The French director, whose Travolta and Me won a Bronze Leopard at the Festival del film Locarno in 1993, will see the finished version of Of Woman and Horses for the first time on the Piazza Grande (in 4K resolution)
Why decide to end a promising business career and go into film?
All this about me and business is rubbish, I don’t know where it comes from. I only studied business for a year because my parents wouldn’t let me go to film school, then I went to Los Angeles and became a nanny.
Today I regret I didn’t have the nerve to finish the business studies, because film today is all about money, and you get screwed all the time. I would have loved to be able to read budgets and accounts.
So how did film get in the way?
In LA I started making my first short film, on my petite nanny’s salary, and then I met Agnès Varda, who let me use her editing room at night. I didn’t have a driver’s license, so I went there every evening by bus.
She said I had talent, and she was going to help me, and she did. I really owe her for talking to Jacques Demy’s editor who called me two years later and suggested I became his apprentice.
What came first in Of Women and Horses – the women or the horses?
The idea came from sitting on a horse – the feeling of being king of the world, you are the ruler ... the power it gives you. And here is this girl who feels she deserves it, because she has talent; still nobody knows her, and she hasn’t any money.
Otherwise the characters came first in Simon Reggiani’s story, but the horses area also characters, I mean Marina Hands is like a horse to me in the film. I had to simplify the script because money was tight; we shot very fast, and finished in only 31 days.
I know that logistically you shouldn’t film with children, animals and water – I had never directed horses before, but filmed with worked (and Reggiani) for Basse-Normandie, so I had an idea of the problems I should tackle.
No money? Still you brought in John Cale for the music?
11 years ago he made the music for The King’s Daughters, a high-budget period pjece I directed, and we got along really well. We are not friends, we haven’t talked for 10 years, but I called him, and he did it for almost nothing. First he thought I wanted sad music for a sad film, but I told him I hate films about victims – I prefer Robert Rodriques characters – and I just needed a straight credit song in French, his first. I mailed him the words, I corrected his pronunciation on Skype, we had a lot of fun, and I let him keep the rights.
The number of films yhou have made is not impressive – what do you do in between?
I live, but I worked eight years to get this project off the ground – everybody was afraid it would become a lesson of horseriding rather than a feature film. But I would definitely like to work more, I also need the money, but first of all because I miss it.