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Joachim Lafosse • Director

"Questioning the law"


- Joachim Lafosse • Director On the set of Nue-propriété

On the set of Nue-propriété [+see also:
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, the belgian director Joachim Lafosse tells Cinergie about the "story of two brothers (Jérémie and Yannick Régnier) who cannot bear to part from each other and argue together with their mother (Isabelle Huppert) in the middle, who seduces them". A made-to-measure role for Huppert who is used to playing difficult roles and made a personal investment in order for this feature to be made(see news).

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Cinergie: The film is the story of an all powerful mother.
Joachim Lafosse: Yes, indeed. But not only. There is also a son who defends his father, a little forgotten or symbolically murdered. As we will see my objective, to seek redemption for someone very violent, accompany the viewer with a character who, because he is the son of an all powerful mother, sinks into a possessive and destructive and violent relationship, has worked: When writing, I had "The Cherry Orchard" by Chekhov, as well as The Magnificent Amberson by Welles in mind. With regard to this relationship to ownership but ownership in terms of walls, rather than in relation to such questions as: What does it mean to be a parent? To have children? What does it mean to be a son? The aim of the script of Nue propriété (lit. “Bare Property”) is that at the end of the film, the viewer questions himself on the limits of each person. The limits of responsibility. Here are two young adults, twins, who are still living with their mother and become violent towards her. And not all of this happens by chance. I believe there is a system behind it.

The absence of the father, laws being thrown out the window and violence taking hold constitute a recurring theme in your films.
Yes, but the fundamental question for me is what are these universal laws that make it possible for us to live with each other. I find that these laws are sometimes forgotten about and it is the questioning that counts, and in the film this is the question with which I am confronted. Personally, I don’t think it is the father that is missing, but the law and people’s failure to respect or question it.

You have been fortunate to work with three exceptional actors: Jérémie and Yannick Renier, and Isabelle Huppert. Has that changed your approach to directing?
I have had access to a little more facilities, and I have tried to keep the same spontaneity I had with my two previous films, which were made on video. I don’t know if it worked, but the film will tell. But in relation to the actors and their play, it is the same as if the actors were known or not. The aim is to make them exist in a frame. We come back to the beginning of our meeting, where I tried to define the playground with them, and the law at which they will play. I think once the law is well defined an actor can be inventive. What’s complicated is, is that the three personalities are different and the same approach cannot be applied to each of them.

Did you change your style to adapt to the style in the video?
Yes, but it had nothing to do with the actors. The form that took shape was one of the plan sequence and the still frame – the opposite of what I had done previously where the characters were in a rush. In Nue-Propriété, this family suffers from a situation and a law that prevents them from moving. I thought it was important to trap them in a frame and not to move this frame just like property. The actors should exit the frame, but the frame should never follow them. There is a lot of work done off camera. They exit and – as if swallowed up by this education – they return, and they cannot cope. Right until the end, where they finally have to leave the house.

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