We can objectively be delighted to live in a country where film production is so dynamic and where a director (in this case Guillaume Canet) and a producer (Alain Attal) together have the nerve to make such a tough film.
The good news is that Guillaume Canet is doing very well with this Him, thought, written and shot during confinement on the frustration of being cut off in his tracks from the realization of Asterix and Obelix: the Middle Empire. Like many of us, the actor-filmmaker found himself face to face with himself and from this introspection – even if Guillaume Canet has already done eight years of analysis – was born Him an atypical film and, once again inflated, where radiant and well-anchored women literally radiate this hour and a half and confront the character with his shortcomings, his leaks. The women in question are Virginie Efira (the wife) and Lætitia Casta (the mistress). In front of them, Guillaume Canet exposes the small and great cowardice of men. A film music composer in need of inspiration, Lui (Guillaume Canet) left his wife and two little boys to isolate himself in a house sitting on the edge of a cliff on a Breton island. As he desperately searches for a theme for an impatient British director, the characters in his life will appear and call out to him. Except that it is he who makes them talk, finally them: since the good guy and the bastard who live together take in turn the responsibility of the dialogues. In the role of parents, Patrick Chesnais and Nathalie Baye bring a touch of tragicomic fantasy; Virginie Efira and Lætitia Casta are breathtaking in accuracy, emotion and strength, Mathieu Kassovitz wears a laughing lucidity and, in the role of one of Guillaume Canet’s sons, the little Niortais Fernand Texier holds the director’s high with a particularly arduous adult text: hence an irresistible effect between tragic and comic, even if it sometimes hesitates between too many genres (adding a touch of fantasy does nothing to the film) and if I’m not in love by Ten CC does not need an explanatory scene to evoke a meeting, love, desire, Lui is the fascinating film of a man at a crossroads, at the same time as an extraordinary gift for all his interpreters.
Does the title, “Him”, also have the function of placing a distance between the character and you?
Guillaume Canet: “It’s certain, he’s not me. I didn’t want the characters to be people identified, named, installed in an identity. They are more typologies. ”
“Yes, there may be, I like the idea of working in a carefree way, with inspiration. The doubt with me is omnipresent. What I understood over time and particularly on this film, is that the doubts one can have in writing, the anxiety of the blank sheet, can be explained a lot by an error in the choice of topic. From the moment the character faces himself and what he is experiencing, this is where there is no more blank sheet of paper. When we are faced with a blank page it is because we are trying to talk about a subject that does not touch. Being touched by a subject is essential in creation. Letting your instinct guide us allows us to achieve sincerity. ”
In the form you touch on several genres of cinema: comedy, drama, but also the fantastic. I’m not talking about the characters in your head, but the attic, the knife attack, the character of the owner’s son. Is it pure director’s pleasure?
“It is first and foremost a narrative and psychological intention to deal with this character who makes a world of things for himself. And then it evokes those moments when, sometimes, when we arrive in a house we make films on the slightest crackle. Afterwards, by turning them it became a huge pleasure for a director. I had wanted to deal with this genre for a long time. “
” Yes, a lot. Because I learned things about what I felt, thanks in particular to these few pages, about which Marion (Cotillard) had spoken to me, of the poem by Rûmî, this Persian author of the thirteenth century who tells how one should welcome the another who is in you … He says among other things “Dark thoughts, shame, wickedness, meet them on the doorstep laughing and invite them to come in / Be grateful for the one who comes because each has been sent as a guide from elsewhere “. The text illuminated in a very interesting way what I was creating. “
Does living off your creations make you more egocentric than the average person?
“I wonder if it is not rather egocentrism that brings about creation. I have the impression that the artists are all egocentric, there is a need for ego, for self-recognition to advance in this profession. ”
This film is also a wonderful tribute to women in general and to actresses in particular …
“Yes, I’m proud of it and it was a real desire on my part to talk about women and I found that the idea of not making victims of them in this situation was wonderful. “
What is the difference between the pleasure felt by the director of “Him” and that of Asterix?
“It’s totally different. Asterix, I rewrote it multiple times, there is a distancing from the fact that it is not a personal story. Strangely, when Lui deals with more serious matters, I took more pleasure in shooting it because it was in a small group, I almost felt like I was shooting a short film. “
Music is very important in your cinema. Is it she who inspires a scene or the scene that makes you think of music?
“It is often the music that is there first, when I was writing the film, I thought a lot about Alexandre Desplat and I thought he could bring something very, very strong. Music can also provide important indications and that’s why I chose to make this character a musician who plays on a detuned piano, it said a lot about him and the moment in his life he was in. “