While the two residents of Lot-et-Garonne crisscrossed the Atlantic coast for several days, where the film was shot, for a series of previews, “Sud Ouest” was able to talk to young directors.
How does one catch shooting a film like “The Year of the Shark” after “Jaws”, which is unsurpassed in the field of shark film?
The idea is to return to our first love. We grew up watching genre films, of which “Jaws” was obviously one. We want to bring a monster of the American imagination to our Southwest to make it our own. The idea is not to make a pastiche, but to use the image of the shark, which we see in a whole underground culture with B movies. We seized this monster and we put it at the service of a film that talks about our time and our region. We created a shock between this number and the Southwest, with people who are not all professional actors, to serve a comedy genre. We created a gap between this most recognizable American monster and the people of the Southwest, that was the first desire.
And then there is also the idea that by making a shark movie now in 2022, that is, by the appearance of an invader in a community and who is the cause of everyone’s anger, it is also a circular way for us to talk about The Covid, with confinement, the forced closure of some establishments… The shark has imposed itself on us, because this animal has brought us back to the Covid virus, a threat that continues, blind and absent consciousness. Make a shark look today, it doesn’t have the same range as it did in 1975 [date de sortie des « Dents de la mer », NDLR] because it also talks about news that directly confronts people, such as the change of the Mediterranean ecosystem, with fish coming from the South Seas and the arrival of jellyfish by the thousands.
What genre films do you prefer?
When we were young, our mother read Stephen King stories to us. Very early on, we bathed in an imaginary world with animals, and we loved it because we grew up in Lot-et-Garonne, in a very rural area, where we were very bored. The monster possibility is something that is exciting for us. And very quickly, when we see horror films, we imagine these creatures living in the countryside around Port-Sainte-Marie.
After all, what we like about genre cinema is that it’s a circular way of talking about society. What we want is to not be frontal and use metaphors to talk about things that are very real. And then it allows you to create a very powerful fictional universe immediately. What we want when we make films is to talk about the Southwest, but about an offbeat Southwest that is not one filmed with natural material. On the contrary, we want it to be a real fictional universe that makes you travel. Genre is good at getting into a story. We grew up with Stephen King and his Maine [l’État des États-Unis où vit l’auteur et où se déroulent de nombreuses de ces histoires, NDLR] a little alternative to fictional cities, so we want a little taste of Stephen King to do our parallel Lot-et-Garonne.
Cinema allows us to satisfy this childhood dream of bringing monsters to the South West
And precisely, how did this South-West, this Lot-et-Garonne, shape you and make you filmmakers?
When we were young, we had a bad relationship with the Southwest. We were really tired, like many children in the country. And we had to leave the Southwest very quickly. The first thing we wanted to do after baccalaureate was run away and put our past in the countryside. But what happened was that when we arrived in Paris and we started writing the stories, we automatically wrote them in the Southwest. We realized that everything brought us back there, that Paris became our everyday life and that we couldn’t put fiction there because it brought us back to real life and our routine. Suddenly, our imagination was enhanced by our memories of this Southwest where we grew up. And naturally, our stories, we anchor in that region because that’s what we know and we have the impression of knowing how to talk about it more easily, because the people of the South-West , this is our family, they are the ones we see when we come back from vacation. We listened to that.
Is it a goal to one day shoot a film in Lot-et-Garonne?