-Interview by Nic Brown-
Caroline Du Potet on the set of IN THEIR
Caroline Du Potet on the set of IN THEIR SLEEP
Nic - Caroline, your film IN THEIR SLEEP will be
released by IFC in the
Caroline - IN THEIR SLEEP is our
first feature film. It's a mix of horror, suspense and drama. It's
the story of
the meeting between two alone and disturbed people. A woman who lost
her son and a fragile, secretive young man who tries to escape a
mysterious assailant.... They are going to help each other and try
to survive a nightmare night....
Was it difficult getting IN
THEIR SLEEP released into the
Caroline - Yes, there are a lot
of films on the market but horror films and thrillers are in general
sell well around the world. TF1 International, which is in charge of
the international sales, showed the film to IFC, our
Nic - Interesting. But then thinking about it – many US comedies are remakes of French ones. I wonder why French audiences don’t tend to like horror – do they prefer more subtle material?
Caroline - Our comedies are not very subtle... :). There are French dark movies but above all there are dramas, as if the violence and the tragedies need to be justifed by a historical context or made as an intimist author film. Most of the French critics dislike thrillers or horror films which always receive bad reviews and are considered to be pale imitations of American films. We don't have a strong tradition of horror and frightening stories like in Spain for example.
Nic - You and your brother, Éric Du Potet, co-wrote and co-directed this film. What was it like working together to create it?
We know each other very well. We grew
with the same film influences. Before our feature, we made six short
films together, so it wasn't really a new experience for us.... We
try to discuss a lot together before the shooting in order to agree
on all the details and not contradict ourselves in front of the crew
and the actors.
Nic - How did you become interested in film?
Caroline - I've always loved
watching films. So has my brother. When I was young, I made short
films with my parents' camera. After high school, although nobody in
my family worked in the industry, I decided to study cinema in
Nic - What do you feel was the most challenging part of making IN THEIR SLEEP?
Caroline - Shooting conditions were very hard. My
greatest difficulties were the lack of time...and the weather. We
shot almost always during the night, in the forest, in the rain
(which was not planned in the script...)! Some special effects
didn't work very well and made the crew lose a lot of time. We
didn't have time to shoot all the shots we had planned. It
was always a race against the clock!
Caroline - It was an honor to
participate in the rare festival spotlighting genre female
filmmakers. There are few female genre directors, especially in
Caroline - Female filmmakers
don't experience the same barriers to entry in
Caroline - For IN THEIR SLEEP, our biggest influences were Sam Peckinpah with STRAW DOGS and John Boorman's DELIVERANCE. Like these films, we wanted to insist on the psychology of the characters. It was also important that the violence on the screen be realistic, without bloody effects.
Nic - You mention Sam Peckinpah's STRAW DOGS and John Boorman's DELIVERANCE. Both are excellent films that were considered very controversial during their day for some of their violent content. What are your thoughts on violence in movies, do you think today's films push the violence level too high?
Caroline - It depends on the film. Violence doesn't bother me if it's justified by the story or by the genre of the movie. In horror films, the audience is waiting for bloody scenes (even if the suggestion is sometimes more powerful...), but I am a little unsettled when I sometimes see today's action comedies with a high level of violence. It's gratuitous and I understand that some people could be shocked.
Caroline - I don't like this
trend because it's a sign of the lack of risk-taking and original
Nic - IN THEIR SLEEP was your first feature film. Do you have another in the works and if so, are you staying with the horror/thriller genre or will it be something else?
Caroline - We are currently
working on a new French project, a "Hitchcockian" thriller called
TOTEM. It will be more psychological than IN THEIR SLEEP. We'd like
to shoot it next year in the south of
Caroline - I would tell them to fight for making the film they want, whatever people say or think, and not to let them be pigeonholed in some kinds of films because they are women. But they'll have to work a lot, be patient, and never give up!