Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterthur 2022. Short Talk with Alexandre Schild

Born in 1999 in Geneva, Switzerland, Alexandre Schild is a self-taught writer and director. He directed his first short film in 2018 and went on to direct music videos for various artists. His short film “Lettres en ton nom” (2021) was produced by Tell Me The Story and was presented at various festivals and on national television (RTS). 

At this year’s Internationale Kurzfilmtage Winterhur, Tara Karajica talks to Alexandre Schild about the short form and his latest short film “Cyril & Louise,” that had its world premiere at the festival.

What made you want to become a filmmaker?

Alexandre Schild: The films I watched as a teenager. I was fascinated by the emotion that some of them made me experience and so I wanted to transmit mine. Cinema offers the possibility to touch so many other arts like music, photography, sound, costumes, etc. The combination of all these arts seduced me directly and I felt that cinema was the medium that corresponded to me the most to convey my stories. 

How did Cyril & Louise come about?

A.S.: The desire to write and make Cyril & Louise came after a relationship I had. I wanted to portray two teenagers, on the brink of adulthood, who are at a crossroad in their relationship.

In Cyril & Louise, you tackle the last moments of a first love between two adolescents who are about to experience their first breakup, but also the emotions, desires, possession, jealousy that are not the same at the end of a relationship. Can you elaborate on that?

A.S.: I wanted to put in images these last moments of a relationship, moments that we cannot consider at the time as the last ones. Also, to show that the desires of two people in a couple, and in particular Louise in this story, are not necessarily the same as at the beginning of the relationship. They have evolved and their expectations are not the same. Jealousy, possession are also witnesses of the confinement that we can have in a couple. Sometimes, when we love, we have to let go. 

Even though it’s about adolescent love, I think the feelings are the same at every age; breakup feelings are universal and ageless. Would you agree?

A.S.: Yes, I think these feelings are universal. But in adolescence, first love makes the emotions even more magnified. Since it’s the first time we experience them, it makes them unique. Even if love remains the same when you are an adult, the experience of life makes us react perhaps with more distance when it comes to our relationships. For me, the purity of love in adolescence is incredible. 

Your film also invites us to reflect on love in the 21st Century. Can you comment on that?

A.S.: The film is immersed in an imprecise temporality. I did not want to situate the story of the film in a precise time. I wanted to speak about this love story in the purest way to bring out only the feelings. It is an almost political desire to speak about love, to advocate for love in an absolute way. And, I think that this desire came to me with the time in which I live, and where the romanticism has no place anymore. The 21st century is defined by speed, change, technological news, social networks etc. With Cyril & Louise, I wanted to freeze time. 

The aesthetic of the film is singular, it was shot on 16mm, which makes the story even more raw, but also allows the viewer to be even more immersed in this love story. Can you expand on this particular visual choice?

A.S.: Yes, it’s a choice that came from the writing of the script, and that was confirmed during the first discussion I had with the DOP, Tara-Jay Bangalter, who had the same desire as me. Indeed, the 16mm film allowed us to make the image as raw, as authentic as possible. We also decided to keep the frame edge of the film to have the most vivid and as real an image as possible. The 16mm film also made it possible to accompany the immersion into an outdated time. 

Can you talk about the shooting process of the film?

A.S.: The shooting process was very dense. I wrote the story and decided to self-produce the film to make it as fast as possible. So, we had a small budget and only three days of shooting. It was very intense, we shot in the middle of December entirely outside. It was very cold, we had a snowstorm at one point, which made us late. Many scenes are shot at night in the forest, which was not necessarily the easiest for the technical team. The extras for the party scene, who were friends of mine, had to come and dance in the mud for a whole night. 

What is your opinion of the short form today? How is the situation in Switzerland?

A.S.: The short film is a very nice way to express yourself. It is also the perfect tool to try things out, to make mistakes, to experiment, to build one’s universe, to develop one’s realization more quickly than on longer formats. Apart from the form of learning, the short film is a unique format – many stories have to be told in a short time. The opportunities to shoot in Switzerland are good, there is a whole new generation of young filmmakers that is emerging and it is very beautiful. I think that Swiss cinema will continue to evolve well in the coming years and will be able to develop unique projects and offer new perspectives. 

What are your next projects?

A.S.: I will be shooting my new short film, Le Dernier Soleil, next year. I am also currently writing my first feature film. 

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