News from the Locarno Festival

Bozon: "Waiting For Tears And Chills"

Madame Hyde - Concorso internazionale

Bozon: "Waiting For Tears And Chills"


© Dominique Houcmant


Serge Bozon, how was the project of Madame Hyde born? Reading again Stevenson?

Axelle Ropert had the idea of a contemporary and feminized adaptation of Stevenson, which would take place in a school environment and in the suburbs. We observed that if a character is a bad teacher and she becomes a good one, there has to be a transformation. And not all transformations are natural. If she’s been a bad teacher for thirty-five years, you need something unnatural to happen to make such a change possible. One could say that you need some sort of “accident,” the kind that happens in a lab for example... From then on, Axelle and I thought: how about, instead of making a science fiction film, in which somebody transforms into some great demon who murders people, we made this element of monstrous metamorphosis more subterranean and rooted the story in questions about the school system… That’s how it came about. 


You gave Isabelle Huppert two amazing roles to play. How would you describe your working relationship with her?

“Fled foam underneath us” (Yeats).


You started co-writing your films with Tip Top. Are you developing a taste for it?

Yes. I worked on the dialog more than on the overall construction of the screenplay. There’s a scene I wrote while shooting, the one of the inspector’s visit. It got me very excited because it allowed me to indulge both my love of mathematical proof and my taste for teen-movies from the 80s, when two male students would try and outsmart each other so as to seduce their teacher. The inspection scene’s fresh and didactic, comical and rigorous at the same time. At least I hope so!


You worked as a teacher yourself. Did your experience inform your writing of Madame Hyde in any way?

I was a philosophy teacher more than twenty years ago, so I don’t think so. But I’ve got two close friends who are teachers in the Paris suburbs and they helped me a lot. Several scenes, especially comical scenes like the “TPE” (Supervised Practical Work) scene on prostitution, are in fact directly taken from their own experience: everything the girls say in their exposé is authentic!


What kind of reactions do you hope for or expect from an audience who discovers Madame Hyde?

At the end: tears.
Before the end: fluster / eureka / laughs / eureka / chills.

Aurélie Godet

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