A style as pure and simple as possible
Interview with Jean-François Laguionie on his Animated Feature nominee LOUISE BY THE SHORE
What is LOUISE BY THE SHORE about and what was the initial motiviation / idea?
It was a simple idea, already told as a short story that I wanted to film in “live action” as a short film in 1982. Being pretentious, I even thought of offering the role to Jeanne Moreau…! Years passed, but then this story imposed itself onto me again, as I am getting closer to the age of the character.
Can you explain how you came up with the style and look of your film and the kind of animation you used?
For a story as straightforward as this, I also wanted a picture style as pure and simple as possible. The 3D technology now allows to animate in a very gentle way and makes you forget that it is a sophisticated technique. That’s a big progress!
What were the main challenges in adapting your own novel?
The challenge was shared with my producer Jean-Pierre Lemouland: making a story real that concerns everybody and not only an audience of children … I had already tried this adventure with my first feature-length film GWEN ET LE LIVRE DE SABLE in 1984. Back then, it was difficult for the distributor. Yet another progress!
What kind of audience did you have in mind?
We hoped that a film of this genre, with its poetic inclination, about a subject close to us, on a less shivery rhythm, would reach a different audience. That’s what happened and we are very happy about it.
How did you choose Dominique Frot as the voice of Louise?
I chose Dominique Frot when I discovered the talent and seriousness she could give to this role. It was a great encounter, both for Louise and for me!
Who do you consider your influences?
With the exception of Paul Grimault who made me discover animation, and the art of animation in animated short films from central Europe, my influences have always rather been from theatre. LOUISE BY THE SHORE could also be a text for theatre, by the way…
How has animation in general and your personal style changed since you started out in the 1960s?
Since those years, my work has developed a bit „on the edge“ of the general evolution of animation. My wish has always been to favour the story over graphic style. The latter could develop mainly thanks to the artists I worked with during all those years. I owe them a lot…!