Human Behavior Junkyard Dog by Jean-Baptiste DURAND
2024-05-05 11:45:00

In a small town of 2,000 inhabitants, in the south of France, two young men share a very peculiar friendship. In a horizon without a future, they spend their days together between small-town routines, fights, and jobs on the edge of legality until the appearance of a new person in town alters the lives and customs of the two friends.

The original title of the film is Chien de la casse (Junkyard Dog in English), which sounds really powerful.

The title evokes the relationship between the two friends—a master and a dog. It evokes unconditional love, obedience, submission, loyalty, etc.

In an interview, you said that cinema was not your first choice in the world of art, how did you become a film director? What attracted you to cinema instead of other artistic expressions?

Yes, I wanted to become an artist, a painter. I didn’t know I could make films. So I didn’t even dream about it! When I discovered it at the art school, thanks to some short courses in video and cinema, it was a revelation. I understood. I immediately fell in love with this art, which clusters so many things: writing, music, images, acting, sound, colors, composition, and rhythm. It was great to discover all of them. I loved making it and then seeing it.

Since this is a debut film that describes its environment and the relationships between its characters so well, there is always the temptation to ask how much of the story is autobiographical. Tell us something about this and how the film’s story came about.

There’s obviously something in it that’s inspired by my own experience. The relationships, the moods, and the characters in the film are fiction but may be inspired by a few friends, myself... But strictly speaking, it’s not an autobiographical film. It’s fiction, set in an arena I know well.

Many films in the history of French cinema depict youth and their problems, from Jean Vigo to François Truffaut and Jean Eustache and many others. Did you look for any kind of inspiration or guidance in other films, not just French ones?

No. I spoke of human relationships that interested me, of sensations, of a youth that moves me, of complexity, of nuance, but I confess that the desire for the film, or even the inspirations, were not guided by film references. The references are the ones I’m not aware of. But I was certainly guided by a few films! But also novels, philosophy, rap, discussions I’ve had... I put all that on the same footing.

The location plays an important part in the story. Where exactly does the film take place and what are the particularities of this town?

The village gave birth to the characters and their relationship, so the place is important. The film was shot in Le Pouget, a small village of 2,000 inhabitants in the Hérault valley (southern France).

Both your protagonist, Raphaël Quenard, and you were winners of the César awardsthe Best Male Revelation for Quenard and the Best First Feature for you. Is this kind of recognition important to you?

Of course, it’s an honor, and I hope to prove myself worthy of it in my future projects!

I read that you are already working on a new project, also set in the same area where Chien de la casse (Junkyard Dog) took place. Could you tell us something about this?

I’m working on a film called “The Man Who Was Afraid of Women.” It’s not set in the same village as Junkyard Dog, but yes, it will be shot nearby, in the same areas. But the location will be quite different. As for the project, the title says it all, so I need to say no more!

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