Pierre Descamps is a french director born in Montpellier . He have study cinema at “La Flec” and “La Generale” at Montreuil and he passes his diploma of filmmaking in CLCF. During his studies, he shoot 5 shorts movies : “L’éclaircie” written with Hugo Leboeuf, “Le Gigot” with Jean-Baptiste Kaupp and Ella Zebal for actors, “ Sauve qui Peut”; “Avec les Tripes” and “Délit Gourmand”with David Decreane and Jeanne Lalous . “Délit Gourmand” was presented in the ECU Film Festival and it was diffused in Arte in the emission “Court Circuit”. After his studies, he shoot the short movie “Au delà de l’hygiène” with Jean-Baptiste Kaupp in the main role. The movie wo 7 awards for the moment. “Au delà de l’hygiène” wins the “jury award of the best french movie” in the 2023 th edition of the Cannes Film Awards.
INTERVIEW WITH PIERRE DESCAMPS
Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about? Hello, thanks you for the amazing festival and for the jury award of the best french film for “Au delà de l’hygiène”! The short movie is a dystopie between purists (pro-hygiène) and naturalists( against hygiène). The main character don’t like the two sides and become expulsed of the society because he didn’t want to choose a ideology. The only person who understand him is him robot therapist. Until the day when everything changes … My project is an adaptation of the novel of Philip K Dick “Là où il y’a de l’hygiène” written in 1954. The main topic is the totalitarism and how he can be installed in a quiet society. It is a philosophical and polical question.
What are your ambitions with your project? My ambition is to purpose another kind of cinema in France and to develop “un film de genre” (science fiction). The objective was to create a thinking movie which opens reflections about our own society but also an organic movie with action, esthetism and violence. I want peoples question after the movie the society and their own opinions and question the political power and the opposition. The movie is a warning against totalitarism where you can’t think by yourself. It is also a thinking about transhumanism? a society where the humans can’t exprim their emotions between them, they hide their own emotions to others peoples and they are allowed to express their emotions with the technology (inside their car, with the robot therapist). I want to diffuse the movie in the maximum of festivals and TV channels.
Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you? The shooting was very intense, we shoot the movie in three days ! It was a good challenge with a lot of decors, we moved a lot. We have an excellent team. I want to thank all the members of the shooting team for their intense work . I think the movie was very close to my imagination so it was a good shooting. The good surprise was the lighting of the first bar where we shoot the first scene. It was perfect to install a dystopic ambiance and to start the movie !
For what group of spectators is your film targeted? It is open to everyone until 10 years old. I don’t think of target audiences when I do the movie. Everyone can be touched, like or hate the movie ! It is open to all the public, the public of science-fiction or “cinéma de genre” will like it but it is not targeted in this own direction. It is for all the curious peoples of the planet ! Why should distributors buy your film? I think it will be interesting for them to buy the movie because it purpose something different in France. Another way to do cinema, to think, to feel things. The “cinema de genre” needs to be the new “nouvelle vague” in France, it is a new artistic way to do cinema. The public want him but it is not enough purposed in France by producers and distributors . 20 % of the public want to see “un film de genre” (fantastic, horror, science fiction) at the cinema in France but they have only 6% of this kind of movie ! It is a disaster ! Spectators are frustrated and after they watched the american movies in this kind of cinema ! It is the same for the creators , they don’t have enough resources so they shoot their movies in the United States or United Kingdom. We need to change our mentality because we have talent for purpose this kind of popular, entertainment and thinking cinema. It is actual, it is the future and we have french ways to develop cinema stories and purpose different things which are different of american cinema. “Le cinéma de genre” talks about our present , it is an author cinema who is underrated. We need to develop this kind of cinema in France for stay a very good country of cinema. It is the mission of the french directors and the french distributors. How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film? “Au delà de l’hygiène” is a dystopie close of our world with moments of contemplation and action. The film is a mix of naturalist and contemplative moments. I explore the intimate world of the main character Don Walsh who is trapped in this world. The moments of tension and contemplations are explored by synthwave music who is my hallmark. It is also an exploration of the violence : inside the society (with social conflicts) , the violence to become free of the main character and the violence of the oppression of the police to keep the power alive . It is the denonciation of the totalitarism. In my work, the violence is brutal like real life, it is the way of the characters to express themself . It is also an esthetic and artistic way to put rhythm inside a movie like notes of music.
Why did you decided to become a filmmaker? I decid to become a filmmaker to express myself by the images and the emotions they provoke for the public. I want to purpose my own point of view in the world, to explore imagination and new universes. Filmmaking is a spiritual way to discover the world, to put yourself instead of the characters, to better understand the immensity of the world and the point of view. It is a way to understand and explore life before dying. André Bazin says making movies is like create sarcophagus , the movies will stay after our own deaths and to keep a footprint in the world. The actors dying and the stories stay in the screen. It is a way to celebrate life and death.
Who is your role model? My role model is Nicolas Wending Refn. I love this movies and this artistic way to express violence. I love also the way that he is in industry but stay an real artist. He says for every movie “you need to take a new aquarium and break it” ! It is creativity, you don’t have purpose everytime the same thing, you need to take risk and break the thing you build. Everybody wants him to directed “Drive 2 “, he know it will be a disaster to do the same thing and he purpose “Only God Forgives” and love it ! It was different that every body expected ! You need to create the surprise for the audience, to choke the public ! I think the most important is to take risks for create new movies and not to stay inside your comfort zone. In life, I also love a sportif “Olivier Giroud” , a french footballer for his mental and the ability to stay focus and not let go. It is not important what peoples say about you and your art, the most important is to create a new way to express yourself and new movies. I also finish by a citation of Nicolas Wending Refn : “ Art is made to divide, because if art doesn’t divide, it doesn’t penetrate, and if it doesn’t penetrate, you just consume it”.
Which movies are your favorites? Why? My favourite movie is “Lost Highway” directed by David Lynch. I loved the ambiance, the fact that the movie is a loop and the end can be the first scene and the inverse is also true! I find it fascinating and the way David Lynch explorate the dreams and the nightmares of the main character is fabulous! It his best movie ! I love also Donnie Darko for the mixing of the different genders of movies (fantastic, comedies, horror …) ! It is so surprising, creative , funny and we can’t expected that ! It is a master piece with an amazing Jake Gyllenhaal for his first role . I love also the Billy Wilder comedy “ Kiss me stupid” for the quality of the dialogues , for the rhythm and the playing of the actors. It is a very actual film who denonciate the hypocrisy inside a relationship. I love also “Sylvia Scarlett” of Georges Cukor for the thinking about genders, it was also very actual for the epoque and don’t understanding, it was 1935 ! Terrence Malick is a genius of image , “Tree of Life” is just amazing and an amazing experience of cinema !
Where do you look for inspiration for your films? Inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes is when I read a book, see a painting, listening music, writing about a theme . Something is provocated, the images started and I start to write. And when I write a lot, it is a good sign. David Lynch says we have to capt ideas like fishs, we don’t know where it forms but we have to capt them ! I think the most interesting ideas are personals. We need to be touched personally for have a point of view . It is essential to do the movies not for a public or for the others but for yourself ! I know i am touched by movies when I see the point of view of the director when he talks about personal thinks. It is the best movies! When you see a personal view of director, it is an author movie , it is not depend of the gender of the movie.
Which topics interest you the most? The topics who inspirated the most is to talk about actual things with transformation. I like the “cinema de genre” because he permits to express point of view with transformation, esthetism and entertainment. I think like Nicolas Wending Refn the main topic of my movies is the violence. The violence who permits to the characters of the movie to express themself, they don’t use words but violence. Art is an act of violence. Violence is a esthetic way and also a brut way to put rhythm into movies. In movies, violence is like music. I hate violence in real life, I don’t know who to fight and I think that horrible but in movies it like a catharsis. It is like a minor “do “ in music! I also like to denounce things in my movie. I like to talk about things who derange inside the society. And they have also love in the movies. I love to write dialogues inside movies, to create rhythms and to develop the point of view of the characters of the story. It is something really important inside a movie too. But after i am not an analysis, i think it is a job of journalist to analyze authors and we don’t control everything inside a movie !
What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career? My best achievement will be to do a long metrage. I take step by step in shooting short movies this way. I build this way, I have the main idea of the future long movie. If producers of cinema read me right now and they like my universe, they can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
What do you consider most important about filming? The most important think is to do in our own way. It is need to be personal and to express your own point of view. The point of view is the think who make your movie different. It is need to be your own movie and not the movie of everyone else. I defend the politic of the authors inside the french cinema for don’t have the same movies over and over. We need to cultivate the difference and the difference is making art. It is not have to be a fabric of movies like making yogurts. We need authentic cinema, which are art, not a capitalist way to make money. Filming need to be authentic and we need to have our own point of view in filmmaking but also in spectator. We need to celebrate art and not be consumers.
Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best? It is depend of the movie and the things you have to express in the movie. I like the neons when I want to create a fantastic , esthetical and colorimetric ambiance.
How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking? I think our epoque is fascinating. You have a lot of new supports (with platforms, cinemas, TV channels) and a lot of contenus. Maybe sometimes you have too much things with all the series and we are not focus about the quality but by the quantity. The old movies are very important because they are focused in the “mise en scène” and not only in the technical ways to purpose beautiful images. In our epoque, we are concentrate a lot for the form and we relief the found! The found is really important , the two aspects are really importants and we need to keep the way to treat the two. I love France because we are a country who love cinemas. I think the cinema will not die , the platforms need to be an extension of the cinema and not his death. I am positive about that because the cinema room is a collective experience. We are dying of individualism and we need to have collective. The cinema changes but stay very important for people. Peoples need to dream and we have to defend intellectual and commercial cinema who defend things. It is a bad moment today but I am sure it will rise up because we need cinema in our life. We need to dream and to explorate new universes. We have authors and filmmaking who create new things every day and we will create together the cinema of tomorrow.
What can disappoint you in a movie? The thing who disappoint me inside a movie is when no risk is taken. When you can guess what happens everytime. This kind of movies are so boring ! I need to see the risk , to love or to hate the movies. When the movie is average, it is so boring ! Art needs to be surprising like life.
Who supports you in your film career? I will thanks my parents who supports me in my film career and also my little brother Jules. Also all the peoples who shoot with me, the technicians and the actors , thanks you for the support ! Thanks you very much for the interview !
Au delà de l'hygiène
Inside a society obsessed by the hygiene, Don Walsh don't find his place between the purists ( "for " the hygiene) and the naturalists( "against" the hygiene"). Only his psy-robot understand him. Until the day when everything change ...