At La Folie at the cinema: “The fractures created by the disease within a family” – Actus…

Barely a few months after “Supremes”, Audrey Estrougo unveils a new feature film, “À La Folie”. A strong and very personal film, which deals with the relationship between two sisters, one of whom is schizophrenic. Meeting with the director.

À La Folie – Directed by Audrey Estrougo

Currently in theaters

To celebrate her mother’s birthday, Emmanuelle comes to spend a few days in her childhood home. She finds there time past and memories that reign in the place, but also her older sister whose psychological instability has too often affected family relations. No one suspects that this family celebration will quickly take an unexpected turn…

AlloCiné: Can you introduce us to “À La Folie”?

Audrey Estrougo : To insanityvsis a film in line with what I had done with An ordinary story. A film made in self-production, which we shot in just a few days, which raises real questions about the state of cinema financing today. There is a real subject to be made on this… On his projects which are either doomed to exist in this way, or doomed to no longer exist at all.

I wrote the screenplay in 5 days and shot it in just a few days…

The story of this film is very simple: during an acting course that I led, I discovered a young woman who had never acted and whom I found extraordinary. From there was born the desire to work with her. One thing leading to another, this film project arrived, which is my first ultra-personal film. I did not expect at all to make a film like that. It is almost a camera in a family home, centered on the cracks, the fractures created by the disease within a family and the relationship between two sisters, one of whom is schizophrenic. I wrote this scenario in five, ten days and we shot in stride. A month later, the film was shot.

At la folie at the cinema: "the fractures created by the disease within a family" - actus...

Which is very very fast…

Yes, I needed to challenge myself and shoot in particular with new collaborators. I really wanted to renew myself, to question my cinema, my desire, to know exactly where it was and above all to work with whoever I wanted, because the first problem we have when we direct is that for the choice actors, if you don’t immediately have a desire, a “bankable” name, you don’t really have a choice. It’s complicated to combine the desire for art with industrial logic.

At la folie at the cinema: "the fractures created by the disease within a family" - actus...

Can you tell us a bit about this chosen casting?

In my film, there are therefore three girls and three boys. The three girls are Belgian: there is therefore this actress unknown to the battalion who is of all plans and who is called Virginie Van Robby (on the right below). There is Lucie Debay (on the left below), who is a little better known here, and Anne Coesens. On the boy side, I have Benjamin Siksou, Théo Christine who is my little Didier from NTM and François Creton, Lola’s father. It is this freedom that I have been looking for. I also worked with cinematographer Eric Dumont, who made the films of Stéphane Brizé or Au nom de la terre more recently. Then it was just a reshuffled team with people whose original job it wasn’t necessarily. With the actors included, there were twenty of us.

The way of thinking and making films today is very worrying

We must really insist on the fact that the way of thinking and making films today is very worrying. When you present a project today, even for a director, you have to sell it, sell your film before writing it. Your film has to be a pack, a truck with the keys and everything that goes with it. The line has to be drawn, it has to be obvious from a commercial point of view: either it’s auteur cinema to be presented at a festival, or it’s a film made to make entries. For me, we are completely drifting. We just forget the essential, that is to say why we are there. In addition, we must not say too much, we have subjects that we cannot address.

At la folie at the cinema: "the fractures created by the disease within a family" - actus...

Do you have an example of an unapproachable topic?

I had a project in development about a nurse who found herself treating a terrorist. This film, we were never able to edit it because there was a terrorist. Terrorist is over, we no longer have the right to talk about it. While it’s a film I would say “Iranian”, which questions the world in which we live, the relationships between us, a human film on a human scale. There are plenty of subjects that we no longer have the right to discuss because they are considered unattractive, non-commercial. And at the same time if we never do them, it is sure that we will never be able to prove the opposite. Finally, the film as I did it myself, as Hafsia Herzi did for You Deserve a Love a little before, and as I had done for An ordinary story, there are plenty ! Afterwards, there are very few that manage to be released, but there are plenty of films that are made like that.

The desire to make films is there

This shows that the desire to make films is there. We are lucky now with technology, we can do a lot of things but it is more and more locked to access the light. Cinema is very complicated at the moment. It was with the money I had left on my box and the help of Damned who had distributed An ordinary story, that we financed the film. The process is part of the approach: go fast. Something that we can no longer do today because when the financing of a film is going well, we wait six, eight, ten months. It’s already very long, the desire to create has already gone a little bit, it has to be maintained and here, I’m talking about a configuration where everything is going well. It takes a year and a half, two years to make a film.

At la folie at the cinema: "the fractures created by the disease within a family" - actus...

And you have made films but also produced a series, Heroines, with a real desire to produce more freely. HASdo you want to keep doing it?

Yes definitely, there are plenty of things to tell that we can no longer tell in the cinema so we might as well tell them in series, especially since we will have the choice of broadcasters now. I currently have pre-projects on this subject that I must further advance before talking about it. The main thing is that things are moving forward, so… full speed ahead!

Interview by Laetitia Ratane in Paris, September 25, 2019

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