interview with the Boukherma brothers

While the two Lot-et-Garonne residents have crossed the Atlantic coast for a few days, where the film was shot, “Sud Ouest” was able to talk to the young directors for a series of previews.

How do you approach the filming of a movie like “The Year of the Shark” after “Jaws” that is unmatched in shark movies?

The idea was to return to our first loves. We grew up watching genre movies, of which “Jaws” is obviously one of them. We wanted to bring a monster of the American imagination to our Southwest to make it our own. The idea was not to make a pastiche, but to use the figure of the shark, which we find in a whole underground culture of B-movies. We seize this monster and we put it at the service of a film that speaks of our time and our region. We create the shock between this character and Southwest, with people who are not all professional actors, in the service of a genre comedy. We create a gap between this ultra-famous American monster and the people of the Southwest, that was the first desire.

And then there was also the idea that by making a shark movie today in 2022, that is, by having an intruder appear in a society and who is going to cause everyone’s anger, it was also a detour for us to talk about Covid, with the confinement, the forced closures of certain establishments… The shark forced us because this animal sent us back to the Covid virus, a threat that drags on, blind and unconscious. Make a shark appear today, it doesn’t have the same scale as it did in 1975 [date de sortie des « Dents de la mer », NDLR] because it also talks about the news that people are directly confronted with, such as the changing ecosystem of the Mediterranean, with fish coming from the South Seas and the arrival of jellyfish by the thousands.

What do you like about genre films?

When we were kids, our mom read us Stephen King stories. Very, very early on, we bathed in an imaginary world of monsters, and we really liked that because we grew up in Lot-et-Garonne, in a very rural area, where we were very bored. The possibility of the monster was something that was quite exciting for us. And very very quickly, when we watched horror movies, we imagined these creatures populating the landscape around Port-Sainte-Marie.

After all, what we like about genre cinema is that it takes a detour to talk about society. What we like is not to be frontal and use metaphors to talk about things that are very real. And then it allows you to create a very powerful fictional universe right away. What we like when we make films is to talk about the Southwest, but about an offbeat Southwest that is not the one filmed with naturalistic material. On the contrary, we like that it is a real fictional universe that can make you travel. The genre is instrumental in getting into a story. We grew up with Stephen King and his Maine [l’État des États-Unis où vit l’auteur et où se déroulent de nombreuses de ces histoires, NDLR] a small alternative with fictional cities, so we don’t really want Stephen King to make our parallel Lot-et-Garonne.

Marina Foïs plays Maja, a retired policeman who tries to catch a shark that haunts the Atlantic coast, aided by Blaise (Jean-Pascal Zadi) and Eugénie (Christine Gautier).

The Joker’s movie

The cinema allows us to fulfill this childhood dream of bringing monsters to the Southwest

And exactly how did this Southwest, this Lot-et-Garonne, shape you and turn you into filmmakers?

When we were small, we had a bad relationship with the southwest. We were really bored, like many country kids. And we had to leave the Southwest very quickly. The first thing we wanted to do after matriculation was to run away and leave our country past behind us. But what happened is that as soon as we arrived in Paris and we started writing stories, we automatically wrote them in the Southwest. We realized that everything brought us back there, that Paris had become our daily life and that we can’t put fiction there because it brings us back to real life and our routine. Suddenly, our imaginations developed through our memories of this southwest where we had grown up. And quite naturally, our stories, we anchor them in that region because that’s what we’ve known, and we have the impression of knowing how to talk about it more easily, since the people of the Southwest, that’s our family, those are the ones we see as soon as we get back on vacation. We are steeped in it.

Is it a goal to one day shoot a film in Lot-et-Garonne?

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