Filmmaker Q&A: Pierre Sabrou (Goes Without Saying)
"Why this film? Because we wanted to say something..." Pierre Sabrou and his team told a story with their film Goes Without Saying and they did it without saying a word. Their "silent" film won Best Comedy at our 2017 Summer Season.
Tell us about you. What makes you tick? What keeps you up at night?
I love life. And I wake up every day thinking how lucky we are to live, and how wonderful it is to be living in this world. It is not perfect, of course, but there are so many things to do, and so many people to meet…
Why films? And why this film?
Why films? Because it’s an intelligent, incredible way to praise life, and one that’s full of resources. It’s a blend of many different mediums - photography, sounds, stories, painting, light, music people - that all converge to do a simple thing: make a total stranger laugh or think. Do you know anything else that’s as marvellous as this?
Why this film ? Because we (the writer and I) wanted to say something. Something very important : sometimes, in life, it just goes without saying. We always try to put words on what we feel, we make simple things complicated, and it ruins the moment. We have a lack of authenticity today. So we just wanted to tell a simple story, about simplicity. The brillant idea of using the language of silent short films of the 1920s (that of Yseult Renard, the writer) was just perfect to illustrate these thoughts. How can a silent character react in front of a world where everybody speaks? Can someone understand him? Can he still love? Can he still make people laugh?
What happened behind the scenes on this one? Did you have a budget? Were there dramas, near-misses or secret flings between cast & crew? Give us the goss!
We had a very little budget because it was a student film, self-produced. And that was the beauty of it: it all worked out fine thanks to the determination and passion of everyone in the team, and of people of the village; We shot at Gouaix, in Seine-et-Marne, France, and all the inhabitants wanted to help us. One brought us a milk pot, another one a horse drawn carriage, or even a horse. The museum of Montois, thanks to Mr Delaveau,gave us a lot of props, costumes, and advices about the 1920s. Everyone was helping us and believed in the project. It was amazing! It wasn’t the first time i shot a movie, but it was the best filming I've ever had. Thanks to my incredible team and my actors ! I just love them.
And if you want an anecdote (sorry, no love affair even if I don’t know about all that happened on mobile homes) : when we had just finished shooting the scene at the washing place, our script supervisor Louis was so happy that he carried the assistant director, Emily, and threw her into the water. It was difficult not to laugh, but she ended up laughing too. So, out a sympathy for her, nearly everyone in the team threw themselves in the water too ! It was a very fun memory.
When your dreams have all come true in five years time, where will we find you and what will you have made?
I will have made one or two feature films. A lot of prices. A lot of fans. Money and fame. More seriously, I work now on a psychologic drama mixing contemporary danse and cinema. A difficult subject, but a very interesting one. And after that, maybe a project an animated short ? There are so many things to do !
What's the best advice you've been given?
The best advice I was very given was: "Film!". Film anything, anytime. Be proud of your mistakes, and film again. And again. And again. That’s the passion i try to give to young filmmakers like me, who sometimes asks me how they can start making movies.
I tell them : don’t bother with : "What will people think of me?", "How can I convince my friend? My parents?" "I’m not sure I have things to tell", "There are so many people who can do better than me!" You have a life, so you have things to tell. You are you, so you have a unique point of view. You are the best at telling your point of view on the world. And you are so interesting! Don’t hesitate, don’t lose your time wondering. Try things, it so simple to make a film, even alone, even with a cellphone.
You will do a lot of mistakes, maybe you will be ashamed of what you have done and hide it in a closet for a hundred years. That’s okay ! We all have our closet. But you will have done something, and you will be proud of yourself. You will have made films! So take your camera and do it again. And guess what? It will be amazing!