This music does not play for anyone: Samuel Benchetrit finds that “the cinema does not seek …

New film by Samuel Benchetrit at the cinema, This music does not play for anyone brings together a four-star cast for a choral and atypical intrigue placed under the sign of poetry. Meeting with the director and his son Jules Benchetrit.

AlloCiné: How did the idea for This music not play for anyone come about?

Samuel Benchetrit: I wanted to make a love film, a peaceful film. Then, I wanted to talk about the workers, the workers, the tough guys that I knew in my childhood who are a bit in bands, which we could find in films by Sautet, Melville. I wanted to be interested in their feelings more than their violent environment.

And then, the intersecting stories interested me, I like to find this kind of choral film, as I had been able to do on I always dreamed of being a gangster or Asphalt with Jules, because it is as if we were going to a party where we have a drink in our hand, we meet someone, we talk to them a little and then we move on to another person. There isn’t really any psychology, nor too much need to explain things.

You called on actors with whom you have already toured before and a few new eccentrics in front of young people full of enthusiasm. How did you choose the cast?

Samuel Benchetrit: It’s kind, it’s family, it’s friends. They all work a lot. What’s quite funny is that the young people who play in the movie are all completely different from their characters. They are really in a composition. It was quite fun. The general harmony occurs naturally. When we look at our friends in life, it’s strange, we build funny families with totally different people.

This music does not play for anyone: samuel benchetrit finds that "the cinema does not seek...
David Koskas_Single Man Productions

And there this tape, it’s the same and it works. Me, I wrote for everyone and it’s pretty crazy. They accepted but I said to myself with the producer that we certainly wouldn’t have them all. And miracle, we managed to have everyone. What also touched me a lot is the retreat of more experienced actors vis-à-vis young people to whom they gave the opportunity to express themselves.

Jules, was it awesome to tour with this tape?

Jules Benchetrit: It’s really impressive. We immediately got down to work and my father has a requirement that guides us. He knows what he wants. The rendering is strong because it has put together a band that works great. I’m quite shy and being able to play such a sublime role and the opposite of me has allowed me to free myself. It was just fun and hard work. There was something nice about being able to let go of this very endearing role.

It’s a free film, like the actors. We cannot work with this cast of actors and expect them to be people of the norm.

It’s not the first time you’ve worked with your dad. Is there always an apprehension every time?

Jules Benchetrit: Of course there is apprehension, I don’t want to disappoint him. I really try to work to honor his cinema, which I really like. The roles he offers me are important to me so I take it very seriously to honor them. I am fortunate that our relationship at work is extraordinary.

Seeing the poster for This Music Doesn’t Play For Anyone with this four-star cast, we don’t really know what we’re going to see. How would you present the film to the public?

Samuel Benchetrit: It’s a free film, like the actors. We cannot work with this cast of actors and expect them to be people of the norm.

Jules Benchetrit: He wanted them as they were. We can’t and we don’t want to change them. This is also what is extraordinary.

Samuel Benchetrit: There is respect. They accepted that I talk to them about poetry and I wanted them to be what they are. And it went well. We expect too much from films that they are something that we have already seen, which reassures us. I think it’s up to us to change that in cinema. The cinema, more than ever, can afford that.

The series try to disconcert us, to surprise us. Why did we lose this thing with the movies? Before, when I was young, when I was Jules’s age, I used to go to the cinema to be disturbed, angry, surprised, that it would make me laugh, but not so that I would like it. There are films that I hated and yet made me want to become a filmmaker and taught me things about myself and feelings. I find that the cinema no longer seeks enough to displease.

This music does not play for anyone: samuel benchetrit finds that "the cinema does not seek...

Would you like to write and direct a series?

Samuel Benchetrit: I am offered series. Yes maybe. But me, I’m a little old school, I’m still wanting to make films that come out in theaters. For example, Chien, the movie I made before, it was so much about it. It was an ugly movie and that’s exactly what I wanted to do. David Lynch says, – not that I compare myself to David Lynch -, “why do you ask me all the time to explain my films to you? Because you manage to explain life?”. It is a mystery to want to understand a film when our own lives are incomprehensible.

You were talking about Chien, of which Vincent Macaigne is the hero. You called on him once again for This music does not play for anyone but in a small scenario which represents a story that the character of Bouli Lanners tells to that of JoeyStarr. Did you always intend to stage it or did the idea come a little later?

Samuel Benchetrit: No, in fact it’s the opposite. The little story was longer. She came back three times and in fact it didn’t work. In the little story, he was adopted by the Indian family and we saw him a second time, he fell in love with his “sister”, and the third time he was kicked out of the family and she got married and he was going to get married. a knife under the throat. All of this I filmed.

And finally, he fell in love with another white woman from the North of France, also adopted by an Indian family competing with the restaurant at the start. It was fun to watch like that but it just didn’t work. It distracted the rest of the story so I just keep a little bit of it. It’s a shame because it was great but I didn’t manage to incorporate it.

How did you come up with the idea for the title This music does not play for anyone and the pretty reflection of the character of François Damiens on this question?

Jules Benchetrit: Sounds like a title from a Sergio Leone.

Samuel Benchetrit: Yeah that’s right, there is a western side. I was yelled at a bit with the title because it is not very commercial. But I couldn’t find anything better. I wrote with this title and this title made me want to write the film. I wrote this sentence down about ten years ago. I was in a lounge restaurant with someone and horrible piped music, I was bored. I went to the bathroom and there was a beautiful Impromptu by Schubert. And there was no one.

I went back and sat down and I was like “There is this music that doesn’t play for anyone” and I started to think over this lunch about all this music that was playing for nothing. It’s terrible when you think about it, it’s like bereavement. As François explains, music is love, which plays for no one and which plays for everyone. If we continue to love, he still exists. And then, I think the title sounds good, it’s a bit mysterious.

This music does not play for anyone: samuel benchetrit finds that "the cinema does not seek...

The music rocks the film, with its words and its melodies. How did you choose them and integrate them into the film?

Samuel Benchetrit: I was very sure I wanted Gonzalez’s music. It was complicated to have them because he is someone who gives difficultly but he liked it so he gave music on the piano, which seemed perfect to me. And then, I wanted to have French songs, I’m tired of hearing American music in movies.

That’s why I wanted this car radio in Ramzy’s car and he listened to music by Laurent Voulzy, Christophe, … songs that I love. And then, this song by France Gall, very beautiful, that I did not know, and that my assistant made me discover. And it is one of the first songs written by his father, Robert Gall. Even Vanessa [Paradis, ndlr] did not know her.

The characters are fulfilled through art and love. What was your first shock, your first glow, your first emotion with art, whatever it is?

Samuel Benchetrit: In the cinema, it was Les Affranchis by Martin Scorsese and in literature, it was Les Fleurs du Mal by Baudelaire, which I did not understand. But it was a French teacher who asked us to learn a poem, which I also put in the film, L’Homme et la mer, that overwhelmed me.

Jules Benchetrit: Me, I think in literature, it was Jack Landon, I loved it. In music, I was crazy about Michael Jackson, I had my period. And if not, in cinema, Taxi Driver or Voyage to the end of hell, I was crazy about Robert de Niro.

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