“When the problem of overpopulation, of food, can no longer be solved, it is necessarily war”


i like belgian

Jean-Jacques Annaud returns to the fore with the impressive blockbuster Notre Dame burnse, inspired by the fire of April 15, 2019. “I was afraid that there wouldn’t be enough varied images to make a 90-minute movie.“, he explains to us.

By Christian Marchand

Paris party. Record a movie as Notre Dame is burning It’s a real obstacle course. What is the hardest?
Jean Jacques Annaud. It is important to have producers who do not feel cramped even if the budget is very expensive. They need to know that there is hope not only of not losing money, but of earning it. It’s natural. Sometimes people reproach me saying: “You have to be an artist and not give a shit about the producers. ” Well no! You have to respect the people who mortgage their properties, their houses, who save money to allow me to film.

If you hadn’t become a director, what other job would you have had?
The healer. I remember very well the moment when I made my decision. It was at the Michelet Institute. He was taking medieval history lessons. I told myself that I still had to choose between archeology and cinema. Being a filmmaker was a crazy dream. I was 7 years old when this desire was born in me. Later, as I was going to film school, I had my place reserved at the Cinémathèque. Every day I watched three movies. Seat D2, fourth row in the middle! For years, the place was never sold. Even if I was a little late, she was for me. It was bathed in images of great classics. And I didn’t want to do what the French press wanted me to do: films in which we argue for an hour and a half around a table.

victory song, your first film, was poorly received in France. However, you had been crowned with an Oscar for best foreign language film. Did you have a bad time?
And in Belgium, I received the award from the Brussels Festival, which promised me great success! Later I understood why France had not appreciated my feature film. The French I show in Africa are the ones I discovered during my military service. And I laugh at them. And maybe even a little more than that. They did not want to see the film, like all those who had colonized other peoples. That said, I could name a bunch of plays that were said to have flopped and that people were lining up in front of theaters for.

You continue with three great films: the fire war, The name of the roseand Bear. Unforgettable?
Yes. However, I was convinced that I screwed up. Who could have been passionate about bare-assed strangers rumbling in a prehistoric setting? But here it is: driven by an enormous passion, he wanted to think outside the box.


You create dreams. Does the world still make you dream?
Today is the debauchery of denunciation, misinformation… The bad side of human beings emerges because there is no longer respect for the other and their private life. Our world is a world of vile revenge, of gratuitous hate. I’m even surprised no one saw the war coming. It’s obvious. I have lived in the United States for a long time. USA is not the same anymore. It is a completely divided country, with two clans that hate each other. When I met her, America was completely united behind the flag. It forced admiration, it was a great country. Currently, he is quite miserable and very sad. We have experienced a unique period of peace in the history of the world. But when you can no longer solve the problem of overpopulation, of food, it is necessarily war. It’s all in the genetics. The greatest danger to man is man. We are our worst enemy, as we are often the worst enemy of ourselves.

A little optimism to finish?
(laughs) I love Belgium. Belgians are French without arrogance. We, with a single language, are already dividing ourselves. And then, I have some very Belgian indulgences: radicchio with ham, gueuze, and Leffe. Isn’t it beautiful, happiness?


“TV is just a warm water faucet”

Jean-Jacques Annaud returns to the fore with the impressive blockbuster Notre Dame is burninginspired by the fire of April 15, 2019. “I was afraid that there wouldn’t be enough varied images to make a 90-minute movie”he explains. “I devoured a series of articles in French and English. I built thirty script pages that were not in the correct order. I sent this to my producer and my agent. They both replied, “It’s great. We are moved.” It was the first draft, but while I was writing I felt that everything was fine. »

Jean-Jacques Annaud takes advantage of this to defend cinema against streaming platforms. “People will avoid cinemas if the cinema does not take advantage of its specificity. They need to get out of the house to watch a movie in a big room with other people. Laughing together is important. And for the excitement, the size of the screen is crucial. Immersion matters a lot. The truth is that television is just a faucet for warm water. You feel like trying it, or you can turn off the tap and go to bed. Going to the movies is something else. We are preparing for the night. We choose a movie. It is completely different. It’s not free like TV, where you can change the channel if you don’t like it. In the cinema, what counts is the desire. »


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