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Interview with Alice Fargier, director of Le temps d’une nuit [The Time of Night]

Monday 1 February 2021, by Abla Kandalaft

Where did the idea for Le temps d’une nuit come from?

A friend of mine disappeared without giving any signs of life for several months. When I found her at a party at someone’s house who I barely knew, she was euphoric and I hardly recognized her. The three of us spent the night together until the early morning. It was a timeless night.
After that, I started to drift away from the real events and I worked hard on the characters, on their backstory, on the exact nature of their relationship in order to make them as complex as I could. If you watch the film a second time, you can see glimpses of those sorts of details. That particular night is a watershed moment in the life of the three characters, a turning point. In order to film that slice of their life, I had to build the foundations of their past relationships (Nora and Camille’s childhood friendship; Samuel and Nora’s ambiguous relationship that’s been going on for ten years), and for me to be able to project into the eventual future of their relations (among the three of them), i.e. how the cards will be reshuffled after that night. I shared some of the biographical elements of the characters with Natalie Beder, that Salomé Richard didn’t know about, and vice versa. We rehearsed several times with all three together before shooting, and I saw Natalie several times on her own. One of my primary motivations was to film a party as a place where a person comes back to life after a period of isolation. The vitality evident in a character (Nora) that had been dormant for a while. I also wanted to show a personne (Camille) who watches another person (Nora) whose behavior makes her something of an enigma. The enigma of her deep desires her intentions.

Are you particularly interested in emotional relationships and do you see yourself making other films on the subject?

The literature I like most explores the jumble of feelings, contradictory desires, what vibrates deep within people. In films, to make those relationships on paper come to life, for them to have density and depth, everything depends on the directing: choosing your framing, the movement of the camera and obviously directing the actors, which I love. In my upcoming films, I plan to talk about friendships and love stories.

What interested you about our relationship to bodies and contact?

I like filming bodies that meet. The joy of dance and the sensuality that comes out of it represent life to me! I want to capture what’s alive. I like to film skin. I like to be near bodies, which my camera modestly caresses. My grandfather had tuberculosis and couldn’t embrace his own daughter. My mother inherited that prohibition. I think that’s partially why I like filming bodies close together so much. What’s at play beyond words, in a hug, in a dance, in a caress. Something of Nora is passed on to Camille through their contact the night they meet up again.

Will there be a sequel?


What do you think the future holds for short films?

I think short films have suffered less from the current crisis because of their independence. Nowadays filmmakers are making more and more shorts before moving on to feature films, and even later on, they come back to them. It’s a space for freedom. There could be a VOD platform dedicated to short films. But you need a theater to truly appreciate them…

If we were to go back into lockdown, what cultural or artistic delights would you recommend to alleviate our boredom?

Simone de Beauvoir’s previously unpublished book Les inséparables. The series The Queen’s Gambit, which is a marvelous portrait of a woman. Fabcaro’s comics are funny as hell. SÜEÜR’s first album (they wrote one of the song’s for the soundtrack). KILTRO’s first album (one of their songs is playing during the party). And very shortly, the first record by Arthur Brossard (under the pseudonym Visconti), who wrote the film’s closing song.

Le temps d’une nuit [The Time of Night] is being screened as part of National Competition F4.

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