In the beginning, he is someone hiding behind a sort of armor, something he builds as a self-defense; then, step by step, his experiences are so strong that all his barriers fall down. At the end, he forgets where he comes from, who he is, and he opens up completely to this fantastic land, Vietnam. His voice is sweet but intense, which makes him even more persuasive.
Vincent Perez claims this "initiation trip" of his character with a mixture of humility and shamelessness remembering the first words he exchanges in the film with Catherine Deneuve. These three extremely sweet, frank sentences, almost insolent and self-assured, in which he completely opens up and reveals himself to this unknown woman.
"On the set I first had the impression that there was a wall between this country and me. But all of a sudden this wall disappeared. Something totally new was happening. After a few weeks, I really felt different. This was not only linked to my character, Jean-Baptiste, but to the whole adventure and to all the people living it with me."
It is clear that Vincent Perez changed during the filming of Indochine. Hes more mature, more intense, more authentic. It is almost as if the Cyrano of Jean Paul Rappeaneau's went on and he really turned into Christian de Neuvillette, whom one sees for a while at Arras. He's not the impulsive young man going on in life thanks to his beauty anymore, but the young man who suddenly understands that Roxanne, deep inside, loves Cyrano. The best proof of this change is the short movie he wrote and directed when coming back from Asia called L'echange. It's a strong, serious, special story, starring two of his colleagues in Indochine - Dominique Blanc and Andrzej Seweryn. A mixture of daringness, simplicity and experience.
Now, having just received the Jean Gabin prize for La Neige et le Feu, he is dreaming of new projects. He willl star as La Mole with Isabelle Adjani in Queen Margot, directed by Patrice Chereau, the person who discovered him. He still carries the exciting and persistant adventure of Indochine.
His complicity with Catherine Deneuve: We got closer slowly in a very beautiful way. We let the time do the work. What is wonderful about Catherine is that when working with her, I had the impression of being at an upper level." His relationship with Wargnier - We immediately found a common language, and our professional relationship became a friendship quite quickly. Its one of those encounters of which I immediately knew Id grow wiser and more adult."
His tenderness for his young partner: For the first time on the screen, Linh Dan Pham - I think Ill always remember the first day of filming. We had our costumes on for the first time. To get onto the set, we had to walk among the rice fields for one kilometre. All this way we walked together, hand in hand, the two of us, in complete silence. It was the birth of the characters, Camille and Jean Baptiste. "There is another strong memory - the floating in the Halong Bay. All of a sudden, the two of us alone on that boat (sampan), in the middle of this terrific landscape. I could see the other boat with the camera, small in the distance. Linh Dan was laying down and I was driving this boat alone. I was so happy that I wanted to shout. It was wonderful. I had the feeling of living a legend."
(From the film review by JPL - "Wild, seducing and impatient as a noble race horse, Vincent Perez has been able to transmit his internal struggle, his profound contradictions, his intimate changes. He gives a good intensity to all these aspects of his personality, an enormous authenticity and frankness, as in the wonderful shot of his meeting with Deneuve at the auction house.")
[With sincere thanks to Cinzia Masina for her French translation]