"If I had to do it again, I would not do it again. "
Located on the terrace of Bon Lieu, the bar where everyone meets during the Annecy Animation Film Festival, Jérémy Clapin said, on a hot afternoon in June, his dismay at the overwhelming amount of work he had made the realization of his last film … It was in June 2008 and he was talking about Skhizein, his second short film.
Eleven years later, the 45-year-old filmmaker delivers his first feature film on Wednesday, November 6th, I lost my body, who questions the notion of destiny through the odyssey of a severed hand, endowed with life and in search of the rest of his body (read the complete criticism).
(Embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTf-11SpSf0 (/ embed)
This time, he does not regret anything, after six years working hard on his new film. Well almost.
"I would not do this writing solo".
This is what the filmmaker confided to me during the Rencontres de Fontevraud in 2018. Because the adaptation work of Guillaume Laurant's novel (Happy Hand, Threshold, reissued in pocket at Points under the same title as the film) was long. Jérémy Clapin sweated blood and water so that the spectator can project himself into a story of which the hero is a hand, a "thing" devoid of look and expression …
But he did not give in, staying true to the themes and formal audacity of his short films. To tell his stories, the filmmaker likes to go through the body, distorting it, making it alien to itself, distant from itself.
Available free and legally on his account Vimeo, and therefore on this blog below, they show the genealogy of I lost my body.
Directed in 2004, his first film, A story vertebral portrays the loneliness of marginals, through the romance between two lonely souls with capricious vertebral columns that end up crossing each other after having long turned their backs.
SkhizeinThe story of a man who is 91 cm away from himself after being struck by a meteorite is a staggering work on mental illness. It is worth to Clapin to be nominated in 2009 to the Césars of the best short film (before the creation of the category animation) as well as the prize discovery of the short film at the Critics Week in Cannes in 2008.
And finally, Palmipédarium (2012) mysteriously reflects the confused aspirations of a young boy disguising a deformed bird in wild duck …
With their clear line, round bodies and dull colors, these three courts are graphically very different from I lost my body, closer to a realism of the bodies. By a clever mix of techniques – digital modeling in three dimensions on which was added a layer of cartoon – the film is closer to the real shot, refusing the photorealism of Hollywood productions. An entre-deux at the edge of the real and the fantastic, as he explained to Fontevraud, in 2018.
"The sets and props had to be tangible, like a ghost of realism. "
But this hybridization of techniques was already at the heart of Skhizein and Palmipédarium (as well as many films, short or long of the time). Here is what Jeremy Clapin said in 2008:
"This mix facilitated by the capabilities of today's computers is not a fad, but a true medium of expression. Because it gives a lot of freedom and is less expensive. "
This freedom, Jeremy Clapin research in the staging, seeking to push the boundaries of animation, as he explained to me at the last Annecy Festival (who crowned it, please, of the feature film and the Audience Award, after a historic Grand Prix at Critics' Week in Cannes).
"The animation formats the staging. For the characters, it is limited to front views, three quarters or profile, so as not to make the drawing too complicated. The new computer tools make it possible to break this formatting. But it's not the race for technology that will make the film better. We must remain vigilant about the cost of the techniques. However, directors who come from the short film are familiar with the techniques and know how to use them wisely in a limited economy. "
For Jérémy Clapin, the feature film is not an end in itself. On the other hand, audacity and freedom of creation are his watchwords.
"It is perhaps no worse than any usual financier wanted to commit to I lost my bodyit allowed us to move forward without fear of having a different project, without self-censorship, without losing the absolute freedom that the short film offers. I hope I lost my body will have served that. "
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