Lucas Belvaux • Director
“When happiness knocks, you have to let it in”
by Jean-Michel Vlaeminckx - Cinergie
- Cinergie met up with Lucas Belvaux, who has recently released his new film, Not My Type
The romantic central theme of the tenth film by Lucas Belvaux, Not My Type [+see also:
interview: Lucas Belvaux
film profile], involves a couple experiencing a love story from the present to the past through reminiscence (they each come from different social classes) and during a present that looks ahead to the future (in the spontaneity of the imagination: hers and not his). Like most of Lucas Belvaux’s films, Not My Type plays on the active present. There is uncertainty for Clément and Jennifer, in their understanding of one another and the differences between them.
Cinergie: Clément is a repressed sort of guy, whilst Jennifer is more vivacious. He’s repressed in terms of what he feels, yet at the same time, he’s generous when it comes to sharing his knowledge.
Lucas Belvaux: He most certainly is a very good teacher! We can see that in his lessons and with Jennifer. When Clément explains Kant to her, she understands very well, but when she reads the book, she doesn’t understand a thing; she tells him, and Kant makes her laugh. It’s like that for me too – I don’t have a clue about these enormous books. That’s not what’s important, because when Clément explains it to her, she sees where he’s coming from. He’s a good teacher because he’s generous. I think teaching has a lot to do with generosity. I knew a really good film teacher, someone who never managed to choose between teaching and directing (he did, however, make several films)… He always wanted to combine the two equally. It was Alain Bergala, to be exact. Bergala is a man who’s passionate about passing knowledge on. It’s tremendously important to him. He loves to teach. He taught me a lot when I was working with him on Incognito as an actor. The fact that I now make films is largely due to my time with Bergala and his way of passing down his experiences. In the character of Clément, there is something of that… That desire to share his knowledge not at all in an academic sense, but rather his way of teaching that concentrates on each individual’s creativity. He strives to lift people up, to instil in them a certain curiosity, to open them up to knowledge.
The book written by Clément is called De l’amour et du hasard, “Of Love and Chance”. We can easily understand why Jennifer gets angry…
Yes and no. She gets angry mainly because she thinks he hasn’t deemed her worthy of his interest. She tells herself that she’s not worth enough in his eyes for him to let her read his book. It’s an appalling affront. He’s only sharing a part of himself. She thinks he’s only using her for her body, and I think Jennifer makes a mistake at that point. She completely misreads the situation. He didn’t talk to her about his book in order to avoid appearing pretentious or pedantic. So it’s a misunderstanding. On the other hand, in the final scene, when he doesn’t introduce her to his teaching colleague at the Arras Carnival, there is no mistake. On the book, however, she is mistaken.
They’re both generous; it’s what they have in common, but in different ways…
Yes, Jennifer is extremely generous… She’s more than that: she has great dignity, which is engraved in the image she has of herself. In the way she lives from day to day, she never gives up, but in a different way to Clément. He never lets himself get carried away by his feelings. He doesn’t know how to dance… He holds back when it comes to his body and his feelings. Jennifer is more impulsive, but above all, she always keeps her chin up. She’s on her feet, all the time. She’s resolved to be happy no matter what happens. When happiness knocks, you have to let it in, and there’s no use in complaining. She’s an honourable person. For Jennifer, happiness is something you create for yourself, not something you wait for.
Read the rest of the interview on Cinergie (in French).
(Translated from French)
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