Pascale Ferran • Director
“Today, the only possible revolution is an individual one”
by Alfonso Rivera
- Parisian filmmaker Pascale Ferran has competed in Seville’s Official Section with Bird People, a fable about flying your way to happiness
Parisian filmmaker Pascale Ferran is competing in the Official Section of the 11th Seville European Film Festival with Bird People [+see also:
interview: Pascale Ferran
film profile], a fable about the sudden changes that we must make to the direction our lives if we want to alter them and fly our way to happiness.
Cineuropa: In your film, many of the characters smoke, which is not seen very often on the silver screen today.
Pascale Ferran: It seemed logical to me that the people in the movie would smoke, given that they are so alone. I also like to observe people’s behaviour: as smoking is not allowed, they have to adapt to different areas, those little nooks and crannies, and they have to stick their arms out of a window in those hotels that you get near airports, which have double glazing to shut out the noise from outside. All that helps to create an environment that is very sanitised, in which there is no longer any link to the outside world.
Those non-places... did the film stem from them?
Yes, all those transit areas at airports are like really peculiar cities, and they served as the basis for the screenplay, as I am very familiar with them, having done a lot of travelling with my films. You sense a very strange atmosphere in those places, which has a lot to do with jet lag, with that floating state of mind that adds to the somewhat Lynch-esque atmosphere where something might be about to happen... but you never know what exactly.
The latest technologies are very much a part of our lives... and your film.
It worries me that people can think that the latest technologies in no way change their behaviour. I think that right from the very moment when a brand-new hi-tech communication device is created, our routines change by necessity. It would be foolish and reactionary to declare ourselves as being against the internet, because it has brought about a revolution; but it does seem important to me to observe the changes that it gives rise to, especially in an ultraliberal world in which the individual is immersed in a competition on a daily basis. All this as a whole alters the way we relate to other people, in particular.
Precisely: when the lead character makes his decision, the others only think about the repercussions it will have on them, not on the other person’s happiness.
Yes, that becomes of secondary importance: the most important thing is for the huge cogs to keep on turning and for nothing to stand in their way.
Your movie sends out a revolutionary message: it invites us to question our own lives and challenges us to ask ourselves if we are truly happy with our existence.
In another time, people would have organised collective acts in order to change things, but right now, the only way to do it is through individuals making decisions. I hope that, after seeing my film, the viewer will think long and hard about his or her own life.
Lastly, how did you shoot the aerial scenes above the airport?
It was really complicated because we had to request a whole array of permissions from Roissy Airport, and it took nine months before they were granted, as they had to get the green light from Civil Aviation, the Ministry of Defence and Air France, because it was the first time that anyone had done anything like that. We didn’t use drones, but rather tiny, remote-controlled helicopters, and it ended up being even more complicated having to do it in the airport, in amongst all the people. Night drones are not easily visible, and as a result, they’re pretty dangerous. Those flying shots with David Bowie songs playing over the top… that was the first thing that popped into my head.
(Translated from Spanish)
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