Jacques Audiard, Palme d’Or with “Dheepan”, multi-Césarisé with “Un prophète”, returns with a new feature film with an unprecedented register. In “The Olympics”, the filmmaker films desire and youth, with a touch of comedy.
What is it about ?
Paris 13th district of the Olympiades. Emilie meets Camille who is attracted to Nora who herself crosses paths with Amber. Three girls and a boy. They are friends, sometimes lovers, often both.
AlloCiné: Les Olympiades is an unexpected film on your part, like a renewal. We sometimes hear directors thinking a project “against” the previous one, thinking it the opposite. Was this the case for this new film precisely?
Jacques Audiard, director and co-writer: Yes, of course. But let’s say it’s not against. I would say more of a deduction. The previous project, through the frustrations – for example, things that you haven’t dealt with – will tell you a number of things. And so, it will create desire. And then, it will give a project.
Was the primary desire to go more towards comedy, towards something lighter?
Yes, I wanted to do something light, to go to a marivaudage. But for simple reasons. When you do a dramatic movie, an action movie in the morning, it’s not the same when you get up. A comedy is much lighter. Your life is lighter the time you do it.
I am always enthusiastic, even when the projects are heavy. There it was fast, so it was very pleasant.
I wanted to do something light, to go to a marivaudage.
For this film, you worked for the first time with screenwriters Léa Mysius and Céline Sciamma. How did they get to the project?
My screenwriter Thomas Bidegain worked elsewhere. I contacted Céline Sciamma. I have a lot of admiration for his work. I know she’s a really good screenwriter, plus she’s a director.
She did two or three versions. Afterwards, I shot Les Frères Sisters on my own, and when I came back to the Olympics project, she was no longer free. She was making her film (Portrait of the young girl on fire). So I went to see Léa Mysius, whose movie I had loved Ava. The important thing is that these are two directors.
Still on the subject of the script, the film has a lot of dialogue …
I wanted it to be chatty. But it’s a memory of a reference that I quote a lot: it’s Ma Nuit chez Maud. These are the people who keep talking, so they forget to have sex. There, they make love right away … And then, are they going to continue talking?
It’s a film about love, or rather love. Some say it is polyamory. Is there a label to define love as it is told in your film?
Polyamory, does that exist? I’m not sure what the labels might be. These are characters at the beginning of the story who have a misconception about love. They are wrong. It is always enjoyable for the spectator to say to himself: But when is he going to take the lesson? When is he going to hit the door in the face? That, it’s a comedy thing. All the characters are mistaken at first, except the character of Amber Sweet.
Whether it is the character of Camille who says “me, I want to be free; I want to have all the women, all the desires, etc.” He will fall in love like any other. As for Emilie, she is a rebel, a little punk, all that. She wastes a lot of time annoying her parents. As for Nora, she doesn’t know where she is.
In addition to the subject of love that we mentioned previously, the film also talks about youth today through the world of work …
Yes, I wanted to take people of a certain age, they are not teenagers. They have already lived. They have studied. It’s as if they’ve already been on a somewhat disappointing lap. These people are either disappointed with working life or don’t want to go because they anticipate it.
The 13th arrondissement of Paris is beautiful.
Why did you choose to shoot in the Olympiades district (in the 13th arrondissement of Paris) ?
There are two reasons. I lived there a lot, so I know this neighborhood well. It is a neighborhood that I have seen transform. The Olympics were almost like the forecast of what it was going to become, it had a modernity that was accompanied afterwards on the outskirts of the 13th.
I find it to be the only truly modern district in Paris. there was Beaugrenelle before, but it’s not pretty. The 13th is beautiful. And then, it’s mixed, there are all the populations, it’s socially mixed. There is everything.
Are you working on a new project ?
I’m going to do a musical, probably next year, for the cinema and maybe after for the stage. I will see. It will be in Spanish. It will be shot in Mexico. The music and the lyrics are written, and so is the script.
Interview at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival
Cannes 2021: we talk about the Olympics in podcast (recorded for the Cannes Film Festival)
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The Olympics: after the western Les Frères Sisters, Jacques Audiard films desire