Carmen : man in ape's image
Filmmaker working often on the borders of experimentation, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Limousin yesterday unveiled Carmen [+see also:
film profile], projected in competition in the Horizons section, adding a new facet to his inventiveness : an almost totally animal work of fiction. Without doubt a tribute to Max mon amour by Oshima, the director indeed gave his principal part to a Bonobo ape whose chance encounter with a young couple played by Belgian actress Natacha Régnier (winner in Cannes in 1998) and Swiss James Thierree, gives food for thought on the thin line between Man and Ape.
Retracing the cognitive apprenticeship of the ape Carmen in a research lab, then its escape following heart pains, the screenplay written by the director and Pierre Schoeller introduces in parallel the character of a young worker facing a testing interview with a multinational company undergoing a difficult audit. The roads of Man and Ape accidentally cross, the man’s pregnant wife has affection for the animal while he seeks every means – in secret – to get rid of this cumbersome companion. "I wanted to reflect on Wittgenstein’s concept : even if a lion could talk, nobody would understand it." explained Jean-Pierre Limosin who noted that there "exists only a 1,6 % difference in genetic make-up between Man and Ape". This exploration, which disconcerted the press and professionals, remains a rare, unclassifiable work from a director making only his 6th feature since 1983, his three documentary portraits of Alain Cavalier, Abbas Kiarostami and Takeshi Kitano having taken up his attention during a large part of the 90s.
Produced by Capa Drama, in co-production with the French-Grman network Arte with Celluloïd Dreams (which handles international sales Carmen had a budget of 1,7 million euros including notably support of 150 000 euros from the Picardie region. Made for TV, the film will also be released in the theatres, a deal for Italy having just been signed at Venice.
(Translated from French)