What interested you in the relationship to the body?
On the one hand, the relationship to the body is a concrete one, and in this case, quite intimate. It directly calls to our senses and informs us of our state of being. On the other hand, questions of being and of the invisible are hard to act out. Yet they are part of the essence of each individual, whether we like it or not. In this way, this same body can serve as a vector between the two dimensions of the human being. I used this physical “tool” to go beyond the skin. In that sense, I would say that the relationship to the body is a real one, but it hardly matters in questions regarding the ambiguity of the human being.
And the relationship with the materials, the tools, objects, mechanisms and gears…?
It’s mainly tactile. When I work with plastiline for example, I never erase the fingerprints that are made because they bear witness to the human effort behind making the film. Regarding the objects, the reasoning is pretty much the same. I am fascinated by the objects that show the marks of their age. Getting used up, that is the story of all things, moving through time, and this applies to humans as well. It allows us to understand the obstinate work of a laborer, for example. Up to a point, this moves me, and the relationship speaks to me because it transcends the object. In this way, animating with volume, as stop motion, is an interesting technique because it allows the director to magnify the state of the object as well as the material.
Do you think the subject is one who is active, or is it the one who is acted upon?
I would spontaneously say both, since in the film, it’s the same person. That’s why I find the title “The Subject” interesting. In pre-production, while speaking with my colleagues, I realized that my preoccupations around the film were so introspective that it made sense that my double be there, on the autopsy table: a subject that would be my playground and my battleground. Two people, but just one subject.
How did you work on the music?
I did a first pass myself. But the sound on the software I used was not very good, and my approach was too closely inspired by the codes of horror films. Too blatant and sensational, neglecting the human, emotive and introspective sides of the film. I started afresh with real instruments: guitars, bass, percussions, harmonium and voices. I composed simple themes capable of delivering emotion. My team advised me well, and among the infinite possibilities for music, I feel this approach works perfectly for the film.
Have you ever been stuck or blocked creatively? How do you work on your creativity?
For sure, I’m stuck quite a lot, with no good ideas at all. As I often say, a good idea is when a fire alights in the solar plexus. That’s an image to signify the effect of being excited. It rarely happens, but it allows me to sort out the good and bad ideas. I must admit that I am more prolific when I work under pressure.
Does the short form offer you something in particular?
One of the peculiarities of this production is that there was no written screenplay beforehand, only a set of intentions for the beginning and the ending. This allowed me to work with the inspiration of the moment to invent the path on which to tread. Of course, the animation techniques required a certain amount of preparation. So I was always one or two moves ahead, having the next scene to conceive or shoot. It’s a film that was written in parallel with the shoot and which adheres to that given time. I think this type of freedom in the long form would be difficult – the idea would be nearly impossible to sell, and the concept could potentially get worn out after some time.
Le sujet [The Subject] was shown in the Lab Competition.