Your name is very interesting – Rebecca Myriam Clara Zlotowski – for someone with French citizenship, can you give me a little of your background?
Well, my father was born in Poland and my mother was born in Morocco, but I was born and raised in France. Actually, I see that I have just one nationality. As Jewish Poles, we do not have a lot of family left in Poland, and so I was not raised with the Polish culture at all. In fact, the most interesting aspect of my childhood would be Judaism maybe. But actually, I feel 100% French.
You have directed two feature-length films, Belle Epine and Grand Central. But you have also done a lot of writing for various types of films – do you prefer writing to directing?
You know, I was in the script department in school, and so I never touched a camera before I made my first film. This is something pretty rare in France – but I had the chance to have a very trusting producer in Belle Epine. Actually, I love them both! (laughs). As a director, I feel that writing is one of the most important aspects of the work; I don’t see cinema as a pyramid, where at the top you have the director.
The film coming to Kyiv, Grand Central, features a nuclear power plant. Ukraine has a special relationship with nuclear power – were you at all conscious of Ukraine’s history with Chornobyl when writing the script?
I was born in the 80s and so the first encounter I had with nuclear power was Chornobyl, because it was such a world event. Unfortunately, there was another trauma – Fukishima. We started writing the script maybe six or seven months before this disaster, but when it happened, it was like a confirmation that we had to do something with this subject. Maybe we would have had difficulties making the film before because as a topic it was not that sexy, but after Fukishima and the collective consciousness surrounding it, people were more interested.
There are a number of risks the characters in Grand Central take – is that your secret to a good film, risk-taking?
I really have a strong desire to see people in danger, and I feel that danger and the proximity of death is a high factor of sexiness. Maybe it’s because I have a very libidinous link to those situations – I think that love and death are very closely connected. So when I set up characters in a situation of danger and risk, it brings something to the film that is really intense.
You have been called one of “France’s brightest, most serious-minded young helmers” by critics – what do you make of such praise?
Don’t believe them!
Are you superstitious?
Not that much. Although, I think that luck is something important in making a film – you can have everything, but if you don’t have that amount of luck that you need, that we all need not to have a catastrophe on the set, you cannot do anything with your film. So, I’m not superstitious, but I do believe in luck, and I believe I have been lucky.
Evenings Of French Film
Tickets: 50hrv, 70hrv – opening night
Kyiv Cinema (V Vasylkivska 19)
Les Beaux Jours (Best Days Ahead) (tragicomedy, France, 2013, 94’)
Director: Marion Vernoux
Many see retirement as a bullet, crippling their former active life. But Carolina sees things in a different light: she enjoys new experiences and violates every rule when she begins a torrid romance with a young teacher.
23 January at 19.00, 26 January at 21.00
Elle s’en va (On My Way) (romance, France, 2013, 116’)
Director: Emmanuelle Bercot
A former beauty queen and owner of an aging provincial bistro is on the brink of ruin, amid a failed relationship. Unable to withstand the stress, she embarks on a journey through France with an unexpected companion.
24 January at 19.00, 27 January at 21.00, 28 January at 19.00
Grand Central (romance, France/Austria, 2013, 94’)
Director: Rebecca Zlotowski
Gary is a capable but capricious young man, who rarely makes promises and does everything on the fly. His carefree lifestyle, however, is interrupted when he decides to take a job at a nuclear power station. Among the reactors, in an atmosphere of intense radioactivity, he finds everything he was looking for: money, a close-knit team, a family. Here he meets Carol, the fiancé of a colleague. Forbidden love and radiation slowly poison him. Every day poses a new threat.
24 January at 21.00, 25 January at 19.00, 29 January at 19.00
9 Mois Ferme (9 Month Stretch) (romantic comedy, France, 2013, 82’)
Director: Albert Dupontel
The story’s heroine – a strong woman, respected judge and workaholic, who learns she is pregnant, which comes as a bit of a shock as she doesn’t remember having relations with any men in the most recent past. After a little investigation, she learns the father of her unborn child is a notorious criminal sadist, whom she pursues with a vengeance.
25 January at 21.00, 26 January at 19.00, 29 January at 21.00
Un chateau en Italie (A Castle in Italy) (tragicomedy, France, 2013, 104’)
Director: Valeria Bruni Tedeschi
Louise’s dreams had long faded when she receives newfound hope in the form of the handsome Nathan. Meanwhile, as love begins to blossom, a family of Italian industrialists strive to persevere in uncertain times.
27 January at 19.00, 28 January at 21.00
* films shown are in their original language with Ukrainian subtitles
by Lana Nicole