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Interview – Alain Guiraudie – ‘Rester Vertical’ – Cannes Film Festival 2016


Posted May 24, 2016 by

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Interview – Alain Guiraudie

For the first time in Competition, Alain Guiraudie comes back to Cannes with Staying Vertical (Rester Vertical), an exploration of contemporary relationships in the jungle of the modern world that are tangled with symbols connected to tradition, religion and of course a serious dose of romantic and simultaneously raw eroticism.

Film Clip:


Your previous film Stranger by the lake was much more intimate and personal whereas here we see an exploration of the contemporary family and its modern varieties. What leads to this transition?

I observe the world around me and I source material for my work from it. So of course I will be influenced by sociopolitical factors as is the gay marriage and equality in France for example. Is always something I want to deal with in my own way, and I felt that this is a hot issue right now, I needed to look deeper into it.

How do you think a general or more mainstream audience would respond to the sexual exploration of the characters?

I am not sure how mainstream the audiences of my film has been so far or how broader it can get; of course I don’t want to stay marginal, I want my films to be seen. I want to express things the way I feel them. I remember that when I was kid, I went to the movies because I wanted to see something new, something different and unknown. This is what I expect from my audience too.

How would you define the relationship between fear and seduction in your films? You characters seems to be swinging between both.

I definitely believe that it has to do with the relationship e have with the people around us. Many things in the film like the baby or the wolf are objects of both fear and desire but it does not mean that they necessarily co-exist. They rather appear in different phases of an interpersonal relationship.

In general the film deals with family, its modern forms and people’s relationships in a world where they can establish their own norms. The final scene though has something biblical. Can you explain this antithesis and why you chose it?

As a filmmakers it is important for me to draw inspiration from everyday life, from anything that is going on around me in the world. It is not enough to treat those topics per se, but to also take them to another level, to make them larger than life; and even give them a mythological eco sometimes. So if I have any references to tradition or religion is because I grew up in this environment, they formed my personality and many more people’s around me, which helps me present my topics in a more universal way. To reach the other, share the experience.

The topics and issues you present are sometimes radical but at the same time quite provocative or even revolutionary. How do you balance this thin line?

I like to make people think and get involved, and I also like to present things I haven’t seen myself at the movies before. I look around me and I see that society and the way we see things is shifting. There are now many more men, for example, who are not afraid to raise a child alone, to be single fathers.

Sexuality and orientation are quite fluid in your films. What is your personal take on the way we see relationships today?

I think it has to be fluid and definitely I don’t see anything wrong with someone who identifies as a heterosexual to want to have same sex experiences and vice versa. This occurs around us every day but unfortunately we have certain norms and stereotypes that are still very noticeable and strong.

You are dealing with three different generations of male actors in Rester Vertical. How did you approach their different perception of sexuality. Is it a question of open-mindedness and personal ideas rather than a generational gap you encountered?

I don’t think it’s a question of age, but rather a feeling of desire. As a director I always wanted to desire my actors in order to be able to work with them. And surprisingly older actor are more open to being directed and to experience new things than younger actors.


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Interviewed & Written by:


Martin I. Petrov
World Of Film International Festival
Partnership Contributor

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