“Entertainment is the main mission”: meeting Quentin Dupieux and Pio Marmaï on the occasion of the release of Yannick

More than in the cinema, when we don’t like the performance, we feel like “hostages”, we can’t leave so as not to disturb the performance. Was Yannick’s first idea to take this wording literally with this spectator who, with a revolver in his hand, takes aim at the entire room, including the actors and the audience?

Quentin Dupieux: No… I just wanted to write Raphaël Quenard. Compared to actors with whom I have filmed more, he inspires me with something more concrete, more down-to-earth. Raphaël exudes authenticity, but he manages to enter my universe, to feel comfortable with my text without denying what it is. It fascinates me.

Society from one end of this chamber to the other plays an important role. How did you direct the extras?

QD: We mostly shot in chronological order, and the non-dialogue extras discovered the film every day, in real time, not knowing what was going to happen. We had a performance side because we wanted the reactions to be natural. It was the perfect formula and the magic worked. These viewers fully lived the moment and stayed even when the camera was just filming the actors. Everyone was playing the game and showing curiosity.

Pio Marmaï, how did you survive this experience condensed into a short week?

Pio Marmai: You have to enter the sequences in a relatively short time. It requires very intense concentration. For example, we played the whole piece at once, in sequence. It was nice and it allowed me to respect the exercise of the filmed piece. So we appear in quite simple, very square shots where we can’t hide too much… Then if it was a six-day shoot, we rehearsed a lot beforehand. Quentin Dupieux respected the codes of boulevard writing. It’s a comedy rhythm, everything is very scripted, very precise, without improvisation, with a lot of sensations and nuances. We, the actors, had to find our place in this frame.

How did you make cinema flourish with this very theatrical device?

QD: Cutting. The film is highly edited, as if acting in real time, filmed with two cameras. I’ve often given up on this TV-specific device. He was my obsession, because when you shoot in frame/reverse frame and edit in real time, you don’t have the wrong beat, the wrong implied connections… In other words, everything that makes the magic of cinema. When it’s made, the feeling is stronger… So I followed the principle of capture, but then I took care of the time delay to avoid the TV movie aspect.

Pio Marmaï, at a certain point the actor you play goes even further than Yannick and doesn’t hesitate to humiliate him…

PM: Paul Rivière is the one who experiences many frustrations and suffers from hostage taking. In absolute terms, I don’t know how I would react in such a situation. Despite everything, this actor is very far from what I can be. In my eyes, he is a kind of object, a creation… He jumped out at me so, so excited, which is rare… The problem is that I don’t see the films in which I act with him. .From far away. So I can’t wait to hear the audience’s feedback on how they perceived this character and of course the film, which has several layers. It tells about the spectacle society, the creation of a living work of art, it talks about cinema, culture…

Quentin Dupieux, how do you manage the contemporary theme of your films in entertaining and funny feature films?

QD: There are so few of us in a chaotic world… Entertainment is my main mission and it has allowed me to make absolutely stupid movies in my career. It was out of pure generosity, out of a desire to have fun. Then there is always the subtext. I react to my time. For example, the Yannick person commenting on entertainment that he doesn’t find entertaining brings me back to myself when I get insulted on social media… Everyone is entitled to constructive criticism, but when you work hard and it crosses the line, it’s not acceptable!

Hostages in the theater


In the middle of a performance of Le Cocu, in a very bad boulevard, Yannick (Raphaël Quenard) stands up and interrupts the performance to take the evening back into his hands…

Our opinion

Prolific filmmaker Quentin Dupieux reveals after “Unbelievable, but true!” and “Smoking Makes You Cough” is his third film in 14 months… All the more impressive because the next one is “Daaaaaali!”, an unusual variation on the famous painter already in the box, ready to invade the dark rooms. , most likely early next year. Infernal pace without compromising the quality of concise, funny and up-to-date offerings.

So it’s no surprise that this new opus, filmed in just six days in a Paris theater, is just over an hour long. No shame, because this hostage-taking, ensured by a spectator disaffected by the boulevard piece he sees, is as relevant as it is removed. A custom-made role for Raphaël Quenard, who confirms his immense talent after “Breaking Dog”.

Behind his “concept film” look, “Yannick” has a real humanity in his treatment of his anti-hero, whose childlike gaze is touching. As the minutes go by, the comedy tackles various issues, mostly related to the show’s society, while also being hilarious… A little finally, like the great Francis Weber.

> Quentin Dupieux (France). With Raphaël Quenard, Blanche Gardin, Pio Marmaï… Comedy. 1h07.

Pio Marmaï, Blanche Gardin, Sébastien Chassagne and Raphaël Quenard. (Photo Production Workshop / Chi-fou-mi Productions / Quentin Dupieux 2023)

Hubert Gildon

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