Antoine de Bary • Director of My Days of Glory
“If you don't get along with Adrian, you’ll leave the room after half an hour”
by Kaleem Aftab
- VENICE 2019: Cineuropa sat down with French director Antoine de Bary to talk about his debut feature, My Days of Glory, which premiered in Orizzonti and stars Vincent Lacoste
After leaving high school, Antoine de Bary worked in advertising, and made music videos and short films. His first short, Birth of a Leader, won the Canal+ Prize during the 55th Critics’ Week at the Cannes Film Festival in 2016. He has now written and directed My Days of Glory [+see also:
interview: Antoine de Bary
film profile], which played in the Orizzonti section of the Venice Film Festival.
Cineuropa: The film is a character portrait of a former child actor; how did the story come about?
Antoine de Bary: I started working on the character three years ago with Vincent Lacoste when we made a short film together. In it, Vincent is the main character who’s an actor playing Charles de Gaulle, so there are a lot of echoes and similarities between those two parts. That character inspired me because when you do your first feature film, you draw on all of your life experiences, your friends’ experiences, and what you’ve looked at and absorbed during your whole life, and you can put all of that characterisation stuff into one character. So it's a character-driven movie. I think if you don't get along with Adrian, you’ll leave the room after half an hour.
Do you think there are too many men-children these days?
I think all men are children. Men retain their childhood way longer than women. I was educated mostly by my mum. I grew up with a woman who took care of everything, so I've always been impressed by the strength of women. There is this archetype of the hysterical, weak woman, but I've never had this image. For me, women have always taken care of everything and carry a lot of stuff on their shoulders to protect men.
Why did you want to make a comedy?
For me, the big inspiration for the film were the Italian comedies of the 1960s. What’s impressive about them is that the tone of a comedy is overlaid on a dramatic story. For me, humour makes a movie more playful. I get along better with a film if it tries to make me laugh a little bit because I think it's more big-hearted.
Is this a film about manhood?
It asks a question about what it means to be a man today. We have all grown up with the image of the man who needs to be strong and powerful, and if he has a problem, he has to fight and be physical, and that is not the image of a man that I have.
Why did you choose to cast Christophe Lambert as Adrian’s father?
For me, Christophe was kind of a myth growing up. He was this French actor who made it in America playing Tarzan. He had this powerful image as the guy who fights, and when we finished writing the script, there was an interview where I saw him with white hair. He was older, with this fragility in his voice, and I thought, “Whoa, that's Highlander now.” It's so touching and so beautiful. It gives him so much humanity that I asked him to be in the film.
Then it's a super-strong echo of Adrian's character. Lambert is less well known today – maybe young people don't know him, but for my parents, he was the biggest actor in the world. So, it’s a parallel to the story of Adrian, who used to be famous but can now walk down the street without being hassled.
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