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NAMUR 2018

Fred Cavayé • Director

“I had to find my own truth when adapting this Italian box office success"

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- We met up with Fred Cavayé on the occasion of the screening of his fifth feature film, Nothing to Hide, in which he offers his own personal reinterpretation of a French choral film

Fred Cavayé • Director
(© Pauline Willot / FIFF)

We met up Fred Cavayé to talk about his fifth feature, Nothing to Hide [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Fred Cavayé
film profile
]
, screened last week at the Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur (FIFF), in which he changes register, and offers his own personal interpretation of a French choral film

Cineuropa: What attracted you to this adaptation of Perfect Strangers [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
?
Fred Cavayé:
Revealing our smartphones' secrets is a concept I really like. What's interesting when making a film is opting for a subject matter that reaches the greatest number of people, and our mobile phones are almost an extension of our bodies these days. There is nothing more universal. By making it the film's starting point, I was able to involve all viewers. As a viewer, I like to be able to identify with the film, and I almost wanted the viewers to feel as if they were sitting at the table with the characters. Until they realise they don’t want to be sitting there any longer. 

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How did you approach the adaptation?
I saw the film once, I really wanted to do it, and then I made sure I didn’t watch it again. I was given a French transcript of the film, not the screenplay, and I worked from there. I used it as a basis to add in my own problems. It was exciting, because I usually start with a blank page. I gradually adapted the material, and it ended up becoming mine. It was actually very interesting, because many of my films have been remade, and I could see what it was like from the other side. I better understood the problems that arose when discussing my films with the directors who were remaking them! Basically, I had to find my own truth. And also, when you’re making a remake you can sing the film’s praises without people getting the impression that you have a massive ego! 

You can tell that the film’s going to be more than a comedy from the very first notes, more of a friendly thriller...
It's a fairly classic French comedy device, people dining around a table and questioning each other, but at one point, we had to twist the whole thing, especially in terms of its very cinematographic ending, which you're not at all expecting, and which questions what we have just seen. Allowing the viewer to know more than the characters, which I really like to see in films. If anything, it's a suspense-filled comedy. Maybe it’s a new genre!

Are the films that look the simplest actually the hardest to shoot?
It was very complicated to shoot this meal! I wanted to make a film that got closer to my actors than my previous films, which involved a lot of action. Here, the mise en scene needed to be narrative, serving the characters and what they represent. It required a very solid base, which was the text, while leaving room for the actors to flesh out their characters a little, to build them up, so that they were both sincere and came to life. If I had never done a thriller before, I wouldn’t have been able to make this film. It was exciting, but very complicated indeed, despite its apparent simplicity. This is the film I took the most pleasure in making, we have a very small frame, and infinite possibilities. I logged my footage every night, I shot small retakes every day, I even rewrote the screenplay over the weekends…

(Translated from French)

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