We are pleased to present an interview with French filmmaker Bruno François-Boucher. He is the producer/director of an independent feature film, Life Together, that was filmed in Paris. A component of the movie is an adaptation of the Dorothy Parker short story, “The Sexes.” The movie was shot in English and is currently in international film festivals.
I’d like to thank Bruno for taking the time to answer these five questions in English for us.
Q: “The Sexes” was written in 1927. Why is what Dorothy Parker wrote relevant today?
A: I think the concerns of Dorothy Parker in 1927 were the same as what we are hearing now. She was ahead of her time to denounce the machismo aspect of male identity and the belief that women are inferior to men. In the 20’s or today, women feel themselves less listened to in affective life, in the domain of emotions, feelings and so in everyday life. Women react differently from men. Women like things with more emotion. Dorothy Parker was astute enough to know that the cultural habits had to change. And she express it with great candor and great clarity in her writings. I met a lot of women who were intensely identified with Dorothy’s characters. Women empathize with them. The sentiments in this writings are as true today as they were last century.
Q: How did you come to choose this particular story to adapt? And why Parker?
A: I am very interested by women’s writings. I was brought up by women, my mother is a novelist, and for a long time I wanted to adapt a novel from Mrs Parker. The French actress Ségolène Point, she plays the role of the woman in the movie, told me about “The Sexes.” And we chose this short story because we have seen this happen time and time again with friends or in our own lives. Few women, in literature, have described the relation between men and women except George Sand and Dorothy Parker. And I was interested by the American view.
Q: Is there a part of The Sexes that you like the most, or enjoyed in the film?
A: I like very much the downturn in their situation, in the text and in the movie, when the man express his feelings to the woman. Suddenly he is small and fragile and we empathize with him. She drives him to change these stances and to express his feelings. I find this very beautiful.
Q: How did you select the cast, and what do they bring to the film?
A: I found it interesting to adapt this short story in Paris, France, today (the original story takes place in New York in 1927) and to adopt a modern approach. In my adaptation, the young man is a young black man, an American student in Paris who lives with a French young woman. I selected among American players in Paris. And when I met the actor Akil Wingate, who plays in action movies, he has never had an experience of this kind. His gentleness, his friendliness, were very interesting for the character. And I was not mistaken because he is perfect in the movie. For the character of the woman, Ségolène Point had played in my previous feature Letters of a Portuguese Nun, and she is very talented to express an inwardness. She is very close from Dorothy Parker’s spirit.
Q: When will the film be available to see internationally? Is it entered in film festivals?
A: Actually the movie is called Life Together, is shown in international festivals and I hope the audience will like it. The film is shot in English. In 2017 the movie will be shown on a web platform and then, of course, on YouTube.
Thank you for your time. And good luck to you and your cast. Visit the Life Together blog.