Olga Baillif filming her feature debut, Autour de Luisa
by Muriel Del Don
- In her first feature, the Genevan director, who graduated from INSAS in Brussels, has chosen to talk about an artist in distress, trapped between uncertainty and hope
Filming is currently under way (28 August-14 October) for Autour de Luisa (lit. “About Luisa”) by Olga Baillif (Golden Pardino at Locarno for her first short film, 2001’s Wedding Night, and a Special Jury Mention at Visions du réel in Nyon for the 2004 documentary Kint, de l’autre côté), produced by Swiss outfit Alina Film and co-produced with Belgium’s Neon Rouge Production and the French-language Swiss TV station RTS. The shoot is taking place in various locations in Switzerland and France: namely, Geneva, Dunkirk and Lille.
Autour de Luisa was born of the director’s desire to paint a portrait of a musician, and to capture her strength and mystery, as well as her delicate but powerful stage presence. In the words of Baillif herself, her feature debut tackles topics such as (artistic) legacy, the relationships between men and women, and the search for one’s identity: as a woman, as a daughter and as an artist, in the case of the film’s main character. This is all brought together in a story about a love that, in spite of the intensity underpinning it, shows the first signs of falling apart. How do you resist and find your own raison d’être when you’re a rock musician who’s hit 40? Autour de Luisa reflects on these problems, but also on the power and strength of music – on stage, behind the scenes and on the road.
The director wants to show the not-so-glamorous side of a musician’s life: the endless rehearsals, the monotony of being on tour and the sometimes tense relationships with the other members of the group. In Autour de Luisa, music becomes a character in itself, a reflection of the characters’ complex feelings. The cast of the movie includes US musician Pieta Brown (Luisa), French singer, guitarist and author Bertrand Belin (Julien) and Belgian actor Johan Leysen (Maurice).
The film will be distributed in Switzerland by Zurich-based Look Now.
(Translated from Italian)