– Can 2022: Belgian filmmaker talks about the amazingly illuminated portrait of his 12-year-old daughter who must take the story of her life into her own hands
Meet the Belgian filmmaker Emanuel NicotSelected for Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival, including his first feature film, Dalva [+lire aussi :
interview : Emmanuelle Nicot
interview : Emmanuelle Nicot, Julie Es…
fiche film]A wonderfully illustrated portrait of a 12-year-old girl separated from her incestuous father, who must take the story of her life into her own hands to adjust to her childhood and her femininity.
Cineuropa: What is the source of the project?
Emanuel Nicot: I have already explored a lot of the theme of influence in my short films. Then I did an immersion in an emergency reception center, where young people were kept due to abuse. They were removed from their families, yet they stood together with their parents in the face of justice. The denial was very strong. I also heard the story of the father of a friend of mine who was an educator. One day, he found himself confronted by a 6-year-old girl, very sexual, who lived alone with her father. Born from all these Dalva. I thought this little girl would be 12 years old, the age at which biological puberty comes, the age of first emotion.
The film comes after the crisis, after incest. Dalva has to write her own story, in order to be no longer her father’s writing character.
Yes, this is exactly the opposite of a coming-era, it has to come out of the imposed description. She has been living alone with her father for several years, she is out of school, she has no reference outside. No one loves her except her father, and no one loves her. Dalva, tenderness, sexuality, patriarchy, everything mixed. She needs to be taken away from her father so that she can come out of denial, re-fit her story, out of the dignity of the object of desire to become the subject of her own will.
Dalva is a teenager who sees herself as a woman. Outside as well as inside. For her, her place is with adults. There is a distortion when he finds himself in the oven. She doesn’t see herself as a child her age. This contrast made me very interested. This is an inconsistency that we find Canine [+lire aussi :
interview : Yorgos Lanthimos
fiche film] By Yorgos Lanthimos, even if the subject is quite different. It is also a story of influence and captivity, who have built themselves on what their parents told them. They discover that the earth is not like that.
Influence is someone who gives us a view of their world, which we bring together as if it were our own. When we get out of the grip, we realize that it was not our vision. There is something very cinematic about it. This femininity, apparently, we will be able to deconstruct it. We can implement deliverance from the hold.
Can we talk about the relationship with clothing, as a way to play a role and as a protection?
When Dalva comes to the fountain, she is dressed like a lady, an excellent lady. It was important to me that Dalva was not Lolita. There is no obscenity or pornography here, it was from the writing, I have done a lot of work with the costume designer. At first, Dalva thinks that her dress is part of her, it forms her identity. When she is asked to undress at the beginning of the film, it is horrible violence for her.
I wanted to say hollow incest, the submerged part of the iceberg, the way her father transformed her and how later, we want to transform her home again. I wanted to talk about incest, but couldn’t. I wanted to tell the next incident, where the hit is.
How did Dalva think of the way he occupied the screen?
Because we chose a 4/3 format Dalva A portrait. And then the picture speaks to the effect, the format had to be tight around the characters. Throughout the first part of the film, Dalva is present in almost every shot, and we get to see little of the rest of the world, which is often blurred. Little by little, the camera will open, become more mobile, find the faces of the young men of the house, whom we rarely see before.
A trigger to meet his father in prison. The conflict is violent, but it eventually frees him from his father’s story. Only his own words, his confession, can allow him to consider what will happen next. This is where he begins to look around, and not just behind him.
It’s weird, because it took me a long time to write the picture, and for a long time, meeting Dad didn’t exist. In my short film, the Executioner was never presented to the front. But I got stuck in my story. Dalver’s denial is so strong that only his father’s confession can get him out of this grip, die and be reborn.
What does this election represent in Cannes?
A great reward, which tells me that I had the courage to make the film when I gave birth to my first child, to do both at the same time. This is a first film, I’m not one, I don’t have a familiar cast, it’s about incest and influence. Even if it focuses on reconstruction, and it is quite sunny, the issue can still be a break. But the issue of incest really needs to be put on the children’s table. We cannot cure this disease without the knowledge of children. I will fight for the school screening of the film. If today two children in every class in France or Belgium are victims of incest, it is also because children do not understand why they love, they want to hurt them, if we do not talk to them about it.