Your new movie The
Hermits - in a few words, what's it about?
and Tristan have a long drive to make; they stop off at the house of a
deceased uncle for the night. But an antisocial trio is hiding
in the woods nearby… and they turn out to be total psychos.
were your sources of inspiration when writing The
main house made me write this film. I discovered it by night, autumn 2019:
I was working on a play, this house was our accommodation. I saw that big
window with the vines below, the little road and its street lamps. I told
myself: “It would be so scary if I were alone here with someone under
this light watching in my direction.” (That gave birth to a scene you
can see in the trailer.) One year later, I asked for meeting the owner. He
agreed to loan me his house so I started to write. At first it was meant
to be a very dark and rock’n’roll gory comedy, with characters à la
Rob Zombie. But quickly the serious potential got the upper hand… and
that’s lucky, because I don’t know how to write comedies.
What can you tell us about your movie's
approach to horror?
films can be eccentric or unexpected. With this one I wanted to embrace a
complete classic horror. No twists and turns or complicated imagery, only
special characters and a tightened action (the story takes place in one
single night). Regarding style, I had my eye on the naïve directness of the
A few words about your overall
directorial approach to your story at hand?
I tried to keep it simple and mainly focus on the cast. The story and my
directing weren’t that important, the characters had to be the principal
matter. They’re all socially maladapted (and here, physically isolated),
hence the title: The trio wants to escape society (each one with their own
personal reasons and ways), Astrid may have visions, Tristan is
agoraphobic, Loup has been traumatised… Always remembering these
feelings of sadness, frustration, unease, incompatibility, was my
about The Hermits'
cast, and why exactly these people?
all have different ways of working that really tallied with their
respective characters. When I was writing, Fabien Hintenoch (Charlot) and Capucine
Lamarque (Jeanne) were already there: I had made films with both of them separately,
and they’d never acted together whereas they’ve been friends for 15
years, so the time had come to watch them have fun. Straight after the
first script’s version, I thought of Sylvie Tonarelli (Astrid) whom I had met on
a short film a few years before. She naturally had all the delicate and
moony look I wanted for this character. She had already acted with Adrien
Malvoisin (Tristan) which I didn’t know, but it made me want to see how that
worked between them. Emmanuelle Escourrou (Ma) had played a beautiful part in a
quite cult French horror film, and when I contacted her I found out she
was by chance living in our region; she fully got involved in this
character. Finally Thomas Lesserteur (Loup), my most wonderful accident: I cast him
when the previous actor for this role vanished; he saved our shoot several
times and made my idea of Loup clearer.
You of course also
have to talk about the film's main location, and what was it like filming
word: Suffocating. We shot in June 2021 in South France, it was so hot…
and not even daytime! This old house kept the heat in its carpets and
padded walls… and the dust too. When we arrived for our installation
day, a dead flies' cemetery was waiting upstairs. Electricity didn’t
conform to today’s standards, and power cuts occurred the two last days
(great for our poor DOP). We had hives too, and got attacked by angry
What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere?
felt studious, because time was so short. After 2 days or so for the day
scenes and the hideout sequence, we had 10 nights in the house. Everything
was shot by night for real. But in June sun dies at 10PM and sky starts to
lighten around 5AM. Seven hours is very little, even if we could cheat to
exceed sometimes. However this nocturnal mood created something precious
for the film.
Anything you can tell us about
audience and critical reception of your movie?
is now my most awarded film in festivals. We got Best
Actor, Director, Feature, Kill… in different countries. For the
audience: We finally have a French screening next month (another fest), so
future projects you'd like to share?
next feature is Nénuphar (Water Lily). It is ready to come out. We
finished it a few months ago. In relation to The Hermits:
DOP, assistant director and main actor (Thomas Lesserteur).
What got you into
filmmaking in the first place, and did you receive any formal training on
have always been writing (and reading) stories. After high school I found
out I couldn’t do anything else, so I studied camerawork to learn more
technical knowledge. Now it’s been nearly ten years since I started in
independent cinema and theatre. I am beginning to work as an author too.
I’ll keep on telling stories in any possible way.
What can you tell us about your filmwork
prior to The Hermits?
de Vi (Slices of Vi) & Rutabaga are my most distributed
films—different visions of the horror genre. To whomever looks for a broke
surrealist flick, Au Thé des Vivants (Tea Party with the Living) is
also available on V.O.D. and DVD. And for a 1-hour literary & animated
experience, Dear Ed is publicly released on YouTube.
would you describe yourself as a director?
director who loves and admires his crews, and who doesn’t talk much on
set. I’m improving on this last point (maybe).
who inspire you?
Švankmajer, Wes Craven, Murnau, Pascal Laugier, Aja, Carpenter, Maïwenn,
Lynch, Lucio Fulci [Lucio Fulci
bio - click here]... more recently: Ari Aster, Robert Eggers.
Your favourite movies?
Alice, Hooper’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Boutonnat’s
Giorgino, De Palma’s Carrie, Mary Lambert’s Pet
Semetary… More recent: It
Follows, Babadook… It
is hard to stop.
and of course, films you really deplore?
don’t watch what I could dislike, so I cannot really name them.
Generally I am a good audience. Let’s say I deplore generic films with
great means and communication but no content or originality in the end.
movie's website, social media, whatever else?
To follow the news about The Hermits:
And the upcoming Nénuphar: https://www.facebook.com/NenupharFilm
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results?
The links below
will take you
Anything else you're dying to mention and I have merely forgotten to ask?
let’s end with an The Hermits-anecdote. The first scene we shot was the
intro (80s’ classic: a girl hunted by villains in the woods). The
expected actress called me in the afternoon: She was in the hospital. The
whole team was already driving to come on set, we had to shoot. So the
actress gave me Olivia Couget’s phone number to ask her to replace her at the
last minute. I had never met her, she’d never heard of me before; so she
got a call from an unknown guy saying: “Hey, can you come to my forest
tonight to get killed until 1AM?” She said yes and drove one hour for
us, whereas she had rehearsals for a play the next morning. And she was
great, everyone loved her immediately. Yeah, that’s how the shoot began.
for the interview!
you for your articles.