The Vincent

Montreal World Film Festival
August 25, 2002                                                 

The first question is related to the title - why the title Peau d'ange? Karine says she decided on that title because for her it was a bit like a fable and reminded her of peau d'ange. The word peau meaning skin is related to the human aspect of the character and the word ange meaning angel is related to the mystical or more ethereal aspect of the same character. It was a good title to use in order to bring in those two different dimensions.

Question about Guillaume Depardieu - Vincent feels Guillaume went right to the last edge of the character. It's not an easy part. The character was in a certain form of transition. He has just lost his mother. It's an emotional period for him and he rendered that emotion. Because Vincent is an actor himself, he was quite amazed by the performance of Guillaume in the film.

Question about being an actor and director. He will continue to be an actor and hopefully get better and better in his work as an actor, but he has always had much interest in images and photography. In fact, photography was his first work. He believes that the director can see things and show things with a personal regard. That's something you can't do when you're an actor.

A journalist comments that there are good things to say about this film and  compares Guillaume's acting in the film to Marlon Brando in Last Tango in Paris.

Vincent says he's working on another film - Fanfan la Tulipe. As an actor, it's very different from Peau d'ange. There's a lot of action. A lot of sword fighting. The filmmakers are trying to be as close to the spirit that was in the 1952 Christian-Jaque film with Gerard Philipe. For Vincent it's a real pleasure to act in the film and hopefully the pleasure will eventually be ours.

Question about comparison between Guillaume and his father, Gerard Depardieu - Karine believes they are both great actors, but they are different kinds of actors. Two different kinds of sensibilities. Gerard is closer to the land and his acting is very physical while Guillaume perhaps has a sensibility that is more interior-like.

Question about the main character, Angele - Karine says for her at the very outset, Angele is somebody who comes at a very precise moment into the life of the character played by Guillaume. His mother has just died and Angele brings love to him at this particular moment. Angele is somebody who has a lot of choices in life as she is a master of her own destiny. She's a character of light while the character played by Guillaume is very different. He's somebody who's trying to figure out who he is, what he wants and he's not in the light, so they're opposite in some ways.

Question about Dominique Blanc. Vincent explains that initially she was not going to be in the film, but he has a lot of admiration for her, so he proposed that part to her. He is in awe of her voice and the way she looks, her tenderness and profoundness, so that's why he chose her for the role of the nun. He was going to have an older actress, but he's quite amazed by the performance of Dominique Blanc in that particular role. She accepted the part without even reading the script. She had been in the first short film he directed, and that went very well, so that was another reason to ask her. He wishes he could have given Olivier Gourmet a larger role, but he got a lot of glory in Le Fils with the Dardenne brothers from Belgium.

Question about being influenced by other directors - Vincent doesn't think that his work has been directly influenced by others, though he has a lot of admiration for many directors. There was a reference to Alain Cavalier. Maybe there are similarities between Peau d'ange and Perez. He has a lot of respect for Japanese filmmakers, Mizoguchi being one of them. And also Kurosawa. He may like a director for a particular film, but perhaps not all of his films. When he thinks of a director like Maurice Pialat, he greatly admires the French director and all his films.

Question about cinema forms - He likes many forms of cinema. He enjoyed working with MichelangeloAntonioni and respects his work. He mentions Spielberg and Besson. What he admires most is when a filmmaker has his own style and language. He hates directors who imitate other directors or other styles and don't create their own. In this film, he tried to express his own voice as a human being and as a director.

Vincent explains that when you're a director, you try to adapt yourself to each actor you work with. He doesn't like to oppress the actor with a lot of information. What is very important is to choose the right person for the right part. He experiments first with the actor or actress. The main actress in this film at one point in time wanted a lot of takes, but he didn't have the patience, nor the money to do that, so he said that they'll do it in two or three takes. That's what they did and it went well. With his being an actor, he is able as an actor to say to another actor, "look, you've got to do it in two or three takes." And the actor will respond to that.

[Translated by moderator at the conference]

squig2a.gif (488 bytes)