Eric Lartigau has concocted <em>#jesuislà </em>as a successor to <em>The family Aries,</em>.
July 14, 2020
Updated 17 July 2020 to 4h17
Eric Lartigau: the other side of the mirror
PARIS — there are four, five years ago, a Hungarian went to Beijing to find a soul mate. It was white cabbage. At the airport, the man has begun a hunger strike… The story makes you smile, but it was the inspiration for Eric Lartigau #jesuislà, movie where a father, single parent decides on a whim to go and join their corresponding social networks, that he has never seen, in South Korea. The Sun has met in Paris the director of The family Aries to discuss this restaurateur who resolves to “go to the other side of the mirror”.
The French filmmaker has cultivated the discretion from the comedy, almost musical, which was a great success. A success that a man of 56 years has had trouble to manage. “Oddly enough, yes. It threw me in the dumps. All of a sudden, the people you put pressure.” This explains why it took about five years between The family Aries , and his sixth feature film.
It must be said that Lartigau has made quite a detour before getting there. Auctioneer at auctioneer, it becomes a driver and then an assistant to the director Pascal Thomas (The dilettante). A role he will take up, among other things, with Kusturica, champion of magical realism.
A meeting to which Lartigau was perhaps intended since his childhood, after all. Insomniac very young, he told constant stories. With a particular talent: “I was able to control my dreams in a conscious, semi-conscious.” From there to make cinema, there was only one step.
In #jesuislà, Stéphane finds himself at the airport where he waits in vain as the creature of a dream to come and join him there. By idleness, but also with the mad hope that she will, he publishes pictures of him, several times a day, “camping out” in the airport — a veritable city in and of itself… hence the hashtag #jesuislà, which serves as the title. Of course, his égoportraits become viral…
Lartigau has transposed the action to Seoul because he is fascinated by this “emerging country surrounded by potential enemies who rebuilt constantly and is in perpetual renewal: they are on the cutting edge of technology”.
One cannot help but notice that his previous game was soaking in the nostalgia and wanted to be an ode to rural life, while it is strongly in the modern world. Was this in response?
“No, it was not intended. Social networks are one of the actors of the movie, but this was not the initial engine. Rather, the way in which you think you might be in a truth. That is one really? This man is asking questions and it is a little to the side of the reality”, explains Éric Lartigau.
Prevents: the film examines the interference of social networks with our lives. But the vision is not black and white in this bitter-sweet comedy.
“Social networks are an Ali Baba’s cave, you go from one thing to another. All eyes are different. Stéphane discovered this painter of south korea and an exchange is created. After, up where you are going in the relationship, what is it that you invent in your life as you allow to go on the other side of the mirror…
“All that is virtual. And it’s part of our daily lives. I know people who spend three, four hours per day on social networks while they have a real life.”
As we wrote earlier, Eric Lartigau is fascinated by South Korea, but he has also become a true cult cinema, “a modernity amazing. They have a way of filming is very peculiar, at once of a rare violence, and yet it is a country in the safest in the world.”
However, the presence of stephen in this place — that he doesn’t know the language — is not a caprice for the same. It must lose all its referents to be able to reinvent itself. “I wanted to place it in an environment where it has no codes. We don’t really know what it is, Korea. Me, I spent three months and I do not know one thousandth of what was going on there. I wanted it to be only in relation to it, see how it goes grasp what is happening and be able to fit there. It is a form of reboot.”
To embody this man who seeks to reinvent itself after what looks like a crisis of the fifties, Lartigau saw no one else than Alain Chabat. They met on the set of Lend me your hand” (2006) and have remained friends ever since. “He’s not playing a scene, he lives it. There’s not a lot of actors like that, who are just as powerful.”
However, he needed an interpreter who is able to wear #jesuislà, especially the scenes of the airport where the interactions are minimal, the language barrier forces — I think of Lost in Translation (Sofia Coppola, 2003), but also in the Terminal Spielberg (2004). Lartigau has revised the latter before making a turn, ” he admits.