Claire Burger, Femme de Cinéma 2018 and Flèche de Crystal at the 10th Arcs Film Festival.
Claire Burger, director of C'est Ça l'amour (Real Love), was crowned « Femme de Cinéma » (Woman of Cinema) at the Arcs Film Festival 2018. Five days later, her film won the « Flèche de Crystal » (Crystal Arrow), the press jury prize and its main actor Bouli Lanners, won the Best Actor Award, presented by a jury chaired by Sweden's Ruben Ostlund.
As a Woman of Cinema, Claire Burger follows into the steps of women directors from all over Europe: Jasmila Zbanic, Lucie Borleteau, Malgorzata Szumowska and Iram Hacq.
But is the subject of women in film a cause that Claire Burger holds close to her heart ?
You have just been crowned Woman of Cinema 2018 at Les Arcs Film Festival. However, you did not seem very convinced by the point made as you received your prize. Why is that ?
I am absolutely not losing interest in this complex subject. On the contrary, I am completely feminist and I am not forgetting that it is an old and fair fight. On the other hand, I regret the current opportunism – I am constantly being sollicited for specific awards. I know it's a period we have to go through, that we must move things forward for more equality but it displeases me to be distinguished because I am a woman. And then, the marketing side of the award bothers me a little: I do not quite understand why it is me who is distinguished when I already have the chance to be regularly put forward.
So how do you support this cause?
I joined the 50/50 Collective on principle and I live surrounded by its activists. It is a cause dear to me, that I do not want to see misguided. Which implies to defend it responsibly. I also thought about it before accepting the Femme de Cinéma award. The leaders of the Arcs Film Festival were able to convince me that this award was not opportunistic, that it has existed for five years and explained to me their implication on the subject.
Are you engaged elsewhere?
No, but I understood by accompanying C’est ça l’amour, in Morocco it was important to get involved. To show a man being left by his wife, who is taking care of his daughters, to show a girl who kisses a girl and a teenager having quite a free sexuality, is not easily accepted in this region. The reactions have been complicated. There is no way we can defend this cause if we keep walking on eggshells ! There are still too many things that need to change in many places.
You claim to have been spoiled in your career as a filmmaker. How exactly ?
Since leaving the Fémis where I studied editing, my films have always been distinguished. Forbach, my first short film received the second award of the Ciné-fondation in Cannes and the Grand Prix of the Clermont-Ferrand Festival. Thanks to its success, I co-directed a second one with Marie Amachoukeli, It's free for girls, which received the César for best short film in 2010. With Samuel Theis, we were able to follow up with a Feature film, Party girl, Camera d'Or 2014. All this brings some pressure: I'm afraid to not be able to confirm this beginning ... At the same time, I really can not complain because I could never have these projects, this type of film with non-professionals who play their own role, without these awards.
In this respect, C’est ça l’amour is different from your previous movies ...
A little. For the first time, I integrated professional actors, Bouli Lanners and Antonia Buresi, to a cast of nonprofessionals who did not improvise. The dialogues were written and the project led by the theater company actually exists. My cinema is still realistic and this film inspired my adolescence.
When and how was C’est ça l’amour born?
I started thinking about it during the Party Girl promotion. This film is the fruit of real questions that I asked myself about love. My project was not so much to tell a family trauma - the departure of my mother and then her absence - as to tell the difficulty to try, to look for a new way to achieve something more beautiful than reality. The cinema often serves me to repair things and to work on them to make them as I would have liked them to be or what they could be.
Is that why you give so much space to music?
The film is a variation around love, that is to say that it carries a certain polyphony (Corsican, classical music, choir, mezzo voice ...) in which everyone tries to find their voice. It is also a tribute to my father, who has always had thirst for culture, and the music allowed me to account for his sensitivity. Regarding the choice of songs, I wanted to give back classical music to the middle class, to people who, like him, work and need culture to face life.
Finally, what is love for you?
I do not really know what love is, but maybe it's to find a harmony while not actually singing nor quite the same song, or in the same tone. It does not always sound very good but, at some point, something happens and this polyphony resonates !
Claire Burger’s C’est ça l’amour will be released on March 27, 2019 in France.