Like a film like Demain by Mélanie Laurent and Cyril Dion, Rosy is part of the lineage of inspiring documentaries from which you emerge with a burst of life. Meeting with its main protagonist and director, Marine Barnérias.
The story: Marine, a young 21-year-old student, learns that she has multiple sclerosis, an incurable autoimmune disease. The shock of the announcement, the urgency of the situation and the need to make a decision about the treatment to follow, push her to find a solution within herself … She decides to go on a long initiatory journey in 3 countries: New Zealand to rediscover his body, Burma to soothe his spirit and Mongolia to reconnect with his soul. Through unforgettable experiences, Marine sets out to meet herself and find a new balance with this sclerosis that she nicknames Rosy.
AlloCiné: This film, Rosy, is the culmination of a journey, then of a book. This is not something that was planned from the start …
Marine Barnérias, director: In fact, nothing was planned. Even the trip was not planned. In the sense that everything was done in an extremely simple way. The only leitmotif that allowed me to move forward was my intuition. I said to myself: I feel I have to go. So I started to build this project.
I left. This gave rise to this trip which was punctuated by many encounters. I also left thanks to everyone around me who supported me enormously. When I got home, I had no plans to write a book at all. At all, at all. I do not know how to write.
A lot of stages went by before I agreed to start writing. I went for it and the film just happened quite naturally after the book where I received a lot of letters from people saying to me: Marine, you have to make a film out of it. But a film of what?
I have no images, I left without a camera. No, I’m not going to make the movie! And then by dint of receiving letters, there are so many people who ask me that maybe the producers who contacted me, I will go and meet them. And so it started with something quite natural, where I went to meet these producers. I have nothing against them, but I just didn’t feel a feeling.
As I was very connected to my feelings, that means that we should not make films. Except that I felt from more and more people that it was necessary to make one, and there I said to myself: I do not know anything about this universe, I will set up my production company. I thought to myself that I was going to try to make a film with this company. It turns out that my current producers have crossed my path. There the feeling operated and we entered this film.
I was convinced that I had to go back and shoot images, and it was my producers who saw my images, asked me to see my hard drive with the rushes from my iPhone. I said: anything, you can’t make a film with that. And in fact, we said to ourselves: we’re only going to make a film with only these images. So these are just images that were never shot for the purpose of making a movie. There was no strategy to make a movie. It’s rough, and sometimes it’s not necessarily very pleasant!
Had these images been broadcast in real time on social networks?
Not all. You should know that I left thanks to 344 people who funded a jackpot. I know some of it, but others don’t. These people just helped me tell myself: you have to go. I couldn’t go back, I couldn’t undo. I couldn’t reimburse people I didn’t know. It was like a knife to the throat!
It launched me into this completely crazy adventure, and cohabitation with my Rosy. I can’t say I’m healed. My illness is still very present. But I stop being in control. I try to tell myself: how to succeed in living from day to day, and to cohabit with it. At the moment, I’m fine. I am in front of you. We will see tomorrow…
How many hours of images did that represent?
There was a 30 hour rush. So it’s not much. We made a 1.5 hour film with 30 hours of footage. 8 months of travel. A small iPhone, a camera, and that was it. The film was really built on the editing bench. I didn’t come by saying to myself: ok, I’m going to do this.
It was a succession of meetings and in the end there is no coincidence. This succession of meetings made me put one foot in front of the other to embark on this film adventure. It lasted three years.
What did this trip bring you?
The fallout from the book or the film doesn’t interest me too much; it is something ephemeral. What matters most to me in my heart is to tell myself: don’t forget where you come from. Don’t forget which stage you went through. Don’t forget how you got from one stage to the next. Remember where you are from, this is extremely important to me. What is not ephemeral is to remember where we come from. This is something extremely important.
What I remember is that this adventure brought me three things: there is no country, no destination, which I preferred; each destination correlated with the other. New Zealand really taught me the power of words; how words could kill. Burma taught me the power of silence. Mongolia just showed me the immensity of choice that lay before us.
Today I have a billion things to learn. I am very young, I have everything to learn; I have everything to discover. I have not acquired anything. It’s super important. There is no one right way; I’m not saying you have to do it like this or you have to do it like that. The best way is to just listen to yourself. It was this trip for me. But it can be an artistic adventure, a personal adventure, a writing adventure. We all have an adventure within us that we must write about. This is only my film, it is to awaken this little force that lies dormant in all of us.
This film can speak to us on many levels … It is a film that gives strength. The film is also appreciated differently with the period we are living …
The worst confinement for me is ourselves. You can be locked up, but you can be free. The worst confinement is the perception of things. Yes, we have just experienced an unprecedented health crisis. Something that has divided us, and continues to divide us today. I try to see without being in a utopia. Ok, there is this confinement, this separation, this division. Today we are in a divided world. But then there is this inner unity which is the most important.
I tell myself that before wanting to change the world, before wanting to change others, am I already aligned with what I’m saying? Am I already aligned with what I do in my daily life? Not always. Not always. My film is also a reflection of what I do not do well.
Marine, it’s good to have nice speeches, to make nice sentences, but do you do what you say? Well no, not all the time. It is not utopian. It is not: that is all is well. It’s a daily job, and not just with me, with my loved ones, my family. This questioning that I must have.
Obviously when you tell a message, you are so convinced of what you want to say. But you always have to be careful where you place your ego, where you place the gaze of others in relation to all that. How do you stay rooted? Where are our roots? Everything else goes. The most important thing is to remember where our roots are. That’s what I’m trying to do right now.
This film reminds me of them because we can quickly forget them. This trip was 4 years ago. I have evolved since, in the good and the bad sides. We grow, we learn. We stumble, we fall, we start over. But for me, it’s also a reminder to myself. Before giving a message to others, it’s pretty selfish, but I also give myself a message. I try to remember it on a daily basis.
Do you want to go back?
It is not at all the period of confinement that makes me want to leave. I traveled a lot while being locked up as well. I know I’m going to leave. I know it in my heart. It’s already planned. But one thing at a time.
One last word ?
This film is a huge thank you to all the people who made it possible for me to do this. My mother, my father, my sister and the 344 strangers. It’s a thank you to my family who dared to step out of their comfort zone to trust me. It’s a thank you to these strangers. For me, they are all mini collaborators in this adventure. The fact of having put it in images, for me, the film no longer belongs to me. He will fly and I hope he will sow some seeds.
I hope the people who helped fund it will be proud of it. It’s a collaborative work with lots of different people.
Interview at the 2021 Angoulême Francophone Film Festival