What is your goal as a filmmaker? That's hard to answer, but it's a good question, and I wonder about it all the time. I think before Intouchables, it was simply to make an impact on people, emotionally. There's also a link with death, in that I'd like to leave a mark from my existence. My goal now is to show and to demonstrate that we can have beautiful cinema with comedy, with audacity. France is in a very special period right now, and the Césars showed it very well this year. In the field of cinema, there is a new wave of filmmaking. In the '80s and '90s, it was all about your pitch and your concept. I was uncomfortable with all that, because for me, a movie is everything but a pitch. You can't sum up your goal in a pitch. Thank god this period is disappearing slowly, because all the recently successful movies in France had terrible pitches. The Artist is a very bad pitch. It's a black and white movie, without dialogue, and it's just a love story. Shit. Ok, I want to do a movie about a quadriplegic guy who meets a guy from the projects. Out. Polisse, as well, which is about the police in the child protective unit in France. All these movies have one thing in common: big success, and no pitch. My goal is . . . I want to touch people through film, and I want to change the world!
No small feat! Like Obama! No, but really, without meaning to, we changed the perception of the handicapped world in France. If it only happens for me once, I will be happy.
What are your hopes for Les intouchables in the US? I'm not expecting anything, because we have already received so much for this movie. Really, I will be honest with you, the American audience is the hardest to convince, because you have the biggest cinematic industry in the world. We are always referencing the States in our movies, so we obviously hope to win over the audiences here.
Do you think French cinema is moving away from that, and coming into its own? I hope so, but we can't know yet. I think, and this is only my opinion, but I think a new movement is starting everywhere. We're on the edge of producing prequels, and sequels, and focusing on one story. Even in France, it's the independent American movies that we love. Cinema is an art, and the risk is a part of it. When you only do prequels and sequels, there is no risk, so there is no cinema. When we were in Los Angeles, we heard over and over, "We've been waiting for a movie like this." Me! In Hollywood? Impossible. But it's true, and I think a change is coming.