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Paul Vecchiali: "I like to pay homage to those who gave me pleasure as a spectator"


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Veteran French filmmaker Paul Vecchiali appeared this morning at a press conference to discuss his latest work, Les sept déserteurs ou La Guerre en vrac,a European premiere at 55FICX. He was accompanied by actors Bruno Davézé and Ugo Broussot.
Les sept déserteurs ou La Guerre en vrac stages seven characters fleeing the horror of a war without name. Vecchiali confessed to having based it on Story of G.I. Joe (William Wellman, 1945), although "when you inspire yourself in another, your film has nothing to do with his." In addition to Wellman, Fuller or Godard are referenced in the film, because he defines himself as "cinephile, I like to pay homage to those who gave me pleasure as a spectator". In his work, the war scene appears suggested outside of the field, as a latent threat. "The closest thing to it would be Les Carabiniers (Jean-Luc Godard, 1963), although it's also very different."

Although his work with the word and the interpretative register could suggest a theatrical nature, Vecchiali categorically rejects this label. "Whenever there is a microphone and a camera, it is cinema". He clarified that with his idea of a unique place he wanted to "highlight the importance of the text, unlike most of today's French cinema". He finds it "regrettable" that in his country a return to literary speech in films is not taking place, because "the language of the street can not have an appearance beyond what it states". For him, this work with the dialogues allowed him to "share secrets and lies with the audience," and believes that, without them, "movies have no interest."

Acting is one of the keys in Les sept déserteurs ou La Guerre en vrac. Along with actors already familiar in the personal universe of Vecchiali, such as Astrid Adverbe or Pascal Cervo, others like Ugo Broussot were placed for the first time under the director's orders. He defined his work with him as "a gift for the seven actors," because the family atmosphere he creates allows the entire cast to "go further and give ti their all". For Bruno Davézé, the filmmaker "transmits a vision of the characters that we all soaked up". For his part, the director himself believes that "80% of this work is in the choice of actors," and defined the process as "a matter of trust."

This special bond between actors and director will have its continuation in the imminent Train de vies, a similar project whose conception took place in parallel to his latest film, because "when you're going to shoot twice with the same cast and outdoors, it's crazy not to do it at the same time. "As the one responsible for the decision he pointed to "the producer and distributor Paul Vecchiali", in reference to his complete self-management and the freedom with which he creates the entire process for each job.

The film has a strong anti-war component, but its director said it was not based on any real war. "It is an anonymous conflict, whose costumes can evoke a mixture between 14 and 39", but which in turn contains "all possible wars, the real ones of Wellman and Fuller and also the false one of Godard". Vecchiali's posture regarding war after having participated in the Algerian one is "total rejection", but there is also a certain implicit irony in it, because "making films without laughing at yourself would be like thinking you're god, and I am not".

Sergio de Benito
Palabras clave Festival de Cine, 2017