film October 25, 2011 By Derek Peck

I love that we both discovered the process of using self-interview through reading Truman Capote’s self-interview. Could you share a bit more about how you use this technique as a tool of self-inquiry and creativity. Dialogue is a literary genre in itself, as important in cinema as in theatre, and for me a self-interview is a form of dialogue. In my films, the characters talk a lot, they express themselves through all the means possible, but especially through words (Talk to Her, for example). A few times I’ve interviewed other people, normally artists about whom I am passionate. The last of these interviews was with Jeanne Moreau and it was published in Vogue France about a year ago. Jeanne Moreau is one of my favourite living actresses and I enjoyed enormously the three hours we spent chatting. I think I can only interview people I really like, I mean, I don’t think I have a journalist’s ability. Unless it’s myself, I can talk to myself at any time. I discovered it in the 80s, after reading Truman Capote’s self-interview. I did my first self-interview immediately and by chance it appeared in a book published about me. You could analyse my changes of mood, the changes in my life in general, by simply comparing the different and multiple interviews I’ve done with myself over time. First and foremost, I want to say that a self-interview doesn’t mean the destruction of the interlocutor, not at all. I think that finding an interlocutor is one of the reasons for our existence, and the more interlocutors we find the better. A self-interview allows me to reflect on myself, it’s like thinking aloud. I don’t think I have a schizoid personality, but I have no difficulty in splitting myself in two, the one who asks and the one who answers. I’ve probably developed that capacity because I’ve always written, I’m used to putting myself in the place of other characters and talking for them. Interviewing myself never seemed a strange or difficult exercise to me, it’s the easiest and fastest. If I reflect minimally about what I’m going to answer, I don’t lose spontaneity and yet I gain in intelligence, capacity of synthesis and authenticity. I never lie, or try to show myself as different from what I am, or how I think I am. It’s a good exercise in introspection and it helps me talk about aspects of my films and my life about which I’m not normally asked.

On your desk there was a sheaf of papers that you said is “supposed to be the next one….” Can you give us a hint?
It’s too early to give clues, I’m working on various stories, although there are two that stand out over the rest and I guess one of those two will become the next film. What I can tell you is that I’m going to change register. It will be very different from The Skin I Live In.

The Skin I Live In is screening in cinemas in NY now.

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