Yann Samuell, director of “La guerre des Lulus”, premiere in Bayeux: “These are extremely topical issues”

The film “La guerre des Lulus” will be previewed on Friday 9 December 2022 at the Méliès in Bayeux. National release on Wednesday January 18th. ©Thibault Grabherr / Superprod – Wild Bunch – Les films du Lizard – Bibidul Productions.

Yann Samuell, director of the film “La guerre des Lulus”, what did you like about the comic series of the same name?

As I read, I saw the full range and depth of the characters conveyed in this story about brotherhood, about breaking down borders, breaking down the fear of the other. These are hot topics. I liked the idea of ​​these orphans owning nothing. They are being built while the world is being destroyed as there is war. I found that reversing the two statements was an interesting way.

They point out that it’s still relevant…

More than ever. Being afraid of the other, being careful, always being afraid, that’s a bit of what we’re doing at the moment. To be able to reach out, rebuild a heart family, move forward and grow in an increasingly chaotic world speaks volumes today.

Do you feel close to your family?

Yes of course. For me family is very important. I started a big family with my wife. We have five children. It’s something very important. While preparing the film, I suddenly wondered why this film seemed so important to me, and I remembered. There is a fairly famous photo from the liberation of Paris where we see a child being carried by American soldiers on tanks driving through Paris. I remembered that little child was my father. In telling the story of children during the war, I was also telling a family story.

What did you want to emphasize in the film? What was your priority?

I wanted to put a human story first, tell a world through a child’s eyes. It was important to me to show this childlike resilience, this ability to reinvent yourself. Despite terrible things, as soon as they have the opportunity, they go bravely and full of poetry, full of imagination. It is the essence of childhood: reinvent yourself, rebuild yourself. I found it very nice to tell.

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Do you have any memories of the cast? Did you find all the children easily?

It’s always a long process. Make no mistake. Children usually have no experience. They might have taken little acting lessons from right to left, but nothing that gives them the scale of a project like this, with three months of prep, four months of filming, stunts, explosions… So we really had to find kids who, keep under whatever the circumstances, there is character in them that they can do it and that builds a family that we really believe in the connections that they have between them. Those were my two main goals. Of course it’s long. I have a casting team specializing in children, with whom I make all films with children. I think once the adaptation was announced we got 6,000 nominations. Then we pass tests, we do workshops, we meet, we bring people back and it gets refined over time.

Did you have any film references about children confronting the horrors of war?

There is The kingdom of the sun by Steven Spielberg of course and goodbye kids by Louis Malle. There are many. I didn’t want to make a teaching film. I wanted it to remain a real adventure film, carried by a very dynamic rhythm and an aesthetic relatively close to comics. I didn’t want a leaden film. Despite the constant laughing and crying, I wanted it to remain a film with great cinematic spectacle.

You directed a 2011 adaptation of The War of the Buttons. Was that instructive as a director?

It was a very interesting shoot, very instructive, above all very enjoyable. It’s so nice to work with children. They are always ready, available, sources for suggestions at any time. It was very promising as a director.

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Your first feature film was Children’s Games with Guillaume Canet and Marion Cotillard? Even though the story was different, there was still the pleasure of dissecting the feelings that permeate childhood, right?

Yes completely. And another theme that shines through in a lot of my films is the transference, between adulthood and childhood or between childhood and adulthood, and how each other and each other in some.

I don’t feel like making children’s films or for children. I feel like I’m making films about transference, about ‘have I been true to myself? ‘, ‘When I grow up, will I be the role model they offer me? or “As an adult, am I still the same person I was when my head was full of promises?” “.

Are you still asking yourself this question?

Oh yeah ! It’s terrible! (laughs) I think it would be quite interesting for a lot of people to ask the question. That is the whole aim of therapy, of psychoanalysis. It reaches the inner child. I think that’s a question everyone needs to ask themselves, absolutely.

Is cinema your psychoanalysis?

Total.

Preview of the film “La guerre des Lulus” by Yann Samuell on Friday December 9, 2022 at 8:30 p.m. at Le Méliès cinema, 12 rue Genas Duhomme in Bayeux, in the presence of director Yann Samuell, designer Vincent Hardoc , actor Mathys Gros, producer Éric Boquého and distributor Quentin Paquet. Duration: 1 hour 49. Advance sales possible. Autograph session at the Metropolis bookshop, 10 rue Saint Malo, in Bayeux, on Saturday 10 December at 11am

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