Abdellatif Kechiche in Montpellier:

Abdellatif Kechiche in Montpellier: “It’s in this region that I feel good to shoot”

He shot his last films in Sète, and it was in Montpellier that he confided (after being heckled), publicly this Friday, October 28, for the first time in three years. As part of the Mediterranean Film Festival.

We will not insult the films in competition, or the other beautiful previews unveiled within the framework of this festival of Mediterranean cinema, by claiming to have found the event of this edition elsewhere.

We held it this Friday, with the arrival, for a masterclass, of Abdellatif Kechiche. A filmmaker palmed in Cannes (for The Life of Adele), multiple caesarean, and who, for three years, had not spoken in public.

Interruptions of sessions

Blame it on the controversies born after the screening of his latest film on the Croisette (Mektoub my love : intermezzo), relating both to his requirement as a director on set, to his view of women and their bodies, and for an old accusation of sexual assault that was dismissed.

This also explains why some representatives of the feminist movement HF protested against his arrival in front of the festival site, while a dozen others had taken over the room where the meeting was taking place, interrupting the exchanges twice.

Before leaving the scene to cries of “We get up, we break”. And in front of an angry public because they had come in large numbers (about 500 people, young people, gender parity respected), to listen to the director of The fault of Voltaire, interviewed by critic and film historian Pascal Mérigeau.

Voice calm, sometimes broken

Inevitably, Abdellatif Kechiche, throughout his speech, returned to these moments, evoked “the difficulty” of a job, “where we get angry”, as everywhere he seemed to say: “Me too, there are people with whom I no longer want to work. Yes, actors refuse to kiss, but they do, it’s their job, they have a contract. Yes, we sometimes ask for complicated things, I redo takes, not always as much let it be said. Well, on the grain and the mule, I fed fourteen plates of couscous to Hafsia Herzi. Alright, that’s torture!” he joked.

With a slow but precise elocution, taking long pauses, his voice calm, sometimes broken, he also spoke at length about the actresses: “There is something of the order of fascination when I film them, when I see the images. It creates a state of hypnosis in me. I try to understand this mystery of body movement. It’s the dance that I like to film the most.” And create beauty. Those who have seen his films know.

From Pialat to Jacqueline Audry

And for a long time he spoke, prolonged. By revealing itself, and never where it is expected. We ask him about Pialat? He responds by evoking the figure of Jacqueline Audry, “forgotten filmmaker, who has signed films that we could no longer make today!”

He mentions his complicated relationships with his producers (“A lot of lawsuits, all lost”), confides in André Téchiné (“I like people to say that I discover talents, he revealed Élodie Bouchez, and Juliette Binoche! “), thinks of Léa Seydoux (“I also tell something about social class in my films, I’m not the same as her, and these classes never meet”).

Filming in the region, again

He admits that the two sequels of Mektoub my lovealso almost entirely shot in Sète, will form “the most total confession of myself. I have spent the last few years editing these films. That’s all I do…”

But it is by evoking his relationship to the region that he perhaps touched the most. At the heart: “I agreed to speak again here out of gratitude to those, actors, town hall officials, nurses and all the others, who helped me, carried me when I filmed in this region, in Sète in particular Here, I found a kind of peace with caring people. Thanks to the spirit of Brassens which blows in Sète, to the energy which circulates between the people of this region. At the moment, I am writing screenplays . I don’t know which will be my next film. But I’ll do it here. Because this is where I feel good to shoot.”

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