The Vincent

WORLD ONLINE - Festival du Film de Paris
March 31, 2000                                                                    

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Vincent signing autographs for his
admirers at the Festival du Film de Paris

Vincent Perez first appeared in the role of Christian in Cyrano de Bergerac, produced by J. P. Rappeneau. A friend of Patrice Chereau [Queen Margot & Those Who Love Me Can Take the Train], he involves himself  in American productions as well as premier films.

Can you tell me about yourself as a director of short films?

It has always been a part of me, as I have always been attracted to producing and directing. I began as a photographer and that remains with me whenever I am directing. Seven years ago, I made my first short film, which made me want to continue. Then I made a second one, which made me want to continue even more, and a third, which said to me: "Stop with these short films and make a long one." I am pretty hesitant, but that feeling will be there no matter how many films I make. We are currently working on the script.

What film helped you to discover the world of cinema when you were young?

The films of John Huston and Elia Kazan, which played at midnight showings, opened the door to cinema for me, and even before that, the films of Charlie Chaplin. I was really affected because I could see and feel the films and the people in them within myself, and I was living with them, and it was they who were bringing me their dreams, their desires in life. It created a passion in me, and I think that it is a craft that one can do only if one has an organic passion for it.

What films particularly affected you?

I really liked On the Waterfront by Elia Kazan starring Marlon Brando, which I found to be an incredible film. I know it was one of the first films where they left the studio to go out and shoot in the streets, and that is a reality which really touched me. It is also true that Modern Times and City Lights by Charlie Chaplin had a significant influence on my desire to get into the field of acting.

You filmed "Le Temps Retrouve" with Raoul Ruiz. What memories did you take with you from that experience?

I discovered that Ruiz has genius. To give such life to a movie, the way he does, that is the mark of great creators, and I think that he is one.

Are you interested in new technologies and new filmmaking techniques?

Of course, I am very interested in the digital image, which allows directors to have much more freedom. It permits them to invent images, concepts – to have real freedom in making the films.

What is the most recent movie to really touch your heart?

Magnolia. I find it to be a very modern film. It has a setting which involves the destinies of many different people, and I was really touched by the all the work that went into directing it. Another type of film that I really liked was American Beauty because the direction was so poetic. Those are two films that left a lasting impression on me.

Do you have any current projects in the United States?

No. The Hugh Hudson film with Kim Basinger - I Dreamed of Africa - premieres in the US in May. Of course, I have projects, but at this instant, nothing definitive, except that I am working on the script for a full-feature film with my wife Karine Silla and Jerome Tonnerre.

[With many thanks to Janette Sylvian for her French translation]

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