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[Interview] – Larry Cech, Raul Torres & Monica Cooper – ‘Absinthe’ – A Short Film


Posted November 26, 2017 by

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Absinthe plays homage to the beautiful black and white old Hollywood stories and shares actual quotes from legends including James Brown, Janis Joplin, Frida Khalo and Marilyn Monroe. This avant-garde film stars two of France’s most beloved actresses Oscar-nominee Marie-Christine Barraultand Cesar-nominee Brigitte Fossey, as well as American actor Larry Cech. The film was directed by Michelle Figlarz and produced by Larry Cech, Raul Torres and Monica Cooper.

Absinthe shares the story of Simon, a spiritually lost man, who struggles to live in the past or move forward with his dream of re-igniting his long buried artistic passions. This imaginative piece is shot in color and black & white and is influenced by the work of the famed 1930’s French photographer Brassaï, who was known as “The Eye of Paris”.

Larry Cech produced and starred in Absinthe. This talented actor’s previous credits include Washington Blvd., which screened at The Marche du Film at the 67th Festival du Cannes. Alongside Larry, stars Brigette Fossey (Cinema Paradiso) and Marie-Christine Barrault (Cousin Cousine). Also appearing in the film is Raul Torres (Wonderstruck).

Absinthe was the only short given permission to screen at The Marche du Film at the 70th Cannes Film Festival. The film screened at the DTLA Film Festival, in Los Angeles, and opened for the 25th Anniversary Screening of Robert Altman’s The Player.



To get things started, tell us about ‘Absinthe’, what is the film about?

LC: “Absinthe” takes its inspiration from the classic Old Hollywood films from the 1930’s and 40’s. It’s the story of Simon, an American businessman who searches for meaning in his lonely existence. After arriving in Paris, Simon receives a mysterious message from a cast of characters that include James Brown, Janis Joplin, Frida Khalo and Marilyn Monroe. They inspire him to return to his original artistic passions.

Where did the idea come from?

LC: It started at The Cannes Film Festival in 2015 when Marie-Christine Barrault (Academy Award Nominee. Cousin-Cousine) told me on a whim to write a part for her. When back in Paris on a rainy afternoon I called our writer/director and pitched her an idea of an American businessman who goes to the Eiffel Tower and receives a message from three beautiful angels. From that initial idea come the inspiration for the script.

Who is directing the film?

RT: Michelle Figlarz is our director who we also met in Cannes. She directed the award winning Sisters which won Best Picture at the Cannes Short Film Festival. Michelle is also an actress and plays Janis Joplin in the film.

How has production of the film unfolded? Did you encounter any issues? What was the greatest challenge?

MC: Once the story was locked, we began the process of identifying the right location for the director and building our production team in Paris. It was important that we build a co-production relationship to help us navigate the terrain that none one of us has experienced before. Luckily, the year prior, I had met producer Zachary Miller at The Cannes Film Festival who introduced us to his producing partner and line producer Edward Flaherty. Ed had 40+ years of film production under his belt and knew Paris like the back of his hand. He helped us to bring all the local pieces together. Shooting in the new location always has some challenges and shooting out of the country is amplified especially dealing with language barriers and exchange rates. But with our very professional crew and the guidance of our line producer we navigated around any bumps in the road and troubled waters that came our way with diplomacy.

Let’s talk about the cast, who is starring in ‘Absinthe’?

MC: We have an amazing cast. Cesar Nominee Brigitte Fossey (Cinema Paradiso) and Academy Award Nominee Marie-Christine Barrault (Cousin-Cousine) star alongside talented American actor Larry Cech (Washington Blvd.)
Raul Torres (Wonderstruck) is also featured as the barman Zorro.

When and where can we expect to see ‘Absinthe’?

LC: We are shopping the film around to various distributors and hope to have that locked up shortly.

What are your influencers as producers?

LC: I have always admired the producers who paved the way in the industry for us. Robert Evans book The Kid Stays in The Picture was a fascinating read and showed what is was like to work at the end of the studio era. I also admire Jerry Weintraub for his persistence and creativity. The list of successful projects these guys created has influenced modern day film history.

RT: The French/American producer Serge Lorick, for his persistence, creativity and his ability to keep his finger on today’s cultural pulse.

MC: There are so many to name. Producing is a learning process everyday.

What is the next step for the three of you, do you have any other films in production?

LC: Raul and I have two features in development including a project called “The Border” which tells the story of two border guards on either side of the US/Mexico Border. The other is a time-travel thriller that will be shot in Switzerland called “Entanglement”.

MC: We have a slate of film and TV projects in development and are going into production on two features films in the early part of 2018. The first is a music driven TV series out of London and I’m excited to be going back to France for our sophomore feature called “Last Resistance Fighters” in late summer.


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