Monthly Archives: May 2012

I am just finishing the export of a movie I worked on as camera operator. It was a great adventure for a 16 min short movie that got produced over a full year (since 2011). Great topic, nice imagination and a very simple way of shooting. When I see the results, I am really happy and proud that despite the very little crew and the tight production we were able to make it and that there is a coherence in the film. It is always hard to find what the director wants : or he’s too precise and makes you feel he wants to be all the time behind the camera, or he’s too precise but can’t communicate it and makes you anyway feel he wants to be in your place. However this time, a clear partnership lead every shooting day and I can say, yes, for once, as a chief operator I was able to translate the wishes of the director….and now that the editing is done, everybody feels like he made his job, and the director that the movie is his.

It was longtime – actually 4 years – since working on a fiction. As a director I am more into documentaries, as a script writer into fiction, as chief photographer / operator in both. By default I realize that my own work needs the spontaneity of the reality and the unexpected interactions with the people I am shooting to fulfill me and to give some personal satisfaction. I realize as well that my other job – outside of movie world , insights researcher – is close to that as well. I do have a passion for meeting people and if recording them, to their lives. I remember a movie I watched in Locarno many years ago : a polish operator was giving some lessons in the art school of Kabul. To the few students that were making it (because of money, interest or just luckily staying alive), he gave this advice : “When you shoot someone, don’t do it without being interested in the person. When you shoot them, you give them the possibility to express themselves , and what is the most important they can talk about : their life. This is the only thing that matters when you go for a shooting : be interested and respectful of people’s lives.”

Recently I was at the Visions du Réel festival in Nyon, and I felt sometimes uncomfortable as I could feel that the directors were more fascinated than interested in their subjects / people / topics. Being respectful doesn’t mean sharing people’s perspectives or agreeing on their belief ; it means finding the right distance where you know you are not better than them, or that they are not superior to you. For instance one thing I cannot stand at all in movies : the “tribute movies” to any great name of movie making. I prefer any type of biopic, or entertainment oriented movie on someone than those “gratitude movies” made from younger generation to old dying ancient still influencing ones. But I respect those great masters and therefore can confront my ideas to theirs.

In a couple of days I will be going to the Oenovideo Movie Festival , held this year in Switzerland, in Aigle. As a passionate wine lover, I look forward to see what this event will look like and what the movies will be. My last documentary was about wine, wine and Poland or Poland and the idea of wine. It was a rushed / stressed / in a hurry movie that I made as a catharsis exercise. I did respect the people, the situation and the topic, but I was too excited by the fact of movie making : it was 2 years without shooting anything, a too long fast. I put so many things in it that at the end it missed a certain simplicity that would have made it…more affordable for any type of audience. Funnily enough it was not successful at all for the professionals or critics, but the rest of the audience just loved it. It was a great lesson and now that I am working on the next long feature doc, I know it is just a movie and not a therapy…or not fully.

The computer tells me he’s done with the HD export ;I think it is time to open a bottle, cook the first barbecue of the year, despite the clouds, and to enjoy this moment…before the next projects !


or how to reconsider your beliefs

I never thought it would happen to me, but well yes…over this weekend I had to face a situation that is considered as a fantasy by some, a mistake by other, or even a way of living by the rest.

Maybe it can be seen as a seasonal thing : the sunny days following a cold winter give the nature a new boost and sometimes it can be hard to deal with this new energy.

Actually, in my case, I couldn’t make the right choice…and because of it had to accept I would cross the river of certainties. Of my certainties. By not wanting to have to cope with the responsibility of the choice, I decided to see what the consequences of the action would be.

And my learnings are :

– all the greatest concepts hardly make it once facing reality

– there is nothing wrong to enjoy the moment, but then think about what it means and be brave and act with maturity to take a lesson out of it

– accept the impact of this experience and the changes (deep sometimes) that they will initiate

As a conclusion ? Well I can only quote on of my favourite songs from Cole Porter….

” Experiment , Make it your motto day and night
Experiment , And it will lead you to the light ”

ps: by the way…all this was only about….red or white wine for some butter fried asparagus with fresh mint and some colorful zucchini / carrots polenta  😉

once with 2011 Argentinian Sauvignon White from Jean Rivier, then with  2008  Swiss Assemblage from Fonjallaz…diversity matters !

(about the 6th of may)

I had a strange moment, two days ago, before going sleep.

Our French neighbours were having their big election’s evening and of course, due to this close geographical situation of where I live – take a boat, cross the lake and there you are, in another country – we have been living their campaign as if it was our. In fact, there was as much energy put into following and debating about the choice they had to make as for our federal elections. So I had the opportunity to listen to the proclamation of the results, the happiness of the winners, the sadness of the losers, the clever comments and the stupid remarks of both camps.

At the same time, I was switching channels from hockey world championship held in the Nordic countries – it takes a medium-sized  boat to go there – and NHL series game – it takes a really large boat to go there. Games were pleasant and when I heard the « since one year expected » results of the elections, It didn’t touch me more than that. Actually I didn’t have any favourite candidate and well it is their elections with their cultural / economical / religious situation, so no living it, I can’t say  who’s right or wrong, who’s good who’s bad.

But the comments I heard were totally different : there is only one good and one bad, this for every side. And there is a winner and a loser, but not the same in each side. There is a disaster, a plague to come, an infinite desperation, a sadness of the soul for the future – or an incandescent energy for renewal, a mighty will of creation, a billion times miss universe happiness to come.

Clearly to me, there was only one thing : a clear wish for expression in both camps. And the only answer to all the fears of the future or the excitement of winning was a certain violence. All the shouts, on both sides were just asking and claiming : use our violence for whatever you think is right !

Watching hockey again, I felt like a massive distribution of penalties could have been the solution : 2 min for hooking, 2×2 for undisciplined boarding, and a game suspension for the « one meter from the glass nasty checks on the back of the neck ». The interest of those penalties is to be away from the game, to calm down and the most important to me : to trust your team and opponents in what they will do. I have doubts that hockey players think about the meaning of life at those moments – actually a movie about it could be interesting – and yes for some it is just like jail and they only wait to come back for their revenge.

I had hope that watching hockey would make me feel better, but actually the commentator was shouting on the players : yes when things don’t go the way you want, and in a world where “you worth everything”, how to deal with the frustration of just being a person with limited influence over the world vs the image of your “marketingself” where you are actively being defined as the one that can move the tides and change the rotation the planet ?

So was it, just the usual standard way of expressing the fear of losing control : violence.

For me, I tried to be positive : I turned the volume down, forgot about the elections, and decided to have faith in the players and that whatever would happen during the game. I knew they would shake hands at the end and just go on with the uncertainties of going to the second round or the conference finals, and most importantly that they would make sure hockey game will shine in the future.

So have I to a lot of people, I can barely skate and don’t always know if I prefer to handle the hockey stick with my right or left hand.

I like food. I should better say I love food. And I love cooking. If not becoming a filmmaker (so far..) I ‘d have become a chef. Actually I even spent many summers in an hostel kitchen helping a chef and cooking for 100 people everyday. I just loved it.

Two days ago I was preparing the evening diner, when I realized that since I am independent, I have been cooking almost every single day. Am I tired of it ? NO. Am I slowly reaching the limits of my imagination ? NOT YET ! But my note isn’t about how creative or tired I could be in cooking ; no in fact I realized that what matters the most to me, is to be opened and ready for any food every day.

So was I cooking and listening to the great set up for last’s evening french presidential debate. All what I could hear were comments on how, without moving from their strong built identities, both runners would have to embrace some changes to convince new electors to vote for them.

It is like they would have to add some spices to their favorite dish just to make it tasty for others. But is the food still nice if you are only adding anecdotal ingredients to a full base that you won’t touch at all ? Or if you are adding some extremely bitter ingredient that only a minority of people adores, is it worth ? I think the idea of mixing or to reinvent old traditional recipes is a good one , but isn’t it better to do it from scratch ? when you prepare your meal, think about what the result would be and then go backwards, and find what is needed. Or just get all the ingredients and be opened for a totally unexpected result that could go beyond your imagination and offer a new kind of taste.

Today I got up, and after reading the newspapers I realized that they overcooked, “over-spiced” and just changed the wording of their old same recipes.

As for me, what did I eat  that other evening ? well some fish finger sticks from Norway, a couscous salad with Greek accents with a glass of white Hungarian muscat. Dessert ? Italian ice cream , tropical fruits and Irish cookies…and it all felt right, tasty and promising.