As children play hide and seek, they witness a crime. Only Auguste, the youngest amongst them, no longer wants to carry the burden of keeping the grave secret. A poetically crafted miniature about guilt, betrayal and loyalty.
Hey Mathilde & Antoine, it's great to talk with you, how have things going?
Hey, thank you for having us!
Well, we’ve been doing good since our graduation, slowly entering our professional lives. We've also been getting a lot of feedback on our film which feels great. It was part of this year's Best Student Film nominees at the Annie Awards. Although we didn't receive the award, we felt very privileged to attend the ceremony and it gives us a lot of motivation for the next steps!
Congratulations on Un diable dans la poche on being selected for the 2020 Generation Kplus at the Berlinale 2020, what does it mean to you to have this film at the festival?
Thank you very much ! We’re so honoured and proud to be part of such a great event! Also, it really means a lot to us to be considered among live-action films, as our short is made in 2D animation.
Un diable dans la poche will make its World Premiere at the Berlinale, does this add any extra pressure on you?
Actually, we are really thrilled about it! Our film has been finished since September 2019 and we haven’t been able to show it publicly yet, so for it to be screening at the Berlinale for the first time is very exciting and encouraging too.
Do you ever get nervous about watching a film with a festival audience?
Kind of, it’s always nerve-wracking to have your work shown on a big screen. But we try to keep a healthy balance, like : 70% excited / 30% completely stressed out.
"The screenplay kept evolving until the final edit of the voice over which was already pretty far into production."
Can you tell me a little bit about Un diable dans la poche what was the inspiration behind this film?
Un Diable dans la Poche is a short tale about a group of children who witness a crime and are forced to remain silent. Auguste, the youngest, finds the burden to heavy and reveals their secret. To punish him of this betrayal, the rest of the kids decide to get rid of him.
We’ve always enjoyed dark tales such as the Grimm Brothers tales, Le Roi et l’Oiseau by Paul Grimault, The Snow Queen by Lev Atamanov or more recently Yórgos Lánthimos’ work. These were our main inspiration for the story. As for the graphic part, painters like Bruegel the Elder, Vallotton or Hiroshige were huge references. The strength in compositions, colour choices and overall boldness combined with the pleasing yet sometimes disturbing mood appeals a lot to us.
We also kept a lot of children's books illustrators in mind, as we wanted to achieve soft images that would contrast with the story. The brilliant work of Alice & Martin Provensen is probably what influenced us the most in the way we framed and styled the shots.
How much did the screenplay for Un diable dans la poche evolve during the production?
Writing was a challenge as most of our references are feature-length and we never wrote a script before. The screenplay kept evolving until the final edit of the voice over which was already pretty far into production. However, we enjoyed working that way because it kept the project fresh and it felt more alive to us.
As co-directors what was the experience like working together on this film?
Co-directing can be next to impossible if you’re not with someone you fully trust, respect and are comfortable to share your vision with… We worked on a few other projects together so we knew we had that connection. We're also good friends in life and share a lot of interest for films, music and arts in general so it seemed obvious to make this first film as a duo. Being two also gives us a strong balance in decision making, stress management and sharing tasks so we feel very lucky and grateful we’ve found one another ! We can't wait to make our next film!
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
Mathilde: I remember putting together shows with my brother and recording little films with our toys as a kid so filmmaking makes sense now that I’m older. But I think my real passion is just to tell stories, filmmaking just happens to be the most enjoyable way to do it right now.
Antoine: Entering school, I was more attracted in fashion, graphic arts and print but Mathilde gave me that interest in writing stories and finding the best way to tell/share them.
What would you say has been the most valuable lesson you've learnt from making Un diable dans la poche?
There are really so many lessons we’ve learnt in the process of making this film! Probably the main thing would be to stay focused and trust your guts. Also, we found that “slow and steady” was our way to work. And finally : do not use ten different hard-drives and computers on the same production (laughs).
What has been the best advice you have been given?
Hopefully this makes sense but, the best advice we’ve been given was the concept that the audience doesn’t always need to understand everything that happens in the story as long as it feels believable. We found that using image and sound to recall to the viewer’s sensory memory can be valuable tools in achieving that “believable” quality and making the audience trust what you’re showing them.
As a filmmaker what advice would you offer fellow filmmaker?
As it’s only our first film, our best advice to fellow filmmakers would be to stay curious and aware of others' works and ways of thinking. That way, we feel like it’s easier to tell what really resonates within yourself.
And finally, what do you hope audiences will take away from Un diable dans la poche?
With this film, we would like the audience to be faced with the same dilemma as the characters. We hope they come out of the film wondering what they would have done in the same situation, on which side they would have stood and whether they would have supported Auguste or the rest of the kids ?
Also, we hope they get a sense that people do not choose the events they live, but they can always choose how to react to it.