What were your thoughts when you read the script?
One sees few catastrophe films on television. The idea of a re-enactment of an actual event interested me. This avalanche took place ten years ago (note: in Montroc in February 1999). A whole population was cut off from the world. People died. I liked the story of this man who tries to overcome nature but often, it is stronger than him. I was also allured by the story of the man who dies in a climbing accident and is found eight years later. It's an interesting starting point when the inhabitants of the village meet to bury him. Lastly, I appreciated the development of my character who immerses himself in his past and realizes that those scars are not completely closed.
What pushed Marc to change his life?
There are several reasons for his departure. To live in the mountains was not his only aspiration. Marc had other ambitions. When Anne's brother dies, he is very wounded. It is a violent situation and deeply shocking. The loss of a close relation is traumatic. In general, few people confront their problems and they end up trying to find an escape. At a given time, to unravel those intricacies becomes too complicated. Marc then decides to leave.
What compels him to return?
We try in vain to hide certain memories but they always end up re-appearing. The reappearance of this body allows him to stop living in this culpability. He wishes to put an end to this situation and to start living again without this burden.
You had the chance to work with these high mountain rescuers.
Yes and they are extraordinary people. The rescuers are true heroes on the mountain and in the sea. It is a trade which could have attracted me. The mountain is deeply anchored in me, perhaps because I spent my childhood in Switzerland. The place where we filmed at the Austrian and Italian border is splendid. I adore mountain excursions. They empty the head and give strength and energy.
What were the conditions while filming?
It was a rather difficult shoot. The weather was very cold. We received tons of snow with a deafening sound. In the scene where I am stranded in the car with Désirée Nosbusch, I felt claustrophobic. I was like a prisoner and couldn't move. While being wedged in this car and surrounded by two meters of snow, I had moments of smothering and of panic. This scene took days of filming. At any given moment, it could become extremely painful.
How was the collaboration with the cast and crew?
All went very well. I met Désirée Nosbusch on location and I was delighted to be with Aladdin Reibel. The team was very qualified. It gave me pleasure to film in the mythical studios of Bavaria. The German director, Jörg Lühdorff, was formidable. He often works on films by Roland Emmerich ("Independence Day"). Making a catastrophe film demands a certain kind of director and successful special effects. The team was perfect for this ambitious project.
What are your projects?
I did a feature-length film, "Tomorrow at Dawn" under the direction of Denis Dercourt, where I interpret a pianist at the sides of Jérémie Rénier. I also made an American film, "Inhale" with Diane Kruger and Rosanna Arquette about organ trafficking. I'm working on the adaptation of Hans Fallada's book, "Alone in Berlin." I just published the second volume of my comic book, "La Foret" in collaboration with illustrator Tiburce Oger. We have plans to do one a year. I have also taken some photographs. I did some portraits of actors for Premiere magazine. My old passion has re-appeared!
[Written by Karelle Bourgueil]