Cedric Klapisch, who made his directorial career with the hit L’Auberge Espagnole, has made a sort of sequel, Russian Dolls, which has an impressive ensemble cast (including Audrey Tautou and Ceclie De France) but which focuses on Roman Duris’ character, Xavier, and how he copes with life at 30.
The L Magazine: It’s fascinating to make a movie in multiple languages. Does that add any extra burden or advantage for you as a director? Cedric Klapisch: It’s not very difficult to mix the languages. What was difficult was to travel and to go to three countries, because we shot in London and in Paris and in St. Petersburg. And in terms of production, the complicated thing was to organize three shootings in three countries. I was mixing actors who have different languages — that’s ok as long as they speak English and can communicate.
The L: When you made the first film, did you think it would have a sequel? CK: No. Even after the first movie, L’Auberge Espagnole, I thought it was not a good idea to make a sequel, for almost a year after that. And I changed my mind. I was right to change my mind, because I found an idea for a story. I think the desire of working again with the actors and to do a follow up story with the fact that they’re five years older and to see the time passing between the two stories — all of that was interesting for me and gave me the desire to make another one.
The L: Every five years you want to try to do another? CK: I may. So I’m waiting five years. And I’ll speak with the actors in five years to see if it’s a good idea.
The L: Were you surprised at the success of the film and that it had such an international resonance? CK: I was surprised because I thought that the subject was not as broad as it was. Because for example the last one was really about Europe, and I thought that going to Montreal or New York or Japan wouldn’t really work that well. And I was wrong, and I was glad to be wrong. It speaks about being young, and what it means to travel when you’re young, so I think that concerns everyone, in fact, even if you’re old or from another country.
I think that more and more, life becomes more international and it’s true in America because you have the famous melting pot and people come from every country here. And it’s true now in Europe and almost all around the world. So people are used to mixed cultures and mixed languages, and to see how funny it is. It is not only complicated or dramatic, it is also a funny thing to see people having troubles who live together.
The L: In America, especially American TV, everything with love has to have a gimmick — some kind of a situation, like divorced husband who does a very strange job, or a strange scenario, like moving into a bourgeois neighborhood. French filmmakers show very matter-of-fact matters of life without gimmicks. CK: It’s always hard to compare what is American and what is French, but it’s true that we trust more simplicity or trust more normality or day-to-day life, and I think that in America, to make a movie, people think that it needs to be over dramatized — about a car accident or about divorce or about war or about the world being exploded by terrorists. And for me to wait in line in a bakery is already something interesting to tell. What seems unimportant can become important in a story, so that’s what I use in my stories where someone as unimportant as a gay man as a main character — I try to make him interesting, not because he’s not important, not special that his life is boring. My main goal is to try to make ordinary life interesting.