Interview with Guillaume Lillo

A central place is granted in your film to cars, and in particular to the road as seen through the windshield. Why did you choose this visual and narrative motif ?
The film presents itself as an introspection, an interior journey that the motif of the road translates into images. The windshield serves to support thought and imagination, like a screen for projections. Cars are at the heart of the narrator’s preoccupations. They had a part in the construction of his identity, turned into an obsession, and it doesn’t work for him anymore. It’s an absurd motif, tied to the human condition. He is passionate about cars for the wrong reasons, and doesn’t have his driver’s licence. He is torn between different facets of his personality (the masculine, the feminine) that he has to reconcile in order to get in touch with his deeper nature again. I took inspiration from my own tribulations. In hindsight, I found them quite inventive.

You choose never to show a human face. Why ?
The film is made of preexisting images. With such a device, it was impossible to find faces engaging in dialogue. I therefore played with what was outside the frame. What is more, his self-image is a fundamental problem for the character. The missing face expresses his self-disgust, his shame. He can’t look at himself, not to mention show himself to others. I tried to convey his emotions through other means than facial expressions. First-person images associated to the voice-over transcribe his interiority. The film becomes a mental one. I was aiming for these sensations.

On the contrary, you show a lot of animals, in close-up or in swarms in long shot. Why this constant presence?
I like animals a lot. They express my protagonist’s romantic character and place nature at the heart of the proceedings. I consider human beings as animals like any others, sometimes too self-conscious. Here, the birds symbolise insanity and the patients at the medico-psychological center that the narrator attends. They embody the freedom that he would like to conquer in order to feel more alive. They are models for him.

Your narrator tells his story to multiple drivers. Why this fragmented form, rather than a single dialogue, which is what the beginning seemed to hint at ?
The film mixes conversation partners, some of which appear multiple times. It adopts a documentary form, as if the discussions had been edited in order to give shape to the discourse. It’s implicit. Moreover, as the character enjoys being driven around, he hitches multiple rides and therefore meets multiple people. He goes on with his litany, whoever the person listening to him is, as if he were confiding in his analyst. But the drivers don’t all listen to him in the same way. There is a conscious
decision to be humoristic with this choice.

Could you mention, without giving too much away, the way you built your film ?
Like Rémy, my previous film, Perchés is a montage film, made from images downloaded on the internet. Internet found footage. After the research phase, I manipulate them and change their status in order to make them into fiction. It’s a way of appropriating them. Recycling videos is a form of writing that I adopted in a period during which I was scared of shootings. It holds a very high potential. I’ve made it into a playing field for fun and experimenting. YouTube is a gold mine. YouTubers, who often
film just about anything and are not scared to share it, are a great source of inspiration for me.

Interview by Nathan Letoré