The film deals with several kinds of resistance. The Resistance of our grandparents, the resistance to America, and, of course, your filmmaking which resists...
Yes, the artistic act is an act of resistance against something. I wouldn't call it an act of freedom, but an act of resistance. The birth of a child is an act of resistance. He must stand on his own two feet very quickly. Animals, too, have to stand on their own even more quickly than humans.
The Resistance of World War II is something we have difficulty finding out about. It comes back again roughly a half-century later, just long enough to skip the generation of the parents. Later, it goes down in textbooks and people's memories. I've always been absorbed by the mid-century, by the Second World War, which were the years of my innocent adolescence, and which I felt guilty about later.
Emmanuel Astier once said that there was a brief moment early in the Resistance in which money wasn't an end but a means. I can understand that. If, when you make a film, you manage to create something, and money is a means and not an end, then that's production, if it's genuine. Then come the other sectors, which in France all deserve their names. Language clearly describes the three terms: production, distribution and exhibition. In Hollywood, there's no more production, all that's left is distribution, which is under the thumb of exhibition and television broadcasting. In television, there's no more production, except a few pockets from time to time, certain sporting events or interviews. Besides, we say wildlife programs, not wildlife film production. We talk of a TV network like we do a food distribution network. When producers like Darryl Zanuck and Louis B Meyer made 40 films a year, they werent making films on an assembly line. Today it's very difficult. Renault car ads tell it like it is. In the past, they used to say automobile manufacturers. Today we say automobile creators.
At what point do you know what works and what doesn't?
If you write, 'she arrived one moonlit night', it's hard to realise immediately that it's bad. You have to shoot it to understand that it's bad. It happens sometimes. You shoot something, the crew is there, you know it's bad but you can't say, no, we won't shoot this, it's far too bad. You have a certain feeling, and you can't express it, you're not quite sure. The cinema is also a copy of the real world.
Sometimes, a take do eight takes of a scene, you don't sense that doing eight takes, for whatever reason, is a clinical sign, a symptom. If the film is good, the symptom is correct.
Sometimes images return several times, like waves breaking on the shore. Is it to slow down the course of things?
Yes, it's to remain in the time frame. Cinema is an art of space and time, but not the narrative time of an average novel. In films, you have to give, but first of all you have to receive. Audiences no longer give because with television you stop giving. There's only the receiving end.
In some shots you use the freeze frame, like the start of a shot where you think you're seeing a painting.
When we did the transfer to 35mm, I liked this fixed image, so we used it a bit. But I use it without being able to say what I'm doing. If I think, this looks like a painting, I don't keep it. If I think, that looks purposeful, then it's no good. But the moment you feel before you can put something into words, the moment when you come up with the idea, you feel happy.
You say that putting Godard on the front page of a newspaper hurts your film.
That's what I believe. I don't see how that can help the film. I don't understand why they put Zidane's photo on the cover of a soccer magazine instead of putting the ball. For me, when they talk about Godard, I think about my father. Godard was his name, not even, it was his father's name.
Eloge de L'amour hits UK screens Friday 23rd November
Here's some trailer links, courtesy of Way to Blue: