Monday, April 22, 2013


Horrifying an audience with the image of a blood-spattered woman surrounded by strips of her own mutilated flesh isn't difficult; to make a prolonged sequence of this the tender, transcendent - even romantic - climax of your film could only be accomplished by Marina de van. Even the dark films she wrote with and acted in for François Ozon (most notably the provocative short Regarde la mer) couldn't prepare anyone for In My Skin, De Van's harrowingly resonant directorial debut in which she plays a young woman who becomes fascinated with the essence of her physical body, ultimately discovering an aberrant kind of liberation through self-laceration and cannibalization. Fantastically, de van reveals the beauty in her character's decision to eviscerate herself piecemeal, presenting it as a way to establish a connection to her life and a release from the spiralling conventional world from which she finds herself exceedingly detached.
De van's penetrating second feature film Don't Look Back incisively identifies an intangible terror of the commonplace, in which the unreliable outward texture of things change - imperceptible to others, these shifting designs threaten the stable reality, and eventually the physical presence, of Sophie Marceau's mother of two. The discrepantly nurturing and dimishing nature of family was revisited in De Van's fairy tale adaptation Le petit poucet (featuring Denis Lavant as an ogre) and continues in Dark Touch, which opened the Tribeca film festival this past weekend. Involving the massacre of a provincial clan that may have been carried out by the inanimate objects of their happy home, De Van's new film suggests an even more sinister take on the altering pieces of furniture that daunted Marceau in Don't Look Back.

PINNLAND EMPIRE: In our previous Interview you mentioned that Dark Touch was partially about child abuse - Is part of the reason for making Dark Touch due to the lack of films about child abuse in France?

MARINA DE VAN: I don't know anything about this lack. I never paid attention to that. Anyway, I don't choose my stories looking at any objective need or lack about a subject in culture. I choose them because I'm inspired and touched by them; so that was the case with child abuse.

PE: Dark Touch seems like an appropriate (yet dark) title for this kind of film – Would you care to elaborate on the title of your new movie?

MDV: It's a good title, very subjective. I can't talk about the creative process about finding it though, because I wasn't the one who found the idea.

PE: Any particular influences (films, literature, music) for Dark Touch?

MDV: Not that I'm aware of.

Dark Touch
PE: Was it difficult for the lead child actress to work on a film like Dark Touch with such heavy subject matter?

MDV: I don't think so. There's a lot of action to be used as a base for expressing emotions by the actors so, as far as it is physical, it's easier to act. The child did well.

PE: All of your films tend to incorporate many different genres (noir, personal drama, existential horror, psychological thriller) – Is it your intention to combine multiple movies genres or do you like to be uncategorized as a filmmaker?

MDV: That's not important. I don't mind. But I don't work thinking about genre. I just tell stories, I don't work on codes or categories. And except Dark touch, I never shot a genre movie so far.

PE: Although Dark Touch is its own piece of work, it seems to combine elements from your previous films – the darkness of In My Skin & and the personal/family drama element of Don’t Look Back. Would you agree with this statement?

MDV: I don't know, it's a bit vague for me to agree or disagree.

PE: Do you fear that audiences & critics will misinterpret certain elements of your new film? If so – what elements of your new film do you worry will be misunderstood?

MDV: No, I have no peculiar fear.

PE: Was it difficult to get funding & distribution for Dark Touch?

MDV: Yes it was, because of the subject and because genre movies arent very welcome in France.

PE: Is it at all intimidating to be the opening film at The Tribeca Film Festival?

MDV: No, it's cool.

PE: Are there any particular films you’re looking forward to seeing this year?

MDV: I haven't read the program yet.

PE: Do you consider yourself an important & relevant female voice in cinema? (Not just French or European cinema, but cinema as a whole)

MDV: I don't think about me nor as important nor as being a female director or creating as a female. I create as myself, not as a sample of sexual or social identity. Every director is different. There's not two classes of director, males and females. For me, this idea is stupid.

PE: Are there any ideas forming for a NEW Marina De Van film after Dark Touch?

MDV: I'm still working on it.

On set of "Dark Touch" at Gothenburg Film Studios from Gothenburg Film Studios on Vimeo.


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