Première met the director of the comedy event, rebroadcast this Sunday on TF1.
August 20, 2023 update: The Big Bath will return to television this weekend. We had met its director, Gilles Lellouche, for the release of the film. His interview is to (re) read below to wait until its replay.
Interview of November 2, 2018: He was first a popular actor, he became popular. Realizing The Big Bath, in which he does not act, he tries to reconnect both with himself and with the public. Here is an excerpt from our meeting with an artist whose head is above water.
Francois Grelet & Christophe Narbonne
PREMIÈRE: We have the impression that the question that agitates Le Grand Bain would be: how to transform a film on depression into a popular film?
GILLES LELLOUCHE : Oh? That’s bad, I’ve never asked myself this question (Laughs.) In any case, I didn’t try to calibrate the film in this sense, to make a film about depression an antidepressant. I especially wanted to mix genres. The idea was to first be in the intimacy of my characters, in the service of a collective and therefore popular emotion. The problem is that the term “popular” is often associated with rough stuff that stains. This word has been hurt. Just as there are great legendary pop hits, there are also mass-produced summer hits. At the moment, we have the impression that it is the second category that dominates. But there are also too many intimate films that speak to no one… The truth of cinema, from my point of view, is at the confluence of these two extremes.
What is “popular cinema”?
Precisely, in the film Mathieu Amalric perfectly illustrates the porosity between auteur and popular cinema that manifests itself on the screen.
Exactly. Amalric had never filmed with Benoît Poelvoorde and looked at him with the eyes of a child. It was my reward. The film was not designed with the idea of bringing together a lot of big stars, but once Amalric and Poelvoorde, two of my idols, give you their agreement, you can’t go looking for strangers to surround them with. And then times have changed… I’m still criticized for working with Marion (Cotillard) and Guillaume (Canet) whom I met eighteen years ago, at a time when we weren’t all that much. I can’t help it if things have changed for us. I’m not going to deprive myself of touring with people I like or who are part of my life. If I had done The Big Bath twenty years ago, I wouldn’t have had an all-star cast but actors in the making!
The film builds a bridge between two shores, between mainstream culture and trendy culture. It really shows up everywhere and especially in the musical references: we come across Phil Collins and Julien Clerc as well as Jon Brion (the composer of the first PT Anderson films).
It’s my personality, I can’t tell you otherwise. I like McCartney, Phil Collins, Tears For Fears, Julien Clerc… As for Jon Brion, I had saved on overtime, that’s why we were able to afford him as a composer. (Laughs.)
You don’t play in The Big Bath. Does this fit into this logic of taking a step back?
It tickled my mind, I admit. As I wrote all the dialogues, I played myself all the characters. I would have interpreted that of Poelvoorde and, more oddly, that of Katerine. Finally, I decided not to play because directing has always fascinated me. It is not a posture. I wanted to devote myself totally to the film, to my executives, to directing actors. To train like them for five months to play a role was not possible. It’s almost not the same job.
The interview with Gilles Lellouche can be found in full in the 489th issue of First (October 2018).
Le Grand Bain: everyone in the water! (Critical)
trailer of Big Bath :