[Interview] Les Intranquilles by Joachim Lafosse: on the verge of a romantic relationship

Presented in official competition at the Cannes Film Festival Intranquilles, supported by the South Region, Joachim Lafosse’s ninth fiction film was released in cinemas on the French mainland in late September. five years later The couple’s finances, the Belgian filmmaker returns to his favorite subjects: the family and the couple. IN That Undisturbed, he gives us an autobiographical story, intense and moving, in which we witness the wavering of a family confronted with illness.

Carried by the duo Damien Bonnard (Miserable, Get upright), and Leïla Bekhti (The Great Bath, Everything that shines), who form a particularly endearing couple, we discover the young Gabriel Merz Chammah (Isabelle Huppert’s granddaughter), whose first appearance with Patrick Descamps
(Naked property, The French) and Alexandre Gavras (The world is yours, The capital). The film depicts the daily life of a loving family consisting of Damien, a painter suffering from bipolar disorder, his partner Leïla, a furniture decorator and their son Amine. Sometimes euphoric and often sleepless, Damien’s unpredictable behavior has reason to worry those close to him, especially Amine, who is more mature than her father. Convinced that the drugs are harming his creation and his romantic relationship, Damien tries to fight back and refuses to take his treatment. As for Leïla, she spends all her energy on maintaining her couple, sometimes at risk of getting lost. How long can they last …

Gomet ‘met Joachim Lafosse when he came to Marseille in the cinema Les Variétés.

What made you want to make a movie on this topic?

Joachim Lafosse : My mother’s sentence when she divorced my father. She said to me: “I can not take it anymore! I still love your father, but it’s too hard ”. It was during my father’s last hospitalization. It took me a while to understand this phrase, when you love someone, then you will not?

It’s the film’s question about the limits of amorous engagement.

Joachim Lafosse : What interested me was the romantic encounter. We know that when we enter into a relationship at some point, we will be naked. We can not hide our faults, our weaknesses or our faults for a long time. There is always a choice to be made: either we will flee because we have revealed ourselves too much and we are not immune to failure because reality is always difficult, or we wonder if I will hold on? Do I accept the other person’s mistake? Both struggle to remain multiple. None of them want to be stuck in a role. Leïla only refuses to be a nurse, she realizes that she has given in and has forgotten herself. She wants to remain a lover, a mother, a furniture designer, a friend. It’s the same for Damien. He not only wants to be sick, he fights it, he says “I am also a painter, a lover, a friend and a
father ”and I find that annoying. And this is my parents’ lesson. When care becomes victims, there is no more care, in fact, it is destructive.

You manage to create excitement through Damien’s unpredictable behavior, I think especially of the scene on the boat or the one by the lake with Amine’s friends.

Joachim Lafosse : When you live in a house where someone is in a manic hurry, it’s a thriller. I recall,
teenager, during my father’s last hospitalization, who was afraid to be with him. We said with my brother that we should make a movie to tell what it is. It will take time to get there! But yes, it can be nightmarish. But I am very proud of my father, who has not been hospitalized for thirty years and who managed to live without taking treatment.

Did you give any advice to Damien Bonnard, who composes a character as a very nuanced psychotic painter, never in profit?

Joachim Lafosse : I suggested he go for analysis for three months before the shooting to observe the fear and apprehension he might have in the commitment to this character. But I did not have to make suggestions to him, because as soon as he read the manuscript, he reassured me, he said to me: “I’m going to specialists in Saint-Anne, I’m going to work. On painting with Piet Raemdonck (contemporary Belgian artist, editor’s note).

Precisely about the painting, it is quite rare to see an actor paint pictures of himself in the cinema, can you tell us more about it, especially since Damien Bonnard has a tentative name?

Joachim Lafosse : Absolutely, when your name is Bonnard, you can play painter! But it is not his own paintings, it is a painter from Antwerp, Piet Raemdonck, whom I greatly admire. I could not imagine making a film about a painter’s life without filming paintings that I admire. Damien went to this painter’s studio for a few weeks and they worked on the gesture. Damien already has an education as a painter, they worked on the gesture, so Damien has the same gesture as Pietr.

At the beginning of the film, the couple spends their holidays in the South of France, where did you record?

Joachim Lafosse : On the island of Giens and in Toulon.

You asked the actors to choose the end of the film, was it written at the beginning? Without revealing it, did you choose the same?

Joachim Lafosse : Yes, I chose it, but they offered it to me. But I do not think I would have been able to choose such a fair ending. We were so lucky to be able to rehearse the entire film in continuity before we shot it, and there we clarified the script. When I saw the generosity of the actors, I said to myself that they should experience something so powerful that they would be my first allies in finding a truly fair ending. I love what they offered me! On the other hand, I will not do it again because it is hyper-creepy!

Your father was a photographer of works by artists, do you think his work helped shape your vision as a filmmaker?

Joachim Lafosse : I have always seen my father be very admired by his artist friends, sculptors and painters, and it is true that when
I found myself on the set of Intranquilles, I had the impression of rediscovering this rather proustic participation.

Did it affect you?

Joachim Lafosse : I think. My father did not remain a photographer, but I saw the pictures he had taken. I grew up
with. I love portrait painters, I think it’s the finest art!

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