Interview: Our Day Will Come director Romain Gavras
- September 16, 2010 2:33 PM |
- By TIFF 2010 Team
French director Romain Gavras attends the Canal+ TV show Le Grand Journal at the 63rd Cannes Film Festival on May 19, 2010 in Cannes. (Loic Venance/Associated Press/Getty Images)
By Chris Berube, citizen contributor
French director Romain Gavras either has a very poor understanding of his own film, or everybody else in the world does.
"Well, in my head, it's a romantic comedy," says Gavras, who made a name for himself as a controversial music video director before completing his first feature length movie, Our Day Will Come, which is screening this weekend at TIFF. "It starts like a dark comedy, and then it becomes kind of romantic, because it's about a quest that becomes impossible, and it's full of despair, and sadness. Those are romantic notions to me."
Based on Gavras's track record, and early reviews about the harrowing nature of the film, the director's own perception of the movie's tone seems unlikely to be in line with that of its' audience. Gavras is probably best know for directing the MIA music video Born Free, which grabbed international headlines this summer for its controversial images.
The video depicts soldiers rounding up and interring white red-heads, with clear echoes of the Holocaust or modern areas of extreme conflict, like Rwanda and Sudan. The video concludes with children being lined up and shot -- which got it removed from YouTube, where it has only recently been re-posted with a strong parental advisory. Our Day Will Come expands on the idea, looking at a society where people with red hair are treated as social outcasts, and a young boy and his teacher (Vincent Cassel) embark on a journey from France to Ireland to try to found their own nation.
"The film itself is actually not that violent," says Gavras, who seems genuinely surprised at the reaction his movie and video have been getting. "Lots of American films are really violent, much more so than the video. I think it's more that it's confusing to people because my story doesn't try to take audiences by the hand and say 'you're watching this, so you need to think that.'"
Indeed, in both the film and video, audiences are thrown into the director's world, with soldiers ramming down the doors of a family in hiding, without much contextual explanation. For the director, however, the violence is part of sending a broader message.
"I use gingers as the oppressed people because they're a visible minority, but they have no community, which is interesting to me," says Gavras. "They're kind of a good symbol for what it is to be different. It's more about people being different from the rest of the world, and being frustrated. Extreme violence can be a product of that.
"We're living in very confusing times, and as such I think it's important to have confusing art. It's much more interesting when you lose a bit of the audience."
This boldness seems to abandon the director, however, when the conversation turns to the film's world premier later that night.
"The screening is tonight: I'm really wondering how the audience will react to it," says Gavras, nervously giggling at the prospect of taking his new movie to the public. "I wonder if they'll get the humour in it at the beginning, and if they'll feel awkward towards the end, and confused when it's over. I'm not too worried, though."
You can follow Chris throughout #TIFF10 on Twitter at @chrisberube
About the Blog
CBC News Your Voice has assembled a team of citizen bloggers and CBC staff to bring you a 360-degree view of Toronto during this year's festival, which runs Sept. 9 to 19. The TIFF 2010 Street Level blog will connect you to the event, from the red carpet parties to the concerts to the film premieres.
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