Alix Poisson, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade's favorite actress, of The Courjault Affair in Sambre, which shows thirty years of bankruptcy of the care of victims of sexual assault in France, has long been involved on the subject. A year ago, she is the patron of L'Enfant bleu, an association that fights against child abuse, and a short film on incest, 1432. Or how an actor who succeeds in everything loses his footing, one evening on stage, when he discovers the presence of his former aggressor in the room...
- Tonight TV: check out all the programs airing tonight on TV
A masterful film, with a fluid direction, a slick cinematography, remarkable actors - Jérémy Lopez from the Comédie Française and Patrick Descamps. Above all, it is a deeply moving film. The success of Sambre, and the thousands of messages of thanks that the series has generated on social networks, offers us the opportunity to return to the subject with its director and to help the dissemination of this work that can be described as a public utility.
TV MAGAZINE. - What did you have before you, the desire to direct or to take up this subject?
Alix POISSON. - It was concomitant. For a while, I had been working with the association L'Enfant bleu and I was beginning to master the subject of sexual violence in children. At the same time, I wanted to be the driving force behind a project. The trigger came from the story told to me by an actor I know: he had received a call from his attacker one night before acting at the theatre... What is going on in the victim's mind when they are confronted by their attacker? They say they don't expect anything but are often stunned by the violence of the response. The manipulation enterprise continues.
Did the prism of an actor character seem more interesting to you?
Yes, the fact that he is forced to go through the performance. I've done a lot of theatre and I've seen it in other circumstances: the loss of a loved one, a child in hospital... And no matter what happens, you have to play. It's a kind of childhood nightmare and there's something extremely restorative for my character in saying those words, from that play, that night: "I don't love you, don't chase me." This is an excerpt from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, a play that is also about sexual violence and consent.
Jérémy Lopez of the Comédie Française and Patrick Descamps in 1432. Credit: Blacktool Studio
You have been at a good school with Jean-Xavier de Lestrade to approach this type of subject with modesty and delicacy. What did you take away from the way he worked?
The choice of the geographical distance at which your camera is, what focal length and which frame you choose, already tells 50% of what you have to say. I tried to apply it even if, in hindsight, I understand that I sometimes made bad choices or at least not precise enough. At least I asked myself the question: where to put myself in relation to my character and what he has in mind. And, the second essential point, always give priority to the actors!
"People are seizing on the subject, as with Sambre, it opens a floodgate"
Are you leading them the way you'd like to be led?
When I started the film, I was terrified of the technical part because I didn't feel legitimate. The direction part seemed simpler to me, especially since I love watching the actors work: making mistakes, searching... But not at all! None work the same way. You have to adapt without losing your focus. It's a living matter full of stage fright and anguish! At the same time, you have to know how to trust them, the actors don't always offer what you had planned but the result is sometimes better. For my part, I'd like to be able to reach that place where you don't play anymore, a form of letting go.
This short film has been shown in schools and festivals: what kind of reception have you received?
It has been shown in Trouville, Namur, Angoulême, Alès, Bastia... It has always been well received, people are taking up the subject, as with Sambre, it opens a floodgate. I also presented it last week in four high school classes in the Grand-Est region where we filmed. It's disturbing. First there are silences, because it is difficult to express oneself in public, and then speech is freed. But these young people admit that they don't necessarily talk about it head-on with each other. That's why it's so important to present the film.
This film was made with the participation of France télévisions as part of the program Libre Court.www.france.tv/france-3/libre-court. Instagram: courtmetrageftv
1432 also benefited from the support of the Grand Est region and the city of Mulhouse.