Q&A with Aurélie Reinhorn, dir. Raout Pacha - Double winner - Prix du rire « Fernand Raynaud » & Canal+ Award for the National Competition - Clermont 2020 Grand Prize
Monday 10 February 2020, by
Two lost souls are required to undertake community service in a small town in Normandy. As it happens, the clean and tidy beach resort doens’t actually need any of the work they’ve been assigned and they start making up a series of absurd tasks to carry out.
A proper laugh-out-loud short, Raout Pacha is also a damning indictment of the world of work. Reinhorn specifically questions the validity of this sort of compulsory unpaid work that ultimately benefits nobody. Her portrayal of the characters is genuinely funny without falling into ridicule. I’m genuinely excited to see what else there is to come from Aurélie Reinhorn.
More on the film...
Could you explain your choice of title?
I wanted something sonorous. I like it when a title doesn’t highlight a story, but brings a uniqueness that complements the work. I chose to associate two words that evoke the opposite of the film: A “raout” means a worldly party, while the characters of Varec and Clint are completely alone on their Normandy beach doing community work that brings them nothing. “Pacha” continues this evocation of nobility that contradicts the reality of these two precarious anti-heroes. Perhaps their total lack of ambition with regard to the concept of work gives them the status of ultimate pasha.
Why did you set the story in Veules-les-Roses?
The work process was completed from back to front. I wrote and shot this film as part of the SITU Festival, which hosts theater and film projects made under a time constraint, that is, four weeks to create a work that will be presented to the public at the festival held in early September in Veules-les-Roses. The second constraint is that of creating the film in situ, that is to say from the places and scenery that make up the village and its surroundings. Apart from these two rules, Lara Marcou and Marc Vittecoq, the founders of the festival, give creative teams absolute freedom. It is in this context that I came to do my first location scouting in January 2018, with an extremely active questioning in mind: “What could happen here?”.
Are Clint and Varec based on people you’ve met?
No, but I’m guessing they’re subconsciously the result of a kaleidoscope of people I’ve seen or crossed somewhere. What I’m particularly interested in is writing for actors, building the film starting with them, and imagining relationships between their characters, the situations they’re going through, and how the situations they experience accentuate their relationship, change their behavior. I’m not interested in their psychologies. Clint and Varec are mainly built from the actors who interpret them, Matthias Hejnar and Adrien Guiraud, based on my distorted projections of them and their propositions as actors during the making of the film.
How did the shooting on the beach go?
It went very well, besides the fact that my first assistant and I once made a mistake by following the next day’s shoot schedule, and reversing the tide calendar. So we all ended up there at 7 o’clock in the morning with waves breaking down on the cliffs when the sea had to be very low in order to shoot. Apart from that, we filmed early so that there would be as few people as possible on the beach, and so that this grey and angular landscape would really give the impression of swallowing up the presences of Varec and Clint by exacerbating their marginality.
What are your future film projects?
I am completing the writing of a short film that takes place in an amusement park and that tells the story of the first day of hiring an employee dressed as a mascot. This film starts from the desire to delve into the subject of precarious employment through the prism of a fairytale universe, and to continue my collaboration with the actors that surround me, especially Margot Alexandre who plays Jo in Raout Pacha.
Would you say that the short film format has given you any particular freedom?
The short film format imposed time constraints on me. The very first version of the film that we showed at the SITU festival lasted one hour. Then we reworked the editing to arrive at this final version. My previous and first short film was self-produced, my collaboration with my producer Hannah Taïeb started after the shooting of Raout Pacha. The freedom I had from a performance and budgetary perspective in my first two cinematographic experiments now leads me instead to discover a way of working within a framework.
Get in touch with us if you’re looking for updates or more information on the film.