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BREAKFAST AVEC LA FUGUE - Clermont-Ferrand 2014
Wednesday 19 February 2014, by
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Interview with Jean-Bernard Marlin, director of La fugue.
Sabrina, your main character, is mentored by a case worker. The depiction of social work and young people’s attitudes are particularly realistic. Have you worked in this field? What steps did you take to paint this world so accurately?
I had spent some time with young people at risk and their case workers in legal advice centres. This is work I undertook in just over a year and I made sure the film depicted what I saw and felt there.
Can you explain all the legal steps and why rehabilitation efforts are undertaken before the sentence is passed?
A legal case can take a long time to unfold. It can take months from the time of the crime to reach a sentence. This educational work is thus undertaken during this period.
In La Fugue, Sabrine is judged more on her behaviour towards the Judge than she is on her actions. Would you have been able to make a similar film had her actions been much more serious?
No, Sabrina is judged on her actions at that moment but also on previous offences. Her case is being assessed in light of these previous offences. This is why the Judge is so strict; her behaviour, her churlish attitude during the trial are essential in revealing to what extent she is in denial.
From the start of the film, you manage to create a feeling of uncertainty. It is impossible for us to predict Sabrina’s reactions. How did you work with the actress, the script and the editing to achieve this?
Indeed, I felt this climate of uncertainty when I was working with these young people and I wanted to reproduce it in La Fugue. I wanted the audience to get this feeling from the film. I made Sabrina unpredictable when I was writing the script. And when we were shooting I really pushed Médina Yalaoui, the actress who plays Sabrina, to become more unpredictable in her reactions to the script.
The DOP was also directed like an actor. He had to expect the unexpected when filming. We then re-wrote it with the editor to include this element.
The sentencing of minors sits uneasily between punishment and rehabilitation. When do you think the legal system should lean towards one over the other? Would you think punishment is sometimes a solution? Or does it lead to the minors re-offending?
Punishment is never a good solution but from what I’ve seen, the legal system in this country is very careful not to rush things when it comes to incarcerating minors. Educational alternatives are always preferred but when the crimes committed are very severe, the response is difficult and sometimes incoherent. The educational approach is then curtailed by a sudden incarceration. La Fugue portrays this.
More on the film in Télérama: