Interview with Florentine Grelier
Who is Florentine Grelier?I like saying that Iím an "apprentice" director. Apprentice because Iím still at the very beginning of my road and I have a lot of things to be learnt. Iím French and I was born in 1985 in Paris. After a Literary A levels, I specialized in the artistic studies then in the animated film which appeared to me as a complete art. I appreciate plastic work, the experiments and the mixtures of techniques which allow to give life of any parts to original works. After a first diploma in 2 years, I continued to the university Paris VIII in Masterís degree Cinema. Itís there where I began my second movie "Ru", which was finished in a professional context. Since, I give animation workshops while trying to pursue my personal projects.
Do you have an educational background in art or film?I soaked very early in the artistic domain thanks to my parents. My father himself is a painter and at high school I also wanted to become one. Then I discovered animated film, which allowed to ally all the existing arts in only one: colours, graphics, movement, story, sound, everything met there! But I came to the animation movie by the plastic side and i know less the cinema aspect, what I regret.
What is your film RU about?Itís the story of the men who doesnít speak enough and the hysteric women who would like to know everything about their better half. It talks about the communication on the couple, the symbiotic relationship, the differences between each character. I wanted to make a movie about the everyday life, the "real" life, without big plot or new developments. Just questions and doubts of the feminine character. The psychological aspect interests me a lot, it was also the case for my precedent animated film. So, itís a kind of movie therapy which draws its roots from my own experience. I understood many things by making it and since I quarrel less with my fiancť ;)
How does the title relate to the work, and how do you find a fitting title?We often ask me which is the meaning of "Ru". But there is not! This word represents the intimate language of my characters when they are in their loving cocoon. Itís an instinctive word, kind of crossing between the mewings of a cat and cooing of a bird. It means several things, according to the intonation and the given moment. Sometimes itís " I love you ", sometimes "Whatís going on?". From the beginning, it was the title of the movie, because it symbolizes many things for me. We used this word with my partner a lot before, but never now. Itís as if we had given it to the film (but we have others!).
How long did you work on RU?3 years passed between the first movie scenario and its projection. I began to work above in October, 2006, in my entry to Masterís degree. I spent a lot of time on the writing because it was my first one and I had to learn everything. There was numerous versions! Then it was necessary to finish the pre-production to prepare the shooting. The animation lasted approximately 8 months, then there was a rather big part of compositing. To finish the editing sound, the calibration, the copies edition... And we were in October, 2009!
What is the relationship between painting and film in your work?I havenít favourite technique, I always try to make so that the means which I use to animate is in direct link with the subject which I treat. In "Ru", I used painting to insist on the bodies fusion which mix together, melt into one another. Painting is a living and vibrating matter which gives an ideal sensitive depiction to transcribe the intimacy and the sensuality. She allowed me to play on the deformations and to direct so the restless state of mind of my character. Until then I had never made an oil paint on glass plate and it was a small challenge. I appreciated this technique and I would use it again if another movie lends itself to it.
Tell us something about different animation techniques you used to gives this film this unique look?I like combinations, collage and harshness. I didnít want the movie to be smooth because it reports the spirit of a person in the grip of the confusions. Celine (the feminine character) thinks, become agitated, gets lost. We go back and forth between the apartment which she stride along and her head. She is lost but I didnít have to lose the spectators, I wanted them to understand what she feels. Thus I adopted several representations which identify the various scenes. In the the apartment backgrounds, I stuck elements of the everyday life to strengthen the report in the reality, while in the imaginary scenes the bottom is black and everything is in painting, without outer elements. I even left an element in real recording: the lamp with red bubbles near their bed, which was already beautiful without animation.
How do you finance your projects (by yourself, sponsors or subsidy)?I tried to have subsidies for the movie, but I obtained from it little. Itís thus largely about personal funds and material assistant of my producer.
Where do you get your ideas or inspiration from?Mainly of my personal experience and the life generally. I want to share emotions and touch the public by transposing feelings most exactly possible.
What are you working on now?I began to write a new project of short film which deals with the passage in the adulthood and the nostalgia that can inspire us certain things of our childhood. With jukeboxes! And at the same time I realize an erotic pocket animated movie on Nintendo DS, sequel of the love scene of "Ru" ;)
Florentine Grelier - 2011