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VENICE 2021 Competition

Stéphane Brizé • Director of Another World

“Wow, we thought Brizé would do a left-wing caricature – but he shows some truthful things here!”

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- VENICE 2021: The French director explains how he writes screenplays with his trusted collaborator Olivier Gorce, plus his organic way of working with Vincent Lindon

Stéphane Brizé  • Director of Another World
(© La Biennale di Venezia - Foto ASAC/Jacopo Salvi)

With Another World [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stéphane Brizé
film profile
]
, playing in the competition section of the 78th Venice International Film Festival, director Stéphane Brizé concludes what is now known as his “work trilogy”, as ever with co-writer Olivier Gorce by his side and main actor Vincent Lindon filling the protagonist’s shoes.

Cineuropa: At what point did you have all three parts of the trilogy in your head?
Stéphane Brizé: The point when I completed the shooting of Another World was the point when I knew I had a trilogy. At War [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stéphane Brizé
film profile
]
was built on top of The Measure of a Man [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Stéphane Brizé
film profile
]
, which Another World grew out of. I wish I could say that I was that very smart filmmaker who had a trilogy in my head all the time, but there you are.

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Still, there’s a certain structure to be found here. Not only does Vincent Lindon play the lead in all three, but you wrote all of them together with Olivier Gorce. What was the screenwriting process like? 50/50?
We’re paid 50/50, at least. Olivier grew up in a family imbued with trade-union culture and with vast experience in the political discourse. I work with him as I usually do with co-writers: I’m guaranteed a high intellectual level from him while I come up with a vision and try to create an organic approach. He’s splendid to work with, and very passionate. He won’t just show up “for work”, but rather in order to create something important. He loves to meet people, to listen and tell their stories. For these films, we met around 50 people with experiences of what we wanted to show, and Olivier was always by my side.

Having Vincent Lindon in the lead role in all three films makes for an interesting dynamic. What made you make this decision? And did you ever consider another actor for any of these parts?
While I did give some thought to other actors, when I write he has always stepped in and put his feet in the protagonist’s shoes, so to speak. I’ve known Vincent for over ten years. We come from very different backgrounds, but we get mad or glad or sad about the same things. So it’s easy for him to understand what I want to say. There’s no psychological discussion, no talk before shooting. It’s all very organic.

In this film, you have his character’s soon to be ex-wife played by Sandrine Kiberlain, Vincent Lindon’s real ex-wife. When you presented them with this idea, how did they react?
Well, we first met, all three of us, on Mademoiselle Chambon [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
over ten years ago, and since then, we’ve had this mutual trust. So they knew that I wasn’t going to exploit anything regarding their real-life, private relationship. Rather, we all shared a desire to work together and create something valuable. Which is easy with such superb actors.

The story takes place in a ruthless, eat-or-be-eaten corporate culture with little or no room for benefit of the doubt. Still, your script offers a surprisingly humane turn of events. Would this happen in real life, do you think?
It can happen. There are executives like Vincent’s character who get ruined, and even kill themselves, but there are also those who decide to detach themselves fully from this reality in order to reclaim a bit of their humanity. With this twist, you see my personal belief, which is that humanity is sometimes able to break free from its constraints. The difficulty with this is not to look or sound naïve – which I’m not. I’m walking a fine line here, between the very dark and the possibility to do the right thing.

Has anyone from this particular world seen the film yet?
We showed it to some of these executive-type people. They were quite shocked by the honesty. “Wow, we thought Brizé would do a left-wing caricature – but he shows some truthful things here!”

Which of the three parts was the hardest to make?
All of them. In different ways.

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