Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury's Inside thrilled the Midnight Madness crowd 4 years ago, and they're finally returning with their follow-up film, Livid. Bustillo and Maury were generous with their time to answer some of our questions.
Jeff Wright: It’s been 4 years since your debut film, Inside, and horror fans have been eagerly awaiting your second film. So much so that they were even excited for you to direct Hollywood remakes. Did knowing how high expectations were affect you at all in making Livid, or even during the years you were working with Hollywood?
Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury: We just made a small movie that has earned a reputation among fans of horror films, we are not John Carpenter! Except for our friends and our parents, there must not be many people waiting for our next film! In reality, we had no pressure. We really made the movie we wanted to see, and that we would be ready to buy a cinema ticket for!
JW: Livid seems to be a less bombastic type of horror film than Inside. Is that a fair assessment? Was that a conscious decision, or was Livid just the film that naturally came to you when you sat down to write
AB+JM: It is true that Livid is less gory and extreme than Inside. We wanted to change registers. It reflects another aspect of genre that we also love. A more atmospheric cinema, more based on suggestion rather than demonstration. If we had to compare it, it is more old school fantastical more like HAMMER movies.
But we cannot change who we are and there are still some scenes that are quite violent!
JW: On both Inside and Livid, you’ve worked with two of most important contributors of the new wave of French horror--DP, Laurent Barés, and editor, Baxter. How did those relationships come about, and can you speak a little about your working relationship?
AB+JM: For both, our relationship is based on trust. With Laurent, we work a lot ahead of filming. We give him our references, our influences, and especially we explain to him the feelings that we want to convey to the audience. After that, he brings his vision and ideas, even on the set where he often has suggestions. His experience and the speed he works at are real assets when we work with quite low-budget as on our first 2 movies!
For Baxter it is different. He is a tyrant! All that seems useless or is slowing down the narrative for him, he throw it away! This is extreme, but highly useful because the more the film progresses, the less we have a clear vision on our work. A fresh and objective glance forces us to question ourselves constantly and to justify all of our choices, even if sometimes we have to fight for it. If we were our own editors, Livid would be 2 hours long and it would be a mistake! Baxter is someone really precious for us because he will never try to spare us. He is very frank and if we do a bad job somewhere, he will tell us frankly! Sometimes he is wrong and we yell at each other, but he is always honest and recognizes when he was wrong! And believe us, in this business, that’s priceless!
JW: It might be too early to know but are you planning to make another French film next, or will you try again to make a film in the US?
AB+JM: Yes, it is indeed a little bit too early to say. We are finishing writing a script right now, and we’ll see if it interests someone in France or somewhere else! We always have the same position as four years ago, we prefer to develop our stories (because we have a lot of ideas in our minds) but if we receive a good script which interests us, whether it is here or in US, we are ready! To shoot in English is something which interests us and whatever our next project will be, we are quite sure it will be in English.
JW: Before you were making films, Alexandre, you were a film journalist and critic for the excellent French genre magazine, Mad Movies. How does it feel to have the magazine you used to work for, now covering
your own films?
AB: Before being fond of horror movies, I was a big fan of Mad Movies. I read it for the first time at 7, and haven't stopped since. I began watching horror movies after reading Mad Movies.
19 years after first reading it, I was already proud to work for Mad Movies, but seeing Inside on the front-cover was the ultimate honor! The cover is on the wall of my bathroom!
JW: Who are a few filmmakers that you think are going to be leading the charge in the next wave of horror/genre filmmaking? And is there any country or region that you think might be able to threaten France's
position at the top?
AB+JM:We can answer only according to our tastes but there are actually quite a lot of young directors who have amazed us in recent years! The first one that comes to our mind is Saverio Costanzo who made The Solitude of Prime Numbers. This is not strictly speaking a horror or fantasy film but it is directed as such! We do not know if he is going to venture into pure genre but if he does, we wait for that firmly!
And it is funny that you place France at the top of countries making genre movies because we who see things from the inside, have a quite different vision...
For us, and speaking only about Europe, France is behind Spain, England or Scandinavian countries. Our country is far behind at all levels regarding the genre. We can count on the fingers of one hand the producers who still believe in it. Every movie which is released here is a victory and the result of a very very long battle. It is very simple, since Inside, for every French movie made, we hear that it was the last one which would be produced and that everything was going to stop! It takes real courage to continue to make fantasy or horror here!
LIVID screening times:
Sun., Sept. 11th, 11:59PM, RYERSON
Tues., Sept. 13th, 5:00PM, AMC 7