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Bertrand Bonello, film director: “I wanted to unite fear and love”

from writing to production, The beastBertrand Bonello’s tenth feature film has been a long journey. Inventor of forms, director, screenwriter and composer, author Apollonides, Memories of a brothel (2011) and Nocturama (2016), among others, tells the story of his sci-fi film, set in 2044, about the past life of a young woman (Léa Seydoux).

“The Beast” is adapted from a story by Henry James. What attracted you to this book of romantic encounters?

It was the desire to approach melodrama that brought me back to this book, which I had already read two or three times. What is unusual about this story is that the meeting between the man and the woman has already taken place. I have not found a better argument than failure in love, fear of love. I wanted to combine these two words: fear and love, two very strong feelings that go together so well. When we love, there is a fear of loss.

The film takes place on three specific dates, 1910, 2014 and 2044. why

In 1910, we entered the 20the A century with much hope and light, but after four years there will be darkness [avec le déclenchement de la première guerre mondiale]. In 1910, Gabriel, played by Léa Seydoux, played pianist in the avant-garde of modern music: he studied Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951), who introduced atonalism. Then, 2014 is the pre-#meto era and the year when young American Elliot Rodger, a member of the misogynistic singles community [incarné par George MacKay], organized his murder while publishing the videos. The year 2044 takes us to a near future dominated by cars.

I created this concept for myself: Humans have failed to rule the planet, be it in terms of wars, ecology, inequality… Machines, reasoning like machines, have succeeded because there are no more affects. They have taken power and there are no more disasters, but the price to pay is obedience. It’s a “positive” dictatorship, in quotation marks, because the world I’m showing is terribly sad and lonely.

In Henry James’s story, as in your film, there is an idea of ​​impending disaster that creates the feeling that it is too late to act…

There is fear “Positive” that aligns us with the world and there is also negative fear that paralyzes. This is what they are trying to do today with these leaders who use disasters as saviors. It is a mixture of terror. Historian Patrick Boucheron explains it very well in his book Remaining time (Barrier, 2023).

Source: Le Monde

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