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Interview with Director Bo Mirosseni - Clermont-Ferrand film festival
Friday 6 February 2015, by
Where did the inspiration for Maniac come from?
I had stayed at that very hotel 6 months prior to filming the short. I was there for a commercial shoot and I was alone for one week while I waited for production to arrive. At first, I thought it was going to be very relaxing and a great place but soon I realised it was hell. There was one family when I was there that looked so happy and I was so alone and miserable. So I started working on the idea.
Have you ever spent your holidays in a luxury hotel, or worked in one as a seasonal worker?
I have never worked in a hotel. The only luxury hotels I stay at are the ones I visit when I travel for work.
At the beginning, Maniac shows the luxury hotel guest being asked about his origins, his roots. Why did you choose this as the opening sequence?
Often, when I travel to Europe it seems a lot of people want to know where I am from. I tell them I am American. But they continue to press where I am REALLY from. And I tell them I am American, from California from Los Angeles. Just because I don’t have blonde hair and blue eyes they think I am not American but it’s slightly racist ideology that comes from it sometimes, not always.
In order to create, do you sometimes seek loneliness?
It just depends on the situation. Travelling a lot for film shoots, you are alone a lot in hotels, so perhaps it is that way. But I never seek it out intentionally.
Do you think isolation can lead to boredom?
It’s hard to say. I think it depends on the person. Some people can amuse themselves very easily while others become bored instantly. In the age Internet, I think it’s harder to be bored.
Do you think there is more loneliness today than 50 or 100 years ago?
Definitely. Once again, it’s the age of Internet. People are on their phones, computers, and there is less human interaction, and more checking out Facebook, Instagram and blogs. I love the Internet. I am a huge fan. However, I do think it has made us more isolated.
In Maniac, your character is going to confront the rules, the way children do. In your opinion, why does he need to question them? Do you believe pushing the limits can be a source of happiness?
He gets to a point where in order to entertain himself he has to do things that are bizarre and unorthodox. Overrunning limits can often bring you happiness. Guess it depends on exactly what you’re doing. Also, the hotel has very strict rules, which creates some interesting conflict for the character. He can’t sleep in the lobby area and the woman kicks him out. Sometimes strict rules push people more in order break them.
Have you ever travelled to a city of wealth such as Los Angeles ? Have you heard of “gated communities”?
Yes! I am actually from Los Angeles and know about gated communities. They are very interesting. I always found it odd because if anyone wants to break in or break out they can. It’s not prison… Or maybe it is!
Maniac was produced in France. According to you, what does French production bring to short film that no other would?
It was actually shot in Spain but produced by Partizan, which is a French company owned by Michel Gondry and Georges Berman.