Les Intranquilles: how far Leïla Bekhti and Damien Bonnard have gone for this intense film …

Les intranquilles: how far leïla bekhti and damien bonnard have gone for this intense film...

By the strength of its subject and the intensity of its performers, “Les Intranquilles”, a new film by Joachim Lafosse, should find an echo in everyone. Its actors Leïla Bekhti and Damien Bonnard, and its director confide in this film apart.

Les Intranquilles, presented in competition at the Cannes Film Festival last July, follows a couple, Leila and Damien, doing everything to remain united, despite the disease. Joachim Lafosse’s new film focuses on a man (Damien Bonnard) suffering from bipolar disorder, and how his wife (Leïla Bekhti) copes with hardship.

We met the film crew who told us about the particular atmosphere of the shoot (which took place after the first confinement) or the preparation. Its director and co-writer Joachim Lafosse also told us about his origins, from which he drew the material to tell this powerful story.

An intimate and universal story

As Joachim Lafosse told us, the desire for this film “part of his childhood“. And immediately add:”But my little story, my childhood, is not necessarily interesting. What’s crazy is writing a screenplay from this story, giving it to Leila [Bekhti] and Damien [Bonnard], and they took me to give shape to this film, which brought me back to affects, emotions that the adult that I am had perhaps even forgotten. “

My parents got to see the film, and it was an opportunity to tell them how proud I was of them. I have a Dad who was hospitalized for phases of manic depression, bipolarity, and power, with the film, and with what Damien and Leila made of it to be able to say to my father at the same time: ‘I am proud of yourself, you haven’t been back to the hospital for 30 years, it’s great ‘. “

“Then, to have actors who say to you at one point: ‘You know what, we are going to keep our first names’, and who, in rehearsal, take over each scene to bring them even further than what you have writing is great. This is the most beautiful thing that can happen to an author. “

A unique filming experience

It’s been a long time since I tried to live this for a movie, says the director. That is to say, I invited my collaborators to propose, to give, and after I do my modeling with all that. But for that, you need people who are not afraid to dare. I can’t work with people who say, ‘okay, you tell us what we’re doing’. It doesn’t amuse me, there is no otherness. What interests me is that Leila pushes me around and tells me things. “

It’s true that we all jostled, complete Leïla Bekhti. We were incredibly lucky, 80% of the film took place in the same setting. And we were able to rehearse 10 days before filming, we were able to rewrite scenes, and that did not prevent us from rewriting them afterwards. We never stopped working. And I had the same fervor for scenes in which I was not. But anyway I don’t see this job as a lonely job. Me, it’s the collective that drives me. ”

Joachim Lafosse adds: “When we are faced with the psychosis of a companion, a companion, we take “dear”. It does not allow to party, to go find her friends… I asked Leila to come tired, and to work physically so that we feel that she is physically affected. And frankly, it’s incredibly generous to have accepted and gone“.

Leïla Bekhti considers that this request has precisely “helped a lot“.”I loved looking, I loved being exhausted. There was only that: we would go home, we would sleep, we would wake up, we would go back. I like to work; I love snooping around, not finding, that we look for together, that we do not take offense. And it’s true that it’s a shoot that was pretty intense. But in every sense of the word. “

We had a lot of ease in saying things to each other within the team“, she says.”And there was always someone from the team to come and support. Saying You mustn’t let go! There are plenty of examples like that, and it’s not just to promote “, adds Joachim Lafosse.

Intense preparation

This role required special preparation for Damien Bonnard. In addition to meeting people with bipolarity, the actor has undergone a long preparation, to which he returns to our microphone:

When I turn on the machine for preparation, I try to light all the buttons. I have been to a lot of different places and it was Joachim Lafosse who allowed me to do it and the production, who accompanied me there.

I first worked with the referent painter of the film to be able to paint in his place, and that it would be believable. Then I trained in the catamaran. After that I learned the crawl. I also learned to overcome my fear of the high seas. Swimming in the open sea was something that scared me very much. Joachim accompanied me and we spent time to be reassured in the water, and I’m not afraid anymore. I gained 14 kilos for the film.

And to continue: “I spent a lot of time in Sainte Anne with a doctor specializing in manic depression called Luc Foucher, with whom we discussed a lot about the scenario, about the effects of the drugs.

I also worked with a psychiatrist who allowed me to meet patients who suffered from this with whom I was able to talk. I read books, notably by Gérard Garouste, who wrote a very beautiful book, L’Intranquille. Then I created my Damien.

Damien Bonnard details what he learned about this disease from patients: “This disease is composed of manic phases, which are phases of great envy, great joy, great euphoria.

It’s like a kind of vital but energized impulse, and to want to do rich and hyper generous things. Suddenly, they are very amplified, and sometimes too much. But it is also a place of total freedom, and which at the same time, sometimes, attacks others.

This is followed by phases of total depression which are places where one is practically lifeless, often accompanied by drugs which are very strong, including lithium and things like that.

Each manic phase is followed by the depression phase. We know that after each phase of enjoyment, it will necessarily be followed by a backlash that is ultra violent, but when we are in it, we only dream of one thing, and that is to be able to relive the euphoria. It is a kind of Damocles sword which is permanently above you.

If illness occupies a central role in the film, Les Intranquilles tells above all a love story: “The film is mostly about love and what we do when something disturbs a stability and a balance, and how we transform it.

Do we abandon it, do we run away from it, do we leave it, do we fix it … In a world where we tend to give up quite easily as soon as there is a small difficulty, we stop the stories, we do not try to repair them“, emphasizes Damien Bonnard.

About her character, Leïla Bekhti continues: “There is this woman whose job is to restore furniture. In a way, she repairs damaged furniture … It is as if she had a damaged husband and that she was restoring him. And the day he no longer wants to eat this way, it scares him.

These are places they have given themselves. The couple, that’s it. After a few years, you can go around in circles, when there is no longer too much communication, and be in places that you did not necessarily want to have, but which also reassure you. It fascinates me, even in life. To talk about all this. What I like is that it’s a film that asks questions, which is quite psychologically, but it’s not ‘psychologizing’. There is nothing didactic. “

Regarding the resonance that the film can find in everyone, Damien Bonnard explains: “We know very well that confinement, these are times when many couples broke up, others were formed. But these are also times when a lot of people questioned their lives, reviewed their priority. Do I really need this? Is this what I want? To try to change things. The film is about that too. How do you change things when things get stuck somewhere? The Covid, none of us had imagined it, and we find ourselves experiencing it. What do we do with it and what do we question about it?“.

An end imagined on the set

The Intranquilles is special in that the end was decided on the set by the actors themselves.

When I saw the quality of their rehearsal, of their work, and during that time, I couldn’t find the end of the film, I suggested something to them … The end, it’s you who are going to write it ! You will choose according to what you have experienced yourself, with your characters!

It’s awesome. It’s wonderful and at the same time it’s dizzying, enthuses Leïla Bekhti. By dint of wanting to be in the truth of this family, we created a family. We behaved together as if we had known each other forever.

Les Intranquilles will be released on screens on September 29, 2021. It was in competition this year at the Cannes Film Festival.

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