ND/NF Discovery: Caroline Deruas’ “The Children of the Night” (France)

Posted by Michael Gibbons on 3.16.2012

The Children of the Night
Above: a still from The Children of the Night.

We continue our profiles of New Directors/New Films (March 21-April 1) discoveries with Caroline Deruas from France. Her short film The Children of the Night, which takes place in the aftermath of the Second World War in France, is playing in Shorts Program 1. [Buy tickets here]

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Caroline Deruas

This is a picture of me from two months ago in Rome, where I’m living this year for a residence of writing called "The Villa Médicis" and where I hope to shoot my first feature film. It was in February and there was a lot of snow.

Describe your film The Children of the Night to someone who hasn't seen it.
I'm very interested by the way society always wants to be judge and guarantor of love stories. At the end of the Second World War in France, 20,000 women had been shaved. Many of them because they had relationship and love stories with German soldiers. France is full of taboos about the Second World War. One of them is the shaved women. I tried to make a film about one of those women.

What was the most memorable day of shooting like?
The day of shaving. Something really strange happened. I had a whole theater company act as the village people, and I had already shown them many historical images about shaved women. The first time we rehearsed, I saw all these people in costumes shouting and spitting on the girl. Reality and fiction became confused. The whole day was very hard. The actress who played the girl was really shocked, and so was I - she really hated those people who had just perfectly played their parts. We re-lived this French historical scene and we felt all its horror.

If you could work with any artist alive, who would it be and why?
Leos Carax because he is the filmmaker alive who I respect most and who has kept his dream of cinema alive and precious. I also feel close to his hunger and naivete, his eternal youth.

Describe your very first experience with filmmaking.
First desire of filmmaking: I am 10, I live in Cannes. At the Cannes Film Festival, the film on the screen is The South by Fernando Solanas - I don't understand anything but I am totally fascinated by the images and the projection. My hero would later become Henri Langlois.

First experience on a set: second assistant director on The Wind of the Night by Philippe Garrel. I remember a scene, Catherine Deneuve had to cut her veins with a glass. Of course there was a special effect with a lot of blood. But we were so impressed by the way she acts, so affected, so lost, that I and a few others cried on the set. At that moment I really became aware of what was a great actor. The rest of the film was a wonderful adventure between Napoli and Berlin, meeting a lot of incredible people like Daniel Pommereulle. I was 20 and I was full of joy and unconsciousness.

What would you be doing if you weren't making films?
Archeologist.

What is your favorite (and/or least favorite) movie and why?
Fists in the Pocket by Marco Bellochio for its juvenile anger, power, courage and also for the impulsiveness of Lou Castel.

Do you have any rituals or rules for yourself while you're working on a film?
I need to keep real contact with my personal life, not to seperate life and film, otherwise I'm afraid of making a film void of life.

Which parts of the filmmaking process do you enjoy the most? The least?
My favorite is the shooting, and my least favorite is the preparation.

The Children of the Night screens on March 24 and March 25 - buy tickets now!

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