Everything was done very simply, because Sylvain Guy’s screenplay was already written when I was offered this proposal. Upon reading, I was completely seduced by the story of this woman. It was not so much the historical aspect that interested me, but rather the love story that she lived in secret, through a silent desire because it should not appear in the eyes of others. It is at the same time passionate, disturbing, disturbing, and very painful. And as my greatest pleasure is to work with actors, I knew that with this scenario, there was very good material.
When I read the script, I had barely read the second page when I was already beginning to see Rose-Marie in the role of Victoire. And since the script is written in such a way that the narration is done by Victoire at 60, I also started to see and hear Élise. In my eyes, these two actresses are in classes apart.
Their economy in the game. And their interiority. It is extraordinarily powerful, as much in one as in the other. We can shoot a scene where all the other characters are talking around and yet we only see them, their silence is so eloquent. Everything is in their eyes.
The pleasure we take in making a period film mainly takes place during the preparation, because it is at this stage that we learn a lot of things. That said, once all that is well established and the days of shooting arrive, I focus on the actors and I hardly see the sets anymore. In all my films, working with the actors has always been my main concern. The rest, for me, are technical details that serve to support the acting of the actors.
Oh my God !
The pleasure is the same, but I would say that the conditions are becoming more and more demanding because of the budgets which often force us to reduce the number of shooting days. We come to develop skills and find solutions by force of circumstance, especially since I also work on TV series, where you have to work quickly. For The Shoemaker, we had a good budget – over six million dollars – but we still had to cut about thirty scenes. It’s obviously painful at the time, but once the film is done, I put all that aside because I think that at the end, we all did our job well. We can be satisfied, proud, and have the feeling of having given our full measure.
You are a feminist filmmaker if you are also a feminist in life. And I am sensitive to the concerns of women. The fact is that the story of these great women who built Quebec by paving the way for other generations is little known. Aside from Pauline Gill’s series of novels, Victoire Du Sault’s life is poorly documented. Yet there are so many stories of women to tell.