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Q&A with Bastien Dubois, director of Souvenir Souvenir

Thursday 28 January 2021, by Clotilde Couturier

What was your thought process over the years about the desire or need to address this topic, which touches your inner circle as well as the narrative of National History?

Hello, so first of all thank you for this interview and thank you for allowing our films to be seen at this time! It’s a difficult question because that’s what the film is all about – why and how I wanted to make this film about my relationship with my grandfather, formerly a conscripted soldier in Algeria. First of all, I wanted to make a film – and even before that, a comic – about what he had experienced. I told myself that he must have had stories to tell. But nothing! As he didn’t want to tell me anything, I then started a film about the fact that he didn’t want to tell me anything, but I realized that in fact the problem came from me not being able to ask the right questions! So I made this film: the making-of of a film about a director in full denial who can’t manage to make a film about his old grandfather who served in Algeria and who won’t tell anything, and who ends up in family psychoanalysis.

How many different graphic styles did you use in Souvenir Souvenir and what was of particular interest to you in the play of transparencies and overlays?

There are two graphic styles. The first represents daily life – a diary – and the other represents the early stages of the film I am trying to make. And gradually the two mix and the film’s early stages become the illustration of the neuroses that invade my daily life. For the “daily life” part, at the beginning I was set on something much more sober: a clear line, black and white. The “cartoon” part was then much more differentiated and stood out more. At the time of the graphic development of Souvenir Souvenir I was working in parallel with Jorge Gonzales (https://www.instagram.com/jorge_ilustra) on tests for a feature film that I am writing with Julie Nobelen. The tests were really great, and Jorge’s style lent itself really well to Souvenir Souvenir, and as I was so eager to start producing images in this style, I suggested to Jorge to come and work on the short film. So we took a bit of a detour and the style of the feature film became that of the short film…

Do you plan to make other films that deal with the distortion of attitudes when one is immersed in an unknown environment, and in which that encounter turns into a confrontation?

So, can you name many films that don’t deal with the distortion of the protagonists’ attitudes when they are immersed in an unknown environment and the encounter turns into a confrontation? 😉

In the end, how do you write a film that doesn’t want to be written?

It didn’t want to let itself be written to a certain extent, but when I realized that I too was in denial, I had no choice but to do so. From that moment, the writing was almost instantaneous.

What do you think the future holds for short films?

I am more worried about the future of the planet than I am about the future of short films. If we have a deteriorating environment, rotten social conditions or a reactionary government, there is less, if any short film at all. And it’s the same for a lot of other things…

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

I think the best thing is to enjoy yourself alone… Draw, write your own scripts, you’ll see, it’s not that complicated!

Souvenir Souvenir is being shown in National Competition F3.

Any message or comments?


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