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THE BIG INTERVIEW: FTN interviews Philippe Andre, director of Delicate Gravity

December 28th, 2013 by Marc Comments


Philippe Andre grew up in Brittany and moved to Paris to pursue a career in music. He graduated with a degree in film instead. Upon graduating, Andre worked for the Museum of Modern Art and The Centre Pompidou Paris, making videos on their many and varied exhibitions.

Philippe furthered his film career by transitioning into directing music videos, winning many awards (Victoire de la musique in Paris, Cad’s, Brit’s and Mobo awards in London, German dance awards). He became known for authoring a unique style of promos.

After leaving school Philippe wrote and directed a first short film entitled ‘Le Tourbillon de la Vie’ in homage to François Truffaut, with Philippe Galion, Christine Pallard and Thiery Ravel. In 2005, Philippe wrote and directed ‘The Rope’ starring Natasha Wightman, music by Max Richter, awarded Jury Prize for Best Narrative Film at The 1 Reel Film Festival Seattle International Film Festival.

This year, Philippe has released short film’Delicate Gravity’, with Yvan Attal and Anne Parillaud. It entered Cannes Film Festival at the Short Film Corner and has been awarded Best of Festival Award at Palm Springs International Short Fest 2013. (Bio courtesy of IMDB)

FTN: How did you first get into Directing?

PA: I’ve studied music at the conservatory of music then made a film school to make music for film but graduated with a degree in film. I’ve shot documentaries about music then worked for the museum of modern art in Paris making videos on their many exhibitions.

FTN:  You are perhaps best known for directing the award-winning short The Rope. How did you come up with the idea for the story?

PA: The Rope started as an experimental work, just a concept. It could have been a music video. Then I developed the idea and it became more and more narrative as I was working on how this woman had to adapt to this man’s walk in order to control him better, to abandon herself in order to lead. It became very symbolic obviously about love, danger, respect.

FTN: Were you surprised by the critics and the awards you received for The Rope?

PA: Yes very much. Maybe because it’s a simple idea, easy to pitch. And the opening scene is very catchy: “A woman awakes lying on the street. She is tied to a man she can’t see and who drags her away.” So of course, you want to see more; and the more you watch, the more you discover of the narrative dimension, the story. But it’s hidden behind a simple conceptual idea. Which is good for a short.

FTN:  You have just finished the short film, Delicate Gravity. Can you tell us how you expanded the idea of a “message left on answer machine” theme into the complex short film that you have made?

PA: I started with something which happened to me. I found on my machine a message from a woman who was talking to her lover. She was sure to talk to him. Of course the message was not so dramatic as in my film. But starting from this experience I built the story for Delicate Gravity. What if this message was a question of life and death? What if this woman was really asking for help? What if this message ends up on the phone of a lonely man? And the story built up…

I wanted to tell a love story. A story of impossible love. It’s my favorite theme. And show how two persons who would never meet – actually meet – because they need each other, this day, this time. And I wanted the film to take time, to make a kind of slow dating.

FTN: Short Films have gained more popularity in recent years thanks to film festivals. Do you think audiences at times prefer a short film, with complex plots or artistic scenes when compared to the big budget special effects laden blockbusters?

PA: I really believe people want catharsis. They want to go to the ritual of the story. They want to be touched. Whatever the film is. I’m not sure they want complex plots. They want complex characters, because we are complex.

It’s pretty hard for a short film because nobody really expects anything from a short film. So it’s hard to write one and even more difficult to shoot it properly because of funding. And, compared to blockbusters, you obviously have no chance, apart from honesty. When you make a great story with beautiful characters, I think it’s a satisfying experience, for the filmmaker and for the audience as well. They truly share something during the time of the film. That way, it’s not a question anymore of big budgets.

FTN: You have directed a number of successful short films. Do you find it difficult to secure backing or screens to make these short films in cinemas?

PA: It’s more and more difficult to see these short films in cinemas. Cinemas want to play the full feature program as many times as possible every day and the rest is for commercials. By chance festivals are very active and there is a very wide audience coming to see shorts. And the web is there too. But I prefer to see them on a big screen. Because all the energy, the details, the love you put in your film is there, and you see it better when it’s wide and clear.

FTN: Do you have any ideas for your next project and will it be a short film or would you like to direct a full length feature?

PA: I have two movie scripts in developments in Los Angeles but it takes an awful lot of time as they are independent movies. My next project is another full length movie script I’m writing at the moment, with the same co writer from Delicate Gravity. It will be a French movie I want to shoot in Paris. The writing is being financed already. So fingers crossed.


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Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….