Jessica Forever is their first feature film, but the young French filmmakers Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel – 29 and 31 years – are not completely unknown, for having realized the short As long as we have shotguns, golden bear in Berlin in 2014 (read Release of 18 June 2014), Our Heritage (2015) or even After School Knife Fight (passed by Cannes in 2017), small bombs that have warmed many hearts, bodies and screens to the power of their emo romanticism.
Read alsoCriticism of the movie "Jessica Forever"
Authors already of some solo shorts, they met around a mutual fascination for adolescence and its caries, the filmmaker Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko, Southland Tales), video games and torrents of images, without end or hierarchy, pouring onto the Tumblr platform, a great confusion of passions and image regimes. And so many reasons (among others) to love and draw a new path, their age, in the landscape of French cinema. From ghostly suburban areas to fallow fields under a pale summer sun, the films of Poggi and Vinel create strange laboratories, almost out of the world, territories crisscrossed by idle or armed teenagers who seek a meaning to their destiny between the sending SMS messages and assaults, on others or against themselves.
In a relationship with…
Caroline Poggi: We met with Jonathan through work, giving feedback on our respective films and our ways of developing scenarios, to understand editing. Then we started as a couple. Six months later, we started a first short together: As long as we have shotguns. Today, there is not one of us who is more in charge of the image or writing than the other. We do everything together.
Jonathan Vinel: But we rarely write at the same time. It scares me to talk at the very beginning. I need to be in my bubble, an isolation that allows me to let go of ideas without embarrassment. Then we mix our writings, we go back and forth.
C.P .: We have each color codes to designate ourselves and see more clearly in the scenario. Above all, we never erase anything. We leave. It allows us to push ideas quite far from elsewhere. Jonathan is no longer in … He does not like me to say "destruction". Let's say something of the direct instinct. By his training of editor [à la Fémis, ndlr], he loves to play with pictures, whereas I want to give more chance to things, time to time, that it is impregnated. In the summer of 2016, we could not manage so much with the writing of Jessica Forever. Jonathan wanted to do a billion things: Jessica change sex in the middle of the film, add spatio-temporal stuff. Mariette Désert, our scenario consultant [alsoacoscenarist[égalementcoscénaristedemercurial, of Virgil Vernier] told us : "Send me all your documents, even your notes." She rearranged elements. Everything has become clear and bright.
… and sometimes alone
J.V. A first long, it's very scary. We knew we wanted to make a film about a group of boys, a group of violent orphans who grew up outside society, and collected by the mysterious Jessica. We did not want the traditional kit of the action movie, its traitors, its big fights and its turnarounds … One wanted more to tell by the sensation. A constellation of sensations, even. Like when I play GTA [thevideogameseries[lasériedejeuxvidéo Grand Theft Auto]. What speaks to me the most is not so much the story as the relationship one can have to loss or solitude by playing it for a long time.
C.P .: Once you told me: "I who never travels, I started to travel in video games. I have never looked at a tree as long as in GTA. "
J.V. Video games are mediums with which we grew up, but that does not increase the intergenerational gap. We end up asking the same questions in the end, like: what is it to live in a world where we do not welcome you?
Without compass …
J.V. Now, I can say it: even when we were ready to do JessicaI was not sure what that was talking about. We want to stay in something very sensory above all else. Work on simple and strong emotions.
C.P .: All this while having fun dislodging some imageries of their original use. From pornography to advertising and video games.
J.V. This is partly because of the de-hierarchisation of images that we have absorbed children until now, with Tumblr among others. Many people came to tell us: "You have a relationship to the image that is very pictorial." But many of the Renaissance paintings that we are referred to in reference, I saw only on the Internet. Not in real life All this in a stream of images presented on the same level. Our culture comes from there, from this digestion of images of all kinds, something fascinating and scary at the same time. We see characters and we forget the authors. Now, I'm paying more and more attention to sources. When we are told that we are playing with the aesthetics of advertising, this same imagery has drawn inspiration from Renaissance painting.
… but with shower gel
C.P .: We have been bathed, kids and even now, in a television culture that is universal. When Jessica plunges her hair into the pool, then looks back, it's like a kind of ad for the shower gel Fa (Laughs). Everyone told us: "But it's forbidden, a plan like the cinema." No, somewhere in me, this plan, under his artificial varnish, he moves me and tells me something.
J.V. We are not fooled by advertising images. They are here to sell us a way of life. We do not sell anything. We take them and take them elsewhere, to make something else that transmits emotions.
C.P .: I am a child of capitalism. It is not now that I am going to say the opposite. What I have is you who gave it to me. The stuccoed house, I grew up in it. These houses, they contain our stories. We want to talk about sounds, smells, objects and snacks.
J.V. It's really hard to learn that everything you loved as a child and that we gave you to please you – Honey Pops Nutella – it's finally horrible. It tastes beautiful and it nique a forest. We were given this shit and now it would be up to us to say "it's shit"? That's all the schizophrenia of the thing.
These objects are usually sacred in our films as relics because we want to show all the nostalgia of our characters, the need for these boys to have some to reassure themselves.
And now ?
J.V. With the type of films that we develop, we will always be condemned to a fairly long waiting time. It seemed so long to wait for the funding for this feature film … While many told us it was quite short. We keep a strong taste for simpler projects and quick to do. As Martin is crying, that I realized while we were in casting for Jessica. It was super nice to just shoot the shots from images of my PlayStation. This alternation of production regimes, it allows to remain happy in what one does.
C.P .: We were lucky to have Emmanuel Chaumet at production on our last short After School Knife Fight, that we did at the same time. The film was presented to aid commissions. We have not received any. And we were afraid of losing desire. Our tastes change and we quickly wonder: will I keep this flame that animates me?