Although one of his last films, I Dreamed of
Africa, took him to Africa to shoot a movie "made in Hollywood", Vincent
Perez returns to Europe with Le Libertin.
"I do not believe that I am going to be the French Antonio
His last name is Spanish, his mother is German, his accent is not
completely French and doesn't seem very convincing of being Swiss (he was born in
Switzerland). This mixture makes him very international and highly exportable. In addition
to I Dreamed of Africa, Perez is starring in Le Libertin, which
follows Patrice Chereau's Ceux Qui M'aiment Prendront le Train and Raoul Ruiz's
film on Proust, Le Temps Retrouve.
Lately you've been working between Europe and the United
States. What differences do you find between these two cinema forms?
In the United States it is very difficult to complete what you set out to
do. The script goes through many hands and during filming there are many people telling
you what you must do and not do. In Europe it is different: there is less pressure, more
Have you considered Hollywood?
Hollywood is not my goal. My life and my wife are in France. In addition, I haven't been
forced to participate in the American game. Its neither attractive to me nor does it
want me, but this does not mean that if offers were made to me, I wouldn't accept them. I
believe that in order for me to mature as an actor, it's necessary to push the walls of my
surroundings and to look for new spaces. I do not believe that I am going to be the French
Since you've mentioned his name, you and Antonio appear to
have a restlessness to direct. Banderas film was already released last year. When
will your film be released?
Probably next year. In a matter of weeks I will have a script for a project that my wife
wrote. If everything goes well, we will film next spring. After directing three short
films, I feel prepared.
Will you star in the film?
At the moment I want to direct. To tell a story as a visual form is something I've wanted
to do for a long time. When I was small, I created unreal and very personal universes with
my drawings. Later, at 15 years old, I showed a preference for photography, and now after
directing these short films, I realize the necessity to express myself visually. My
priority for this film is directing, not acting. I would like the film to aesthetically
have the ambiance of Lars von Trier's last film, Dancer in the Dark (awarded at
the 2000 Cannes Film Festival). It will not have
much dialogue, since silent cinema is enchanting as a visual force for me, although words
can also be enchanting. After all, I am an actor.
Would you like to work in our country?
The truth is yes, especially with Pedro Almodovar, an idea I would try to court just a
little bit. And also to work again with Penelope Cruz.
What do you think of present Spanish cinema?
There are many young directors who need to express themselves and that is very good,
filling the industry with energy. It seems that in Spain it is more difficult to make a
film than in France, since we have a financing system that works very well and consists of
applying a tax to American films. But there is also a negative side: the French directors
do not have to fight as much, and the producers become a species of civil employees, who
think more about the check at the end of the month than about the art of filmmaking.
Did it go well with Kim Basinger in I Dreamed about Africa?
Wonderfully. We knew each other in New York before we began filming and I detected that
she had enough desire to work with me. She had seen almost all my films. This made it more
real to me. Kim wanted to demonstrate once again, that she is a good actress, and she
succeeded in doing this.
[Written by Toni Ulled Nadal]
[Loosely translated with some omissions]