The cinema according to Jean-François Stévenin:
a «communion of crazies »



In a fireworks-display of hilarious anecdotes: the actor-director gave the audience a real one-man-show yesterday during his master class at the Comédie Odéon. Highlights.


5DM 7954

© Institut Lumière / Bastien Sungauer


At the beginning, an assistant to Rivette, Truffaut:

"I was filming with them, I was very happy to be their assistant and work, but I couldn’t really identify with their films. I liked Truffaut’s The Soft Skin, or Shoot the Piano Player, but we were filming A Gorgeous Girl Like Me or Bed & Board- he mimics a yawn - with Rivette it was great, we made a film that lasts 14 hours... but I wasn’t really into it. "

... closer to the cinema of Cassavetes:

"When I saw John Cassavetes movies, speaking zero English at the time, they blew me away... and Monty Hellman too:  Two-Lane Blacktop, Ride in the Whirlwind… I said to myself - western, silence, no shot/reverse shot, nothing, no dough - I didn’t have a clue about any of that, I just knew that whatever it was, this thing was rich: the wind passing, something breaking free, the guy turning around, we see nothing... And bang! I was hooked!"

…on becoming a director, a bit by chance:

"I was putting so much energy into being an assistant, that I thought to myself, ‘But why not be like my buddy Jacques Rozier: gather a team of six or seven, write a thingamajig, then we just need an advance on the profits or a little bit of dough and we’ll make a film! And we’re off.’”

The cinema, a “communion of crazies"

"If the cinema could make itself, I never would be in it. It’s because it’s a kind of communion of crazies who have started a project that we manage to make something."

With the actors, a silent understanding:

"We don’t need to talk. I send the ball into their camp, I don’t know what they’ll do.”

Rébecca Frasquet 

Categories: Lecture Zen