Misogyny in film is a difficult subject to respectfully represent, coupled with murder and music, and you have the French film Out of this World directed by Marc Fouchard. This is the latest film from the French-born filmmaker after the short films No Body (2012) and The Way of Tea (2014) and the feature drama Break (2018), and also his latest hit to date.
DMovies writer John McDonald was able to sit down on Zoom and interview Marc Fouchard and producer of the film Julien Russo – with Russo also acting as the interpreter – to talk about this experimental and thought-provoking film, and what other projects the pair have lined up in the future.
Out of This World is available on digital platforms now.
John McDonald – This is actually my first interview with a director so I’m quite excited, thanks for sitting down with me.
Marc Fouchard – Well, this is actually my first interview in English so yeah, we’ll be fine (said with a smile).
JMD – The first thing I wanted to ask you about was the character of Léo. We’ve seen characters similar to this in the past – lonely, troubled musicians – how important was it for you to create a different interpretation?
Julien Russo – We wanted to create a film that was very different to what people have seen already, so creating an original character was of high importance.
MF – My first [feature] movie Break, was set in a dense universe but was quite a big movie, and this time I wanted to make a more independent movie. I wanted to make the most original movie and original character that I could.
JR – You know we made this movie in 18 days, and we felt very free when creating it, we had so much freedom with the idea.
JMD – Obviously you’ve just said you wanted the character to be very original, but were there any influences that you took on board for the character of Léo? There is a lot going on with him.
MF – Taxi Driver [Martin Scorsese, 1976] was an influence, for sure. Also, Beauty and the Beast [Gary Trousdale/ Kirk Wise, 1991], not only the film but the original book. We wanted to create a modern fairy tale. My first feature was a musical comedy and for this film I wanted to create a musical tragedy. So, definitely those two influences.
JMD – That’s great because the character is an interesting one, and it also because of the performance of Kévin Mischel too. Do we have a new French star in the making?
MF – We hope so! For me, he is a super talented actor, and he has everything to be star. His agency say he will be a big star, but we don’t know, he should be.
JR – He is young he is cute, and this helps [the two men laugh out loud].
JMD – Was it difficult finding someone who could be so emotional but also do all the physically demanding parts to the role as well?
MF – Absolutely! It’s always difficult. In the film as well, the female character (Amélie) and Léo needed to be able to act and dance.
JR – Both Aurélia and Kévin both come from a university for dance, and Marc knew them already, and when we had the script we thought about the pair of them throughout, so it was very natural.
JMD – Well, we can talk about her. What was the idea behind introducing a deaf character into the story?
MF – We had to find the female opposite to Léo; he is a musician and out of the world and to find a female character that also has a connection with Léo and with the music too. That’s where the idea came from to create a dancer who was also deaf, and out of this world. And fortunately, we found a coach who could teach her sign language (because Aurélia is not deaf) and she was also a dancer too – she [the coach] could have played the role herself because she was also deaf.
JMD – Obviously music is one of the most important aspects of the film, I wonder if you’ve seen films like CODA and The Sound of Metal (two films of recent years that do something similar) and how did you want to incorporate your own representation of the connection between music and a deaf person?
MF – The connection between dancing and music was established because of Aurélia’s teacher. I asked her a lot of questions about how she could dance as a deaf person. She explained to me that she feels the speaker and the vibrations for the rhythm, and she dances with bare feet so she can feel the floors movements too, and I included all of this in the movie, and it felt authentic.
JMD – That’s great because the dancing scenes were one of the film’s best aspects and it was done in a very beautiful way.
MF – Merci
JMD – Now obviously, one of the big themes is misogyny. Did you expect any backlash from portraying a misogynistic killer?
MF – That’s difficult to answer because we thought a lot about this during the production. It’s difficult to speak about, it’s a touchy subject for us to explain in French and in English, about why this serial killer only kills women and hates women. It comes from the character’s childhood.
JMD – We don’t know too much about the character’s background, we know parts, but it was left up to interpretation for the most part. Was it crucial to do this, to leave things up to the viewer?
MF – Yes, because I didn’t want to explain. Every explanation is visual (what you see is what you get). When Léo beats the father who was beating the child, it brings up past trauma which is why he gets so angry. No explanation was need; the audience should hopefully understand this. And the kid in the movie is actually my son by the way.
JMD – Oh really? Okay. Keeping it in the family I see! [everyone laughs]
So, Marc, we’re going to wrap this up, but tell me, what’s on the horizon for you? Have you got anything lined up that you can tell us about?
MF – I have a movie releasing on Netflix next year. I also have a book (a thriller) coming out in January. And this book will be adapted into a movie as well.
JMD – That’s great, I’ll look out for them. But thanks for your time anyway and take care.
MF – Thank you, thank you very much, John.
Marc Fouchard is pictured at the top of this article; the other two images are stills from his latest movie