Christophe Loizillon • Director
Loizillon's obsession with images
by Mazzino Montinari
- The French director presented Ma Caméra et moi in Pesaro. It's a clever and curious take on the deluge of images flooding contemporary society
Christophe Loizillon presented presented his latest film, Ma caméra et moi in Pesaro. It is a clever and curious film about people’s obsession with images. This delicate film succeeds in making the spectator think more closely about the degeneration that our overwhelming need to remember and leave a perceptible sign of our existence before dying can provoke. Loizillon talked to Cineuropa about the politics of French cinema.
How did you come to make an entire film in the subjective and whose protagonist is hardly ever seen?
"The advent of mini camcorders inspired me. Their popularity made me think about the overwhelming amount of images that is one of the characteristics of our era. As well as our need to remember. The desire to remember is linked to the filmmaking process and overcoming our fear of death. In the beginning I wanted the protagonist of my film to be a camera. I was to have followed it from its being assembled in a factory right through the various uses it was put to. Then for purely narrative purposes, the screenplay changed in favour of a real life character who begins recording everyday events as a young man and continues doing so for the next thirty years. The life story of Max (Zinedine Soualem) allows us to learn the ways in which filmmaking instruments and techniques have changed over the years, from Super8 to DV. It is not clear whether or not Max sees the footage he records and we don’t know the reason for this obsession of his. I wanted to emphasise his gradual descent into madness. It begins with this overwhelming need he has to record memories and progresses to his filming any and everything without rhyme or reason. Using irony and making the various situations as extreme as possible, I tried to sow the following idea in the viewer’s mind: Why do people feel the need to photograph themselves against the backdrop of an historical monument? "
Was Ma Camèra et moi a difficult film to make?
"The casting was complicated. Especially that of Zinedine Soualem. From the production point of view we must bear in mind that this is a low budget film which received financial support from Canal+ and from Acid ( the independent film agency set up in 1992 by Loizillon and a number of his fellow directors). It also received money from the box office advance system created several decades ago by the then minister for culture, André Malraux whereby a film receives money in relation to the amount it is expected to drum up at the French box office. I think this is an exceptional scheme. That is not to say, however, that my film avoided the trials and tribulations of promotion and distribution that are common to all low-budget titles. Ma caméra et moi performed better at festivals than it did on release. "
You clearly appreciate the politics adopted by the French film industry.
"There is no doubt that France applies a number of truly excellent laws that allow the film industry to stand up to the strength of its American counterpart. There is talk of protectionist policies but I don’t think that’s the most appropriate description. We must not forget that French companies produce African, Iranian and European films as well as American indy titles by people like Lynch and Allen. I think that is a clear indication of our cosmopolitan mandate."
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