"La période verte de Leos Carax", vue à travers le filtre coloré de Caroline Champetier à propos d"Annette"

Dans le n° Été 2021 de "Filmmaker Magazine"

Contre-Champ AFC n°323

Après l’AFC elle-même, Film Comment et Sony, c’est au tour de la revue trimestrielle Filmaker Magazine, et de son rédacteur Nicolas Rapold, d’interroger Caroline Champetier, AFC, au sujet de son travail sur Annette, de Leos Carax. Et aussi de son travail antérieur avec William Lubtchansky, son mentor, Jacques Rivette, Claude Lanzmann et Philippe Garrel. Extrait du début de l’entretien en VO anglaise...

Filmmaker : Thanks for taking a break to talk. What are you shooting ?

Champetier : I am shooting something with Isabelle Huppert [a documentary directed by Benoît Jacquot]. It’s a kind of portrait of who an actress is, what an actress is, before and after the play. She’s acting in Avignon [in Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard].

Filmmaker : What cameras did you use to shoot Annette ?

Champetier : I used the Sony Venice and two Sony α7 III cameras, two main cameras, and then two cameras, C and D, to make additional shots.

Filmmaker : What were the challenges of shooting a musical ?

Champetier : Nothing is playback. Adam and Marion are singing. It’s always his voice. For Marion, sometimes when it’s an opera song, the voice is morphed with a lyrical singer. But everything [else] is direct sound. It was one of the difficulties of the movie. I think it is the reason there is so much liberation and reality in the manner of acting for the actors, and for us the great challenge was to make sure of the rhythm of the music.

Filmmaker : Annette has a darkness that not all musicals share, making me think more of New York, New York or Phantom of the Paradise.

Champetier : It’s like a fairy tale, and fairy tales are often very dark. Adam Driver chose to interpret the Henry part in a dark way. It was his interpretation. You know, American actors are responsible for their acting. It’s not exactly the same in the French school. But I think it’s really Adam’s choice to make so dark a character, because I think Henry doesn’t want to save Ann. But it’s a fairy tale.

Filmmaker : Let’s talk about some specific scenes. For example, Henry’s stand-up routine : What went into shooting that ? Did you have an actual audience ?

Champetier : Yes, absolutely. All is shot for real on the set. It can be a construction but it’s real. So, the extras are there, they are singing. Adam is on the scene, and they are on the scene—there is a spark between them. It was shot directly : we were two or three cameras. My camera was a big traveling camera in the theater, with a zoom. You can see that sometimes I go in close to him and sometimes I go back. I follow the rhythm of his movement. Then there was another cameraman who was in the first row with another camera. Because the [Sony] Venice can be in two parts : the part with optic and camera, and the part with the computer. So, he was shooting from this first row. So when you see the show, there is this smooth zoom shot [that] follows Adam, and there are sometimes closer shots by the guy who is in the first row. But every take was the whole show.

Filmmaker : So he had to do multiple shows, as if Henry was doing multiple nights ?

Champetier : Yes. I think we did something like seven takes.

Filmmaker : The fairy tale sense is vivid in the opera sequences, and that includes actual shots from a forest, right ?

Champetier : Yes, we shot in a theater [the Concertgebouw of Bruges], then to make the real forest, we had a green screen in the back of the theater. And we shot the real forest in American night [day for night]. The green screen was just for the border, you see ?

Filmmaker : And the storm scene looked like an opera in real life.

Champetier : You can think that, yes, of course. The storm was shot all on a boat and behind the boat was a big, big screen where we projected big, vertical waves on a loop. A grey, not green, screen [around 12×30 meters]. Because this was shot at the same time that we were shooting the boat and the actors on the boat. So everything is in the same shot at the same time.

Filmmaker : So it is not a digital composite.

Champetier : Absolutely it is not a composite. Leos does not like the green screen at all, and he does not like compositing too much. He likes when the maximum is done on set.

Filmmaker : You’ve said you went to the shows of choreographer Gisèle Vienne in understanding the art of puppetry. But in terms of filming, was a puppet tough in terms of lighting and rendering some kind of skin tone ?

Champetier : It’s a clever question because for me, I tried to make her real. So yes, with her lighting, I was looking for the skin like with a real child. And of course you can see that it’s a puppet ! But Leos, myself, everybody—we didn’t want to fake that with silicone and so on. It was really more poetic, more charming and brave to do it like that with a real puppet, with real puppeteers working while we are doing the shot. [...]

(Propos recueillis par Nicolas Rapold, pour Filmmaker Magazine)