The Vincent

Interview with Francois Cohendy
(Le Progres) October 16, 2002                         

Vincent Perez behind the Camera - Before taking on the 1952 Gerard Philipe role in Fanfan la tulipe, Vincent directed his first full-length film, Peau d'ange, co-written by his wife and produced by Luc Besson.

You're filming the new Fanfan la Tulipe...

Yes, the film directed by Krawczyk will debut on April 9th. It is a role in which I am at ease with myself, as it is a character from my childhood. And I like to show my sunnier side. To a certain extent, I resemble the character and that will facilitate his identification by the audience. It should touch everyone from 7 to 77 years old.

You've made many costume films and adaptations of patrimonial literature since your beginning in Cyrano de Bergerac. There's Le Bossu, Le Capitaine Fracasse, La Reine Margot and Le Libertin.

Yes, but it is by chance. It is not a choice of career. Moreover, is what I do really a career? I don't know. In any case, it is not a great career. You try to make something from what is proposed to you... It is true that films based on literature are reassuring because of its history and the fact it has lived in the imagination of the public.

And Peau d'ange?

Certainly you can say it resembles me or rather Karine and me because it is a fusion of our sensitivities. It has a long history. You could say it began with our marriage! And then there was this meeting between Karine, the scenario writer, and me, the director. And the conviction of Luc Besson who produced the film.

How did you conceive this film?

I thought in chapters, each one having its own language and angle of filming. The plan is to tell a story with images... You can lock the audience into the same space of time as the characters. But I don't intellectualize all that. I especially try to take as a starting point, writers or directors I especially love such as Mizoguchi, Ozu, or those I've made films with like Chereau and Antonioni. I would like one to compare the filming of Peau d'ange with a silk wire which holds all the film, which should be neither too taut or too loose, and in any case, invisible.

Your American career started with The Crow, City of Angels.

It doesn't interest me much. My American agent submits projects to me which I don't like, roles without depth and films too formatted. And to succeed in Hollywood when one is a European, it is necessary to be a true Latino such as Antonio Banderas. I have a name which is only half! (Perez's father is Spanish but his mother is German).

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