Gonzalez’s sensual and erotic debut played to critical acclaim during Critics’ Week at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, and stars former international footballer Eric Cantona and the legendary Béatrice Dalle (BETTY BLUE) in a kitsch ode to love and lust.
With electrifying music by M83, helmed by Anthony Gonzalez, YOU AND THE NIGHT evokes the style and substance of Almódovar, Ozon and Lynch.
Kiri Inglis:The film plays like a music video, with stylised characters, sets and lighting- was this your original vision for the film?
Yann Gonzalez: A music video with lots of talking, yes! I’ve always loved hyper-stylised movies and to me the outfits, the music and the photography always tell something about the characters. I think that YOU AND THE NIGHT has something hybrid and I love this idea of cooking the most unlikely recipe: 80s music video aesthetics, but also paintings from the Middle Age, literature from the 20s, dominatrix prison warden, giant cock and absolute romanticism.
KI: The film is a subverted fairytale with comedy elements- what inspired you to make You and the Night?
YG: The dreams and nightmares that I didn’t remember consciously but eventually came back to the surface. And the pleasure of creating a group of actors, a strange community that would have escaped the disaster of our world, taking shelter in a vessel lost in the night and the apocalypse. When you feel lonely or depressed as an author, you always have the possibility of plunging in your own fiction, spending some time with your characters, fantasizing on the actors that could give life to your stories.
KI: Who is the film for?
YG: For everybody open-minded enough. I don’t think this is a film for an elite, and even though a lot of people talked about my film inspirations, you don’t have to be a movie buff to enter this world. Only try to leave your cynicism at the door: this is a film where you have to believe the unbelievable, to embrace the grotesque and the sometimes cheesy atmosphere. If you accept my characters with all their frailty and weirdness, I think this film can go straight to your heart.
KI: The film feels like a step by step guide to Freudian analysis-death,dreams,fantasy, desire and oedipus all rear their heads, are sex and death your primary concerns?
YG: Well, everybody is concerned with those two, right? To me, sex and death belong to the same abysm, and I make films to try digging into this giant void that surrounds us because I’m fascinated by its mysteries and wonders. And sometimes, when you put two cinematic shots side by side, some of these mysteries are sort of being revealed, as if you were creating a shape for the unnameable.
KI: Have you always wanted to collaborate with your brother?
YG: We have the same sensibility, his music is pure genius, he understands my universe better than anyone else, plus he’s cheap!! Why should I find somebody else? We’ve been working together for ten years now. I wrote the lyrics of his last albums, he created the soundtracks for my short films and I love this way of combining our obsessions and souls. I feel so blessed to have such a wonderful bro, and no one makes me laugh as hard as he does, which is a great asset when you’re struggling with your own demons on a film.
KI: When you were writing the characters did you have these actors in mind?
YG: I had some of them in mind, particularly Kate Moran (Ali) and Julie Brémond (The Slut) because we had made short films together before. It’s really helping to be driven by a voice and a face you know. But sometimes the character is only a vague shadow and when somebody like Eric Cantona is showing some interest in your work, it’s like a miracle and the character gets even crazier than what you had in mind.
KI: Did you enjoy the process of making your first feature length film?
YG: I never enjoy making a film, whether it’s a short or a feature. To me it’s excruciating all the way, except during the editing process –because then we can experiment quietly and I’m not rushed by time or my crew waiting for the right directions. Of course you have little joys on the set with the actors or when a shot is working nicely, but I have to say that the happiest moment for me is when everything is done and I’m just waiting for the premiere: I make films because above all I want to watch them as a spectator.
KI: Are you planning another feature film?
YG: Of course! I’m finishing the screenplay of a horror film set in the French gay porn film industry of the late 70s. If there are some crazy co-producers or wealthy benefactors reading this, feel free to contact me!