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Black Heaven

Video: Gilles Marchand, director of Black Heaven

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Cannes Film Festival 2010

Gilles Marchand, director of Black Heaven

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Interview on the film presented out of competition.

Black Heaven [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Gilles Marchand, director o…
film profile
tells the story of Gaspard, a young man whose life changes when he meets Audrey, a strange woman who has an avatar on the online game Black Hole. Like other filmmakers in Cannes this year, French director Gilles Marchand also brings the topic of internet culture to the heart of his film. He tells us how he did to shoot a story, which has at the same time realistic and fantastic tones.

Cineuropa: A young man, very much in love with his current girlfriend, falls for an alluring woman and dark, online secrets.
Gilles Marchand: Yes, that’s right, Black Heaven [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Gilles Marchand, director o…
film profile
tells the story of a young man, Gaspard, who ostensibly has every reason to be happy; he lives in the South of France in the sunshine, by the sea, he has friends and a girlfriend. However, his life is turned upside down when he crosses paths with Audrey, a rather strange young woman, whom he saves from a bizarre suicide attempt. He takes an interest in her and gradually abandons Marion and his friends and gets more deeply involved with this young woman, and by extension Black Hole, an online game where she has created an avatar, Sam, who seems to be looking for partners in death.

Internet culture seems very hot at Cannes this year. What was it that charmed you into it?
I think it makes sense that more and more directors are taking an interest in the virtual world. And we can say, a bit jokingly, that it’s the year of Cameron’s Avatar, but obviously the films – whether [Hideo] Nakata’s, or my own, or the other one which I haven’t seen – were thought up before Avatar was released. It’s because it’s something in our world today, virtual worlds are part of life; Internet networks and all that are something that exists today. It seems to me just as natural to take an interest in them as, for example, in the presence of telephones in film plots. We know today, for example, that we can’t imagine a detective film without telephones. US series 24 essentially hinges on the fact that we phone each other constantly. Online games will appear more and more in film plots because they’re part of our world, they make it bigger in a way.

In my film, I was interested in being simultaneously very realistic about what is possible today – unlike Cameron’s film and, in a sense, Nakata’s film, which is a rather fantastical portrayal of the world. In my film it’s very concrete and real and at the same time it has the feel almost of a fantasy film, a fantasy-like thriller, because the mere fact that these worlds coexist is still very strange to us. I liked this kind of realism and, simultaneously, touch of fantasy.

Was there some sort of research involved in setting up your vision of this cinematic world?
I found it fun to invent a game that could, in a sense, exist and has its own rules. I’ve played different games myself, I’m not a professional gamer but I enjoy it nonetheless. So the game in the film does indeed play with the codes of existing games. But at the same time, I preferred to completely make it up, I found it fun and it’s also my way of making it ideal.

- Janus Metz, director of Armadillo

- Agnes Kocsis, director of Pàl Adrienn

- Gust Van den Berghe, director of Little Baby Jesus of Flandr

- David Verbeek, director of R U There

- Daniele Luchetti - Director


international title: Black Heaven
original title: L’autre monde
country: France, Belgium
sales agent: Memento Films International
year: 2010
directed by: Gilles Marchand
screenplay: Gilles Marchand, Dominik Moll
cast: Grégoire Leprince-Ringuet, Louise Bourgoin, Pauline Etienne, Melvil Poupaud, Pierre Niney, Ali Marhyar

main awards/selection

Cannes 2010 Official Selection
Out of Competition

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