“We need popular cinema”

“We need popular cinema”

In theaters this week, La petite vadrouille by Bruno Podalydès takes us on a funny and poetic adventure aboard a barge. The director signs a new whimsical escape placed under the sign of love and friendship.

Your latest comedy comes out on June 5. What can this genre bring to our worried world?

Despite current events that frighten or overwhelm us, resisting darkness means continuing to believe in man. This is what I try to convey through my films, in order to make the world more livable. We need popular cinema in the noble sense of the term, shared by as many people as possible. In The little mop, the inventiveness of those who struggle, their cunning in the face of difficulties, is a source of hope. This human capacity to imagine biases in the face of life's worries encourages me to believe in our common future.

After transporting the spectators aboard a sailboat in Liberty Oléron and a kayak with Like a plane, invite you to travel on La pénichette…

I wanted to lead the viewer into a slow rhythm, towards a form of contemplation of the world. River navigation offers paused time that you have to know how to take advantage of. In twenty years, I have sailed a lot with my family on the canals. I loved this type of vacation. Little by little, I discovered a multitude of canals, because it turns out to be very easy to travel by boat from the south of France to Germany, and even beyond, as the network of waterways is so rich. These breaks fueled my imagination. Joking on set, I often told the crew, “We don't shoot Fast and Furious (American action film) but rather Slow and Quiet ! » (Smile) Slowness and patience allow us to better see the world and the beings around us.

In The little mop, most of the characters are resourceful precarious people…

They experience the pleasure of being together and retain the power to reinvent themselves. In one sequence of the film, I show a table of friends having lunch outdoors, surrounded by a happy mess. This scene is for me a metaphor for cinema: a meeting of talents working together to create illusion. Acting collectively makes the sufferings of life more bearable. Ken Loach expresses it so well as a filmmaker…

Each of your films is the result of a companionship with the work of a director. This time, who did you walk with?

Two comedies inspired me: To Be or not to Be, by Ernst Lubitsch (a troupe of actors putting on a hoax under the Gestapo's beard, Editor's note) And Lady for a Day, by Frank Capra (a tramp disguises herself as a woman of the world for an evening, Editor's note). I like the trooper and inventive spirit that emerges from these works.

Where does that come from? The little mop makes you so happy?

This has a lot to do with the energy of the small troupe of actors with whom I like to work (Sandrine Kiberlain, Jean-Noël Brouté, Isabelle Candelier, Florence Muller, etc.). On the set of The little mop, they were all in a laughing mood. The character of Franck, played by Daniel Auteuil (newcomer to our gang), embodies a disarmingly cheerful seducer. He is a businessman, eager to seduce a woman. To write his role, I was very inspired by Good luck And Let's have a dream, two films by Sacha Guitry. In mine, the characters who set up a hoax on Franck's back face financial difficulties and often fail… Missing the step is pathetic and embarrassing in real life. Whereas in the cinema, it makes us burst out laughing! The falling human remains the basic principle of slapstick comedy, just look at Charlie Chaplin's films…

The crew of The barge is overtaken by a faster sailboat, driven by young people. How do these two generations interact?

At the start, the cheerful band of “old people” adopt a rather “reactive” attitude towards the twenty-somethings who overtake them. However, a little later, these young people will help them get out of a bad situation… I wanted to film a youth imbued with poetry and preoccupied by world news such as the war in Ukraine, climate change and other torments contemporaries. Their presence allows a brief return to reality, as a necessary counterpoint to the bubble of imagination that is the film.

These young people want to “continue without accepting”. What do they mean by that?

As soon as we arrive on a website, this proposal is submitted to our clicks, next to “Accept all” or “Refuse all”. I found it amusing to turn these mechanical formulas into real metaphysical questions. In their song, the young people declare: “Let us continue to live, without resigning ourselves to the darkness of the world! And if everything is ruined, let's reinvent everything! » Faced with a form of fatalism that pervades everything today, these characters set out to make the world move. They are opening a new path, without waiting for us.

In The little mop, you combine the positions of director and actor by playing the role of Jocelyn, the hilarious captain. What type of captain-director are you?

I made Captain Nemo's motto my own in Twenty thousand leagues under sea : “ Mobilis in mobile » (“everything is mobile in the mobile element”). A good sailor, like a good director, knows this! Sailing a boat or making a film means showing flexibility to constantly adapt to the weather, to changes in schedules, to people's moods… When the team saw me arriving in the morning in my white outfit , some called me “My Captain”! I had hidden a video return in the dashboard of the boat. Thus, I managed both the plan and the smooth running of the ship.

Your sons play two small roles. Why did you want to run them?

Jean (31 years old) and Nino (25 years old) are not professional actors, but they have a real taste for spectacle. Filming in this film was very important for them, because they have always known the cast of The little mop. As a baby, Jean played the role of the newborn in my short film So (1994). But be careful, if my children weren't good actors, I wouldn't feel obliged to cast them!

Your brother, the actor Denis Podalydès, plays in each of your films. What do you share when you work as a family?

The implicit! My brother, my sons and the actors in my little group know each other so well that they understand each other in just a few words. I don't really like explaining intentions or emotions on a movie set. To make things go smoothly on a shoot, I want the artists and technicians to feel a real familiarity with each other. Each of my films draws on everything we experienced together before and during filming.

Nature also has a special place on the screen…

Showing the beauty of the Nivernais canal, in Burgundy, was important to me. I wanted the viewer to have the time to take a good look at everything: the trees that give shade to the towpath, the fields illuminated by the sun… As soon as we saw cows, we filmed them! Each lock passage opens onto a new landscape.

A reply informs that The barge travels “at a maximum of five knots, a regulatory speed to protect the banks”. How do you view our environment?

On set or in everyday life, I never forget that nature is our responsibility. Like most film teams today, we have gradually modified our practices to better preserve the environment on set: limiting waste, plastic and plane travel. Because here too I remain optimistic: when we work with it, nature has incredible resources for regeneration and repair. My way of committing myself as a filmmaker is to show its beauty in my films, whenever I can. And to always look for the little light, the glimmer that gives hope to humanity.

Similar Posts