Trailer for the movie "Rodeo" (Tel Aviv Cinematheque)
Lola Quiburon is a young and celebrated French director who defines herself as a "far-left, anti-racist and anti-fascist woman".
In the last year, she has already managed to arouse the wrath of the right-wing media in her country.
Usually, French female creators in her profile tend to speak out against Israel and even boycott it, but she is an exception to this rule.
And so, the director visited Tel Aviv a few years ago to present her short film at the Student Festival, and a few months ago she returned to Tel Aviv to screen her first feature film, "Rodeo", at the Gay Film Festival.
Now, the film is also being released in commercial distribution by Cinematech Tel Aviv and will once again be available to audiences in Israel.
"Fundamentally, I'm against a boycott," she says in an interview on the occasion of the film's distribution.
"I think we need to create connections, and not hide behind walls."
"Rodeo" had its world premiere last spring at the Cannes Film Festival, and deals with a phenomenon that is stirring up France.
As the name of the film implies, this is an underground world known as "Urban Rodeo" - gatherings of bikers who show off their new vehicles and the dangerous things they know how to do with them.
Kiburon knows this world intimately: she spent four years in it, during which she documented it, carried out an in-depth investigation and got to know the working souls.
get out of the box
Lola Kiburon (photo: Courtesy of Cinematek Tel Aviv)
Most of these bikers are young people from the suburbs, sons of North African immigrants, and like everything in France, this phenomenon has also become political.
The left sees it as a culture of protest, the right sees it as a danger to the nation, and these gatherings have already led to a car accident that increased the public uproar.
During the Cannes Film Festival, Kiburon spoke about how the police have a certain responsibility in these disasters.
Her words were taken out of context and led to a dance of demons against her.
"I became a target of the fascists online," she said.
"They sent me endless racist and sexist messages."
Almost all the participants in the "Urban Rodeo" are men, but the heroine of the film is actually a young woman, who time after time surprises those who dare to underestimate her.
Her name is Julia and she is played by Julie Ledro, who, like most of the characters in the film, is her first role in front of a camera.
"I dreamed of a character like Julia for a long time," says the creator.
"Since time immemorial, women who give blows is something that has scared the cinema, so we haven't seen many of them. I wanted to create a character of a brat, intense and powerful. She has a fighting energy, she is fearless, she knows how to take blows and also defend herself. She is angry. The inspiration This character had Travis Bickle, the protagonist of 'Taxi Driver' starring De Niro. Like him, Julia is a marginal character, free of moral inhibitions, whose violence has an air of mystery. As a director, it is important for me to give visibility to things that have been invisible until now . I'm following in the footsteps of directors like Julia Ducourneau, and other directors will follow. At the moment, the term 'female gaze' is still searching for self-definition, but the more films by women, about women, the more we will open up the female gaze in cinema."
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"Taxi Driver", the feminist French version.
From "Rodeo" (Photo: Cinematek Tel Aviv)
The film was screened at the Gay Festival in Tel Aviv and is sometimes also screened internationally at festivals of "women's films".
What do you think about these types of frames?
Are they a kind of ghetto for a work that is not mainstream?
Are they still relevant?
"I don't think the film is 'queer' because of its subject, but because of its language - because of the way the heroine subverts the male gaze and what is expected of her as a woman. Sometimes, when I'm in a bookstore, I tell myself I'll only look at books written by women. It's a way to give them visibility , because until now only men were talked about and the women were pushed to the margins. Sometimes this is also my way of thinking about movies, but I don't think this should be our world view at every moment. Also in this context, I'm against being fortified in boxes. You have to move sometimes." .
Most of the actors in the film are young, and young people don't go to the cinema that much anymore.
Was it a disadvantage or an advantage for you?
"It's a disadvantage that has turned into an advantage. We know that the young audience no longer goes to the cinema like it used to, so it was even more important for us to think about them in the film's marketing strategy. The public that goes to the art cinemas in the center of Paris is usually a white and older audience. Therefore, I was happy to discover that Rodeo' is also screened in multiplexes in the periphery, where there is a different kind of audience, and it was a box office success there."
Perhaps these young people were drawn into the energy of the film.
From beginning to end, it rushes towards us at a speed of one hundred kilometers per hour. How did you create this energy?
"My intention from the beginning was to create a frantic pace.
From the script stage to the editing stage, the desire was for every scene to be full of action.
I met Julie, who plays the main role, three years before filming began, and I worked with her like you work with an athlete before a sports competition.
Besides, we deliberately didn't write a backstory for her.
There is little information about the character's past.
She always lives in the present.
We have already seen many movies about cars.
A motorcycle is a less popular vehicle in movies.
What energy does he bring with him?
"The motorcycle brings with it power and freedom. Julie is addicted to it. She needs this object between her legs and this machine that makes noise to exist, to be seen. For her, the motorcycle is an extension of her body."
From "Rodeo" (Photo: Cinematek Tel Aviv)
Kiburon, it should be noted, defines herself in the conversation as non-binary, but in all the articles about her so far in her home country, she was referred to from the dialogue with her as a "director" and that is why I also write that way.
The conversation between us takes place on Zoom while she is in her Parisian apartment.
Behind her is her bookcase and I ask her to choose one book and talk about it.
"There's a book here about Taoism, a philosophy I got to know during the corona," she says.
"We tend to separate life from death and between dreams and reality, but this philosophy does not make those separations. Everything is part of the same energy, everything is part of the same ceaseless flow. This affected the film, in which death does not really exist either, and dreams mix with reality and vice versa. The editing of the film deliberately does not present a contrast between all these things."
You've talked in the past about your sources of inspiration, and you've also mentioned the late Jean-Claude Brisseau's Hustle and Fury, which also dealt with suburban violence through what might be described as poetic realism.
Brisseau was found guilty of sexual offenses and is obviously a controversial figure today.
Where do you place yourself in the discussion regarding the separation between the artist and art?
"I can understand the culture of rejection, but I say again and again - the worst thing is to fortify yourself in a certain position and think you know everything. This is also a form of fascism. You talked about Brisseau and you can also talk about Roman Polanski. He did a shocking thing and never paid for Yes, but I think you should keep watching his movies. 'Rosemary's Baby' is one of my favorite movies. It unsettles me but it makes me think, so I'll keep watching it, because it allows me to think. It's true of Polanski and it's true of Brisseau ".
Lola Kiburon (Photo: GettyImages, John Phillips)
Why do you love Rosemary's Baby so much?
"Maybe because I know I won't have children, and I know very well why not, and the film presents mothers in a very violent way, so I find myself in it."
Can I ask why you don't have children?
It sounds like a political position and not a personal one, so I dare to ask.
"You're right - it's political and not personal, so I'll answer you. I'm against the whole concept of fertility. Having children is a norm, and I always go against the norms. I have a partner, which is also something that's against the norms. Society expects me to have children, so Instead I will make movies