It got such a great reception at Cannes, which is where I saw it. How that experience like for you?
What was important for me was to be selected in Cannes because we submitted a movie that is kind of unusual for a French movie because it also tackles genre and graphic scenes, and it was very important for me that the genre [got] outside of its niche for horror buffs. It’s important for me that they recognize that genre movies can be auteur movies as well and that there is no difference between auteur and genre.
An auteur is someone that expresses a personal and strong view of the world and humanity with whichever grammar they use, whether it’s a musical, documentary, drama or horror movie. I cried a lot when I knew that we were selected; it was [a] big achievement and when I was there, I was not in touch with what was going on. I was super-sick, I had a fever, so I was doing my interviews while I was completely in my bubble.
I had been to Cannes before with my short [“Junior“], so I knew that there was a frenzy in Cannes. Every reaction is so extreme, and so when my producer told me that there were good reviews, I thought it was just the “Cannes game” and I really didn’t realize it that much. It only hit me when Universal and Focus starting being interested in distributing the movie worldwide and then I thought, “Ok, the game is getting a bit more serious.” [laughs]
There’s a whole horror new wave happening in the United States and abroad. I’d like to get your thoughts on that.
I agree with you — in the U.S., a lot. I mean, when I think about “The Witch,” “It Follows,” “The Invitation,” “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night,” there’s a new generation that is elevating genre and taking it out of its niche, and yeah, I can definitely relate to that movement, to that energy.
I guess you’ve been asked this a lot: What do you make of all these stories that the media ran with of people fainting watching your movie and having seizures? What’s your take on that?
I have no take on that. Don’t believe that hype. I mean, it did happen for two people in Toronto, [and] you can imagine how tired I am of answering this question since last September. I am sorry for the people that fainted, it is never a compliment, never a good thing when someone does not feel good. Going to the movies is a celebration, it is not supposed to make you faint or have a seizure. My movie is not the shocker that is presented on the internet. It is something that has no tangible reality. I mean, apart from the fact that it did happen, it doesn’t say much about my movie. It isn’t the most disgusting thing or the most unwatchable thing ever made. There isn’t much I can do about that.
I was actually surprised by the reactions because I really didn’t think it was grotesque at all. I thought it was actually a really beautiful, nuanced, subtle film.
Yeah, I agree with you. It’s not doing any justice to the work that I have done for five years, which is why it is so frustrating for me. Apparently, all of a sudden, my movie is a blockbuster when it really is a tragedy about two sisters and it’s actually very moving and very funny. I do think that people that are calling this movie out are people that haven’t really watched the movie. I wonder if it’s people just rebounding on the fainting story and just inventing stuff. They obviously haven’t seen the movie.
What advice would you give to female filmmakers trying to make it?
Don’t let people call you a female filmmaker. You’re just a filmmaker. Whether you are female or male is absolutely not relevant. That’s my advice.
“Raw” is now playing in limited release.