Social hygiene: a desire for elegance

After the virtual Berlin Festival, where it won the Best Director award in the Encounters section, and premiered at the Rendez-vous Québec Cinéma, it is also in an epidemic setting (“It was a little on the hotspot, but it was the first time in 14 months that I had presented a film to the audience!” Determines), Denis Cotet, Stakhanovest of the Quebec Cinema, author of 13 films in 14 years, presented his new film, Social hygiene. A unique movie in which the paintings follow each other in the heart of nature, where the tone is deliberately playful as much as it is theatrical, and where the rare characters (a man, performed by Maxim Judit, and five women) speak with elegance and anachronism of love, money, from God … we met the director That movie was filmed in the midst of an epidemic, last summer.

Social Hygiene, by Denise Cote Image: inspiration and leader

The film project has been around since 2015, after reading Robert Walser. Can you tell us about this author?

Denise Cote : Everyone seems to want to pull the movie toward a pandemic-related project, but it is true that it was written and named this way in 2015! The General Delegate of FidMarseille (Film Festival) offered me Walser books for my birthday. I didn’t know the author and ate five or six of his books in two months! Social hygiene, If it is not quoted from his work, then it is close to his style. Everyone talks in an amazing way, the characters’ notes change daily, but without being cranky.

He’s a writer who is able to write three pages on a lady sitting on a park bench and that’s fun! His books make me feel like I’m looking at the world out from the side! And they made me dive into an immortal bubble, unrelated to the day, but very elegant. Maybe you’re a reaction to the cinema you’ve seen, particularly in Quebec, where you get the impression that all dialogues have to include a coronation or two.

I aroused a craving for style, but shortly thereafter, during a four-week stay in Sarajevo as I spent every morning in the city’s only non-smoking café, I refreshed my readings, with no idea of ​​writing a script or story. It was almost automatic typing. When I got back, I put everything in a drawer, never reread it, and real life resumed its course. But in May 2020, in the worst of the pandemic, actress Larisa Corivo asked me if I had nothing in my boxes, because the actors wanted to play. I thought about this text.

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A man (Maxim Judit) and a woman in a field far away from each other.
Social Hygiene, by Denise Cote Image: inspiration and leader

Surprisingly, social distancing was predicted from project conception in 2015.

Capital : The word did not exist! The dialogues were very intimate and if I had treated them in a realistic and social way I could have made a movie in the kitchen or living room but I was looking for cinematic ideas to kill the side. kitchen sink. It gave people shouting at each other so intimate, who they are into Arid landFar From Camera, very theatrical material, but with a sound world created for every little engraving. It was all driven by the desire to kill the play and do something cinematic, and the idea to walk away came from there.

Two women (Yves Duranso and Evelyn Rombury) in vintage clothes, in Medan.
Social Hygiene, by Denise Cote Image: inspiration and leader

Traditions are flagged, the device is locked, and yet we have the feeling that it is your funniest movie, perhaps even the most personal, cinematic in any case, as if these restrictions liberated something.

Capital : I love restrictions! We have no money, we have four days, and we have no right to this or that, let’s play! It always delights me a lot and does not match the rhetoric of other filmmakers who always want more money because they associate budget with freedom. Me, the more I got, the more I felt I had no right to try things! The editorial side of these projects is invaluable to me.

I’ve never gone on a TV show, I’ve never filmed something I’m not interested in, and I’ve never commissioned it. At 47 years old, as far as I can remember, these were my first scripts as a film critic and I was really free. I enjoy complete freedom from the start, and making movies like this takes me back to the energy that makes me fit for the next one.

Additionally, these are movies (CorpsesAnd the WilcoxAnd the Social hygiene…) that is quickly transformed and thought out, and I have to learn to fit it in. Vic + Flo or The Lost City GuideI call them dead movies. I thought of them, turned them, brought them out, mastered them, I know how to talk about them. They are made. But the other films are still fresh, because I didn’t get it yet. I find them more alive. Talk about H.Social hygieneI find it exciting, because I don’t know where I got it in me yet!

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A man (Maxim Judit) has his hands crossed in a tall grass.
Social Hygiene, by Denise Cote Image: inspiration and leader

You make your character say that he has a romantic and idealistic vision of cinema. And you?

Capital : It is true that when he says that cinema is the bridge between reality and what the world can be, I am somewhat hidden, because I interact with realist social cinema. I am giving it up more and more. I have a lot of problems with universe cinema, and science fiction, with worlds made entirely in the style of Wes Anderson or Tim Burton. I do not communicate, but at the same time I reject social realism. I am looking for a middle ground. What interests me is how to relate documentary and fiction, how to reread and compare genres, how to destroy and reconstruct a story, and how to make sure that I do not create cinema by consensus.

I always maintained this idea, even as I got older, that I wouldn’t be able to make a great movie for everyone, which unites. I don’t like the word excitement But I always have to piss someone off in the room! I know it’s okay when people walk out of the showroom.

I’d always prefer a good movie conversation with someone who hates my movie over a flood of love. I can’t find any masterpiece in my filmography, but I think it’s like a closet of curiosity. It is a mixture of craftsmanship, immaturity, and the desire to make work.


Social hygiene, In theaters May 14th. Trailer (Source: YouTube)

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