(Paris) Even though he had previously signed five feature films as screenwriter and director, Roschdy Zem had never embarked on such a personal project. Inspired by an event that actually happened, Mine is an ode to the family in which the actor has not always given himself the best role. Encounter.
Roschdy Zem: Absolutely! I took this accident as a pretext, in fact. But I think the main reason that pushed me to make such a personal film is that I’m at a stage in life where you reflect on the life you’ve lived up to now, as well as to that which awaits us in the future. The pandemic, when we were all confined to our homes, triggered this kind of questioning in a lot of people, I believe. I wanted to talk about the family.
Producer Pascal Caucheteux, who also produced ADN, suggested that I take a bit of the same approach for my film, that is to say to write it and shoot it quickly. I then said to myself that Maïwenn could act as a filter. That is to say, when you embark on a personal project like this, you need the gaze of someone more distant, who can distinguish what is interesting from what is not. . I trusted Maïwenn completely, especially to help me get rid of all the pathos I didn’t want. In addition, she has a very direct, very carnal writing. The script was written in less than a month!
If in addition to writing and directing, I had to give myself the best role, I think we would have said “well, say so”… [Laughs] I found this kind of mise en abyme interesting of all that could be reproached to me. I had a lot of fun with this form of self-mockery about my personality. I preferred to display my dysfunction rather than showing an incredibly noble character who comes to the rescue of his family. That wouldn’t correspond to reality at all!
When I wrote my first movie [Bad Faith], there was no way I was directing it. But at the time, the producer [Philippe Godeau] immediately offered me to direct it myself. I remember being very surprised, but also very seduced by this idea which had never crossed my mind before. I even gave my consent very quickly for fear that he would change his mind! I now feel like I am improving every time and I enjoy telling things. That’s what motivates me. When you embark on a personal story like that of Mine, there can be no rivalry with anyone because, inevitably, no one can tell it in my way. That said, if I were asked tomorrow to adapt Maupassant, I would say that talented filmmakers would be much better placed than me to do it.
There wasn’t really a desire because there were no models I could have relied on at the time. At most, yes, I wanted to try out the experience and see how filming goes, but from there to think about building a long-term career, never. My profile – son of North African immigrants – did not exist in French cinema. However, I arrived at the moment when directors began to want to bring characters with my profile into existence. I have often been there in the right place at the right time. Talented directors put me on track and allowed me to build enough confidence to make my fantasies turn into inclinations.
On the contrary, it weakens. Over the years, we impose a higher level of demand on ourselves, which is necessarily more difficult to achieve. But the fun is intact!