characters that you will be able to support over time, because a film is often three or four years of work. Do you remember the moment when you said to yourself for Masquerade “OK, it’s good. The characters, I think I hold them well” – because it’s a film that only holds together through the interactions between the characters?Nicolas Bedos | I always have a lot of stories in my head. I frolic about getting on my scooter, going swimming in the pool — a lot in the pool. I am part of a whole tradition, I discovered that later, as a swimming author. Because we get bored, and when we’re alone, in the silence of the water, all that… So I always have a lot of stories in my head, and in fact, it’s like a competition: the one who wins is the one that seems to me to be the opportunity to give the most pleasure both to myself, but also to any spectators. I feel like I’m going to tell more things in this one. It’s almost physiological. And there, it’s this story that won for these two years. But I had other desires, and maybe I’m wrong. In any case, I choose, and you said something quite fair: I’m going to have to hold them for many years. I noticed, whether it’s La Belle Époque, Mr. and Mrs. Adelman or Masquerade, that it’s also the most dangerous film I have in mind at the time that wins. The most dangerous story is the one where there is an element of the unknown, because that is what will allow me to go to work for weeks and months, to go and claim money , do storyboards, work on the direction, rework the script. went like clockwork, with no shadows – it was almost a bit easy, and if you’ve seen the movie somewhere else, you’re going to have to fill days making a movie that you’ve already seen a little bit in your head. There, Masquerade, it happened to me from time to time, in specific places, not to know exactly what I wanted to tell. Masquerade is a film full of references. When you write, do you have that in mind? You realize it, and it can help you know where you’re going, right? No. I first wrote a novel that failed, which also enormously nourished the film. If the film is so dense, it’s because there are many, many things that were in the book that I didn’t manage to finish. Then, you have to know that all these stories are true. I realized that all these personal elements fit quite well into the codes of the film noir genre, black comedy more precisely: the femme fatale, the betrayals, the greed, the somewhat exotic setting… All these films by Orson Welles, passing by Mankiewicz and Howard Hugues, who often happened either in Cuba, or in the Keys in Florida or in the colonies, Shanghai and all that… When you look on Wikipedia for film noir, you will find more or less all the elements of Masquerade, including the cruel ending. What I’m already wondering about is that you find it easier to write screenplays than novels? Yes. Because I was nurtured by very, very, very, very great stylist novelists. You have a very pronounced style. Yes, yes. On shorter formats, I managed to express my taste for form but on very long formats I get lost in a way of listening to myself writing. I want every sentence to be brilliant, and I’m going two an hour, even though I have a mountain to climb. I think the novelist in me has paid dearly for my impatience. And yet, I dream of writing an ample novel, because that’s often what I like to read. But I find it more difficult because when I write a screenplay, I believe that I have acquired a form of know-how, over time. I’m 43, and I’ve written 17 screenplays. And then, above all, it is immediately the situation and the dialogues. A novel is a potentiality of reflection and words, of description and psychological irony, of interior monologue. I am letting myself go. I love to write: I write too much, then I reread. And I find that indigestible. You were saying earlier that what you say is often linked to you. Is it unconscious, or is it because it’s easier for you to inject experience into your screenplays? Yes, and besides, that’s why I make films that we can blame ourselves for spend in environments that are not particularly representative of French society. But that’s because I would find it even more odious to take inspiration from the sociologists of the suburbs, or of art, or of diversity. I talk about what categorizes me. Small whites, bourgeois, arrogant, straight. Nevertheless, it is also the truth. In Masquerade, for example, it is a world that I show to the public because I know it and they can be sure that there is truth. Like Françoise Sagan, who was criticized for telling bourgeois stories – but Françoise Sagan evolved, lived, was born in a bourgeois environment. And besides, there were readers of all kinds who took great pleasure in reading his novels. We must not pretend to be what we are not. That would be social and cultural appropriation. But then, we could say that it is precisely an exercise in style to try to tell what you don’t know. Maybe I’ll give it a try. I do not yet have this courage and this pretension for the moment. I already want to give people an overview of what I master well. Is it important for you to try to have that perspective, of what our time is, what was the time before? And what does the evolution between the two represent? I’m a little ashamed, but being the son of an old man, I was enormously nourished by my father and my godfather Jean-Loup Dabadie, who were a normal father. And by my godmother Gisèle Halimi as well. I listened to them recount an era that made me dream incredibly. And I was often very jealous of my elders, also because there was a golden age. To speak, for example, only of the Côte d’Azur which is described in the film. I had access to the archives of photographers who had covered the Côte d’Azur, or even to certain films. In the 1960s and 1970s, and until the 1980s, the landscape was incredibly preserved. That’s a fact. It’s not being nostalgic, or a reactive old prick. No, no. But I ask myself the question from time to time, because it’s true that in me there is a desire to rediscover certain perfumes, certain smells from an era that I might not have liked elsewhere. . But it’s like that. Ever since I was little, I’ve loved James Ivory’s films that took place at the beginning of the 20th century, or at the end of the 19th century. I’ve always loved traveling through time – into the future as well. , because I’m quite a fan of SF – both as a reader and as a viewer. I like to travel and I like to travel in time. For me, that’s the most exciting thing. If I was not French and if I had significant means; because in France, we don’t have the means to do that well; I would have nothing against making a film that would take place in a parallel world in the 4000s or 5000s for example. Except that there is something that is still a bit Franco-French in all your films so, and it would probably be harder in SF… Despite me! I don’t feel very French, you know. I am very close to Fanny Ardant, for example, who is half Italian, and Laura Morante, with whom I am filming again, who is Italian and lives in Rome. I feel much closer to Italian culture and cinema than to French cinema. For example, I am relatively hermetic to the New Wave. There is a much more cerebral, much tougher, much more intellectual tone and story in the relationship to cinema in France, moreover it is a very tough environment. There are former critics and former journalists, these are people who started by tapping on the filmmakers who came before them. I don’t identify much with any of that. I identify more with this generation of the rise of Italian comedy where we laughed, we satirized, we made fun of ourselves. The actors were also much less dark and much more comical. People like Vittorio Gassman, Nino Manfredi, Alberto Sordi, who ended up playing dramatic roles, but who started out as clowns. Even Mastroianni. I feel closer to that when I do Adelman, for example. And the film has more success in Italy than in France. Because when you look at Italian Marriage or even Italian Divorce, this sort of game of killing a marriage over so many years, it’s something that’s very Italian. The Côte d’Azur, at the limit, it is also such an Italian coast. But La Belle Époque is really the French cafe, the French pubs, And then even if we talked about it a lot, but OSS despite everything, that’s the French spy. So there is still this thing to try to ingest a little despite everything. It’s true, it’s true, but if you look closely, the genre in which I subscribe is a genre that is both romantic, satirical, where there is emotion and humor. We try in any case to put humor and emotion. It’s not something you see a lot in French cinema. But Mascarade is your least funny film, perhaps. Because it’s the one that went the furthest in the drama. There is all the same this thing of going far into the dark, of going far into the worst human beings can do. most difficult and the most daring from a commercial point of view, I think. I don’t know, because we can have nice surprises, but it’s true that from the start, at least with my producers, we say to ourselves that I’m trying something that doesn’t fit into the usual recipes. .The film is full of assets. But we still take a real risk. The film does not end particularly well. The characters are not all as endearing as in La Belle Époque, for example. Me, I adore them, because I know them. But there is violence in romantic relationships. It doesn’t end with a big kiss and they made lots of children and all that. Masquerade is available in theaters.
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