“I’m not sure that ‘to be in love’ is easy to translate into work”, says French film director Jean-Julien Chervier in our interview about what inspires and influences him.
What do you do?
I’m a director and a screenwriter.
Why did you choose this path?
Because of my cinema addiction since I was 12 years old! I wasted my time watching movies, writing film reviews and little scripts.
Who has influenced your work as an artist?
I’ve been in love with François Truffaut, Jean Eustache, Bertrand Blier and Ernst Lubitsch’s movies forever. Also with Marguerite Duras’ books and Serge Gainsbourg’s songs! But I’m not sure that ”to be in love” is easy to translate into work. I think their movies, books and songs taught me how to live. And life is my main source when I’m writing. So, when I was younger, I was much more influenced by art works than I am now, at 40!
Can you mention some specific art works that you think are somehow related to your body of work? What are the similarities? Differences?
One movie, ”Mes petites amoureuses” by Jean Eustache I discovered on TV when I was a child and I watched it a lot of times since. It is one of the movies that has influenced me the most: because of the themes – childhood, family, sexuality, learning about love – and because of the direction (image editing, actor directing…).
In very different ways, Eustache and Bertrand Blier taught me a sense of comedy, triviality and transgression in dialogues and situations.
Do you think about these influences from other artists in your daily work? Do you try to incorporate them in your work?
I don’t really try to incorporate influences from other artists in my work… It’s just impossible and the best way to be infertile! The most important and difficult thing is to find my own way and quality as an author. Watching movies, listening to music, people’s stories, going to museums, reading newspaper articles and travelling as much as I can is really stimulating. All of that, mixed with my own obsessions, influence me daily and give me raw material for writing my stories.
What does it mean to you to be ”under the influence”?
Perhaps to have ”the taste of others”, to be open to what we don’t understand at once!
About Jean-Julien Chervier
After studying Art at the Sorbonne, Jean-Julien Chervier hosted and programmed a radio show devoted to cinema on the Aligre FM. In the programme, he received many directors, producers and distributers of French independent cinema, and from these meetings arouse the opportunity to collaborate on the feature film “Julie est amoureuse” directed by Vincent Dietschy, with Anne Ny and François Chattot.
This experience led Jean-Julien to shoot his first independent short film, “Schoolboy’s prayer”, about the desires of an eleven-year-old boy. The film received the Beaumarchais Prize and was distributed in theatres along with Sebastien Lifshitz’s “Corps ouverts”. Since then, Jean-Julien has directed several short films and co-written and co-directed both short and feature films. His films often deal with themes of sexuality and the hunt of something essentially human and fragile, disguised as desire.
At the moment, Jean-Julien is developing a feature film; a comedy about French politics and identity questions.