French director Marc Fitoussi,, who visited festival ‚Kino pavasaris‘ and presented his film „Copacabana”, mentioned that he, as a director still has lots of things to learn, because he produced only two full-length feature films. However, audience that gathered at cinema theatre in Vilnius had no reproaches and appreciated the film. Agnë Rimkutë and Indrë Audenytë spoke to the director while he was visiting Vilnius International film festival.
- Do you think ‚Copacabana‘has any features that could be referred as specific in French cinema?
I had read some articles that state this is not a typical French movie. It may be because it was produced in Belgium and France, some Flemish actors were appearing.. Maybe because I don‘t feel close to French cinema. I like it as I like French actors, but it‘s not similar anymore to family like atmosphere, that dominated during the New Wave. Back then, all the directors helped each other. Actually, right now when I create movies I feel quite alone, I don‘t feel close to the new French cinema.
- How did you get the idea for ‘Copacabana‘ ?
I‘ve already created a short-length film (Pepper Candy (2005)), it‘s about an older woman that needed to get a new job and had to face some aggressive sales strategies... I wanted to develop this topic. At this time I had already been working with Lolita Chammah at my first full-length film, and we both wanted to work together again... The first idea of the film was more related to social subjects, working world problems than the analysis of mother-daughter relationship, even though it may look different right now.
- Who ‚dictated‘ the title of the movie to you?
Copacabana is a very popular beach at Rio de Janeiro. Babou (the main character) dreams to visit that beach, but finally she gets to Ostende beach in Belgium and it really differs from the one of her dream.
- ‚Copacabana‘is quite a happy film, although it tells about complicated problems in the society. Why do you choose this particular manner of talking?
I think, it is always better to talk about serious problems with humour, without causing sympathy or self-pity. Finally, I‘m sure that in this way I said more, people are more likely to listen when not so complex manner is used. The story might have been different: main character Babou could have had a lack of money, she could have moan she has none of them. However, her nature is bright and maybe that‘s why problems finally stood back.
- Why did you choose Isabelle Huppert for the main role?
Because, in my opinion, she is the most wonderful actress in whole France. It was my dream. I thought that she would refuse, because in France she is known for creating complex, cold characters; it‘s been a while since she last appeared in a comedy. However, her answer was short and positive. I was certain of my choice, but not everybody was easy to convince that she is the most proper for this role. They were just mad that she can also perform great in comedies.
- During the whole movie we can enjoy spontaneous mood. Was it hard to make, considering the fact that it is hard to perform spontaneity?
Yes, we worked a lot with this... There also are scenes that were filmed with hidden cameras; for example, where Babou is trying to sell shoes in the street to English people who just arrived on a ship. Isabelle Huppert pretended that she is offering to buy shoes for real and people didn‘t recognise her.
- Do you have the most stunning memory from shooting set? What is it?
I chose Belgium, Ostende coast for the part of the film, I wanted to create a contrast between Babou‘s dream to go to the sunny Brazilian coast in the south. Finally, she is forced to go north, where she finds bad, wintry weather... Although, when we came to shoot, weather was wonderful, sunny, nothing like today. It did not correspond to my idea, so we had to ‚pretend‘ the weather is very bad, we had to hide sun everyday until the end of shooting in Belgium; it was complicated.
- What would you advice to the ‚outsiders‘ of today that, like Babou, do not want to be involved by the rules of society?