Born in Belgium, Geordy Couturiau is an actor and director, known for La flûte enchantée (2022), Lucienne Eats A Car (2018) and Les Thibault (2003). His short film Lucienne dans un monde sans solitude (2021) is now streaming on Mubi. We sat down with Geordy after his film screened at the AFI Film Fest in Los Angeles in 2022.
What has your creative journey been like?
From the age of 8, I held a passion for filmmaking and dreamt of making movies. I had a friend in school who was acting in movies at that time, so with my mother’s support, I ventured into the world of acting as a child actor. Witnessing the behind-the-scenes process at such a young age intrigued me further, leading me to explore my creative talents by shooting music videos and eventually diving into a more formal approach through the production of my three short films.
What is the message you hope that people take away from Lucienne in a World Without Solitude?
The film encompasses multiple messages rather than a singular one, allowing viewers the freedom to interpret it in various ways. It touches upon several themes and communicates different ideas, making it open to individual perceptions. For me, the beauty lies in its ambiguity, and I hope people embrace this artistic freedom to find their unique meanings within the film.
How did you come up with the idea of setting your film in an absurd world, and what motivated this creative choice? What were the challenges you faced while filming?
The idea of an absurd world served as an ideal medium to explore the intricacies of relationships and the duality that exists within us. I envisioned the character as two different people existing in as well as existing as one person, which led me to craft the narrative in this unique manner.
The biggest challenge was assembling multiple sets of twins on set. Originally, the script was quite personal, and it featured two male characters, but everything changed when I met the talented actress who shared a strong artistic vision. Her presence inspired me to rewrite the story around her, and my long feature is also about her. The real challenge came when we had to duplicate her. While static shots were relatively straightforward, capturing moving scenes required technical expertise. We had our VFX supervisor overcome this and achieve the desired look.
Both Lucienne mange une auto and Lucienne dans un monde sans solitude are inter connected. Is this part of a trilogy?
I just finished writing for my first feature film which is called Lucienne. The first short was written after I met the actor and there was a lot of similarity in her with the character. It may not be a part of a trilogy, but I decided when I’m making my next film, it’ll be related to Lucienne.
Would you like to share any anecdotes from the filming?
Because I was so immersed in the process of making the film, I’ve forgotten many things from the film days. But yes, I remember this time during lunch one day, when there was an entire row of two sets of identical twins sitting across from each other, all dressed alike. It was quite an absurd and comical sight. We also had two real twin dogs that we saw randomly, and so we knew we had to stop and take permission from the owners to include them in the film.
In French, the word director is called “realisateur” which somehow seems to encapsulate the essence of the word better than its english counterpart. Do you think it is a limiting term? How would you define your identity as an artist?
That’s an interesting question. I don’t view myself as an artist, rather a craftsman. To me, the term “realisateur” holds a certain beauty in its vagueness. The term “director” feels more formal, focusing on the realization of the project rather than the artistic elements. Realisateur encompasses not only bringing the vision to life but also the art of “mise en scene,” making it more appealing and meaningful.
What’s the hardest part that comes after making a movie?
After I make the movie, it’s not difficult for me, because I am not looking for people to watch my movie. Instead, I take pleasure in knowing that it travels through film festivals and am happy for whoever sees it. But it’s always hard to make the movie, because in France, the filmmaking landscape is different.
It took four years to finance the project, since the film is devoid of any genres. It is not explicitly political but conveys its message through a parallel or dark world, offering a critique on intolerance. It unfolds in a different world, separate from our own reality. The struggle with financing is an ongoing issue. Creating a movie that stands apart from the mainstream makes it more difficult to secure funding, unlike movies with clear genre labels. It’s easier to bring a project to life when you can assign a label on a movie. You talk about black sheep, so I would say that is why my film is sort of a black sheep too, in that essence.
Can you talk about any specific projects or pieces that you are particularly proud of or that have been meaningful to you? Is there a particular short film that has made a strong impression on you?
My creative influences were drawn from various sources, including feature films and especially music videos. I was particularly captivated by the aesthetic appeal and artistic freedom that music videos offer. As a director, I found inspiration in the works of acclaimed filmmakers like Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry among others. Their unique styles and techniques played a significant role in shaping my artistic vision and approach to filmmaking.
Can you discuss any upcoming projects or events that your fans should keep an eye out for?
Lucienne, the feature film is something that I am developing right now. It has an absurd plot that I am excited to reveal to the world. There are other projects in the pipeline as well. I signed with two producers for other projects, one of whom is a longtime friend and has worked on my previous short as producer. I am excited to work on more radical short film ideas.
Any advice to young filmmakers?
At this point, I don’t have much advice to offer because I believe there’s still a lot of work ahead for me. I see myself at the beginning of my filmmaking journey, and I have so much more to learn. My advice would be something generic for now, such as “do what you want to do,” but I don’t want to offer that suggestion. Instead, I am eager to receive advice from others, and I am open to hearing from them.
Lastly, would you consider yourself a blahcksheep?
Yes, I have this feeling that I do. Like I said, I didn’t have a lot of help from the financial institutions, because my movie is not conventional and that’s why it took me 4 years to get financed. The theme of my film also deviates from the mainstream, and is more of a black sheep of the industry.