César Vayssié
Ricorda ti che è un film comico is a show and a film at the same time. What was your project?
I look for particular approaches that transform our relationships with cultural customs, even if this means throwing a spanner in my own works. My relationship with performance art influences my filmmaking. I pursue the idea of reducing the time between the idea and achieving it, of bringing the spontaneity of an artistic gesture back into image-making, which is traditionally very premeditated. The project was to work with the vagaries of live performance, of its time, its poetic force, with a film that bears all the marks of fiction, where, in a certain way, everything is real.
Why did you choose the Belvedere Hotel for the shoot and how did you make use of it?
For its symbolism in the form of an ocean liner that’s run aground or never set sail. It’s a question of point of view. A drunken, immobile boat that houses a sample of humanity adrift. The Belvedere is beautiful and impressive but it can cause a kind of anxiety about the past and fear of the future. A place of transit, a building on the border that tells of the multitude of dramatic dimensions that we addressed, the duality of the approach and the extraordinary place we seek to reach.
Ricorda ti che è un film comico combines performance, theatre, film and dance in a constant process of creation. How did you devise this?
My connections with performance art lie in the process of creation, research and rehearsal, which is more in tune with my way of working. In film, there isn’t any research in the practical sense (of practising). I work as though it’s a dance company in a studio creating a show. We look for the movements for a future image, we experiment with situations. I make ‘worksite’ films that bear the traces of their making and whose form is in constant flux. If I were to take this logic to its conclusion, I would change the editing with each screening. I don’t believe in the definitive act that would seal the perfection of a work. I’m precise but inaccurate.
The text is luxuriant. How did you develop the script for this fable?
I decided to take responsibility for the writing and threw myself unashamedly into a stream- of-consciousness text, at times emphatic, that includes my questions and convictions but also speculates about the potential desires and anxieties of the characters in situations. The writing is instinctive and head-on, borrowing and even plundering from other works, a kind of remix of existential literature (from Joachim Du Bellay to Constance Debré). It embraces the actors’ words, their way of speaking, and sometimes their inner selves.
The film is described by several voiceovers while the voices of the characters themselves are post-synchronised, out-of-sync with the actors. Why did you make these choices where the show itself becomes a mise en abyme?
It’s not post-synchronisation but, in fact, exactly the opposite, it’s “pre-synchronisation” because the soundtrack is recorded before the shoot and the show. The actors evolve in a logic of playback; they hear the soundtrack and then act, a kind of minimalist choreography to their own voices, either matching or out-of-sync with the text’s meaning, to produce different aesthetic or dramatic sensations. It’s the result of a process that accumulates narrative phenomena, where the film’s status is constantly called into question and is made to lose and then find itself again.
Different timeframes cross paths, with long sequences and shots that are almost subliminal. How did you devise the editing?
I still have this fantasy of raw, indescribable, offhand filmmaking based on time-based and aesthetic sensations rather than on a narrative logic. The film is based on a highly elaborate dramatic study beforehand, but whose obviousness is upended during the shoot and by the editing when I rewrite the film with abandon, twisting things, taking responsibility for the contradictions and what emerges alongside the initial project. So, in a way, nothing is unexpected.

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