Paris Images meets Eric Gautier, AFC

Contre-Champ AFC n°315

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While Paris Images announces its next edition, which will take place entirely online from January 25 to 29, 2021, its website offers an interview with director of photography Eric Gautier, AFC. On the occasion of the Micro Salon AFC 2020, he talks to us about his job and in particular about working with a director facing the language barrier.

You worked with Hirokazu Kore-eda on The Truth. How does a film shoot with a director take place when you don’t share the language ?

Eric Gautier : I had already worked with an Asian director, Jia Zhangke, but he spoke a little English, so a translator was present when we needed to discuss more specific subjects. But Kore-eda doesn’t speak French or English. So it’s true that to communicate we had set up a kind of sign language of our own and sometimes a translator was present. It’s true that I like it less when there’s an intermediary between the filmmaker and me. We were able to
understand each other relatively well, notably because I know his cinema well and if he chose me, it is also because he knows my work. I had asked him for some little drawings to really understand the angles, what emotions he wanted to film. It was quite simple, drawn in an almost schoolboy style with watercolour, it was really charming and very useful. The filming was a bit like a jazz piece : there is a score but you improvise on it. And in the end, we manage to understand each other. You know, there are French directors who can talk to me for half an hour and I wouldn’t understand anything they want or look for and Kore-eda in two gestures, I understand everything. It’s all very relative and it all comes down to the human level.

  • Read more about the 2021 Paris Images edition.

(The thumbnail image above shows Eric Gautier in 2018 – Photo by Ariane Damain Vergallo for Leitz Cine Wetzlar.)