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Directed by: Jérémy Comte
Synopsis: Two boys playing in an abandoned surface mine take turns outdoing each other until the stakes are suddenly raised and it's no longer a game.
Where did the idea for Fauve come from?
I grew up in the countryside and the inspiration for Fauve came from some childhood nightmares I had at that time. These dreams kept visiting me throughout my life at different moments. I could recall the emotion and a clear scenery from them, but I didn't mind them too much. About four years ago, I was running on a small muddy road under a light rain in the countryside. It all came back to me. I knew at this moment, I had to make a film from these memories, exploring childhood in a raw and authentic way.
Amazing cast. How did you find the two young actors and what was the casting process?
Thank you! The two boys are real gems. We started casting in Montreal, but I soon realized that I wanted non-actors from the countryside to have a more genuine personification of the characters. So my casting director, Victor T.B., reached out to elementary schools from the area of the countryside where we were shooting. We saw 50 kids: Felix Grenier and Alexandre Perrault really stood out from the first moment. We went down to 13 and finally to 3, then making the final choice.
How much was improvisation? How much did they surprise you on the set?
Because it was their first experience, I did a lot of rehearsal with them inside and on location. The first time they saw the shooting location, I let them free and they played around exploring. It was very inspiring. I took my phone out and start shooting and improvising some scenes with them. With that in hand, I rewrote some scenes of the story. Afterwards, I went again with them, rehearsing and showing them all the shots in order so they would be prepared for the workflow of a shoot.
How did you choose the location?
From the beginning, I needed a surface mine and I knew a town in Quebec that was known to have a lot of them. I looked on satellite images and spotted more than 10 of them in a close area. We visited all of them, and at the very, very end, we found the perfect one. It was hard to believe how beautifully it was fitting with our story. The funny thing is that we almost missed it, since it was the last one. Also, in the beginning of the story, I was imagining the boys playing in old abandoned cars but we found old abandoned trains beside the surface mine which was even better for the film. It was meant to be!
Fauve is notable for its look and tone? How do you achieve that?
It was important to me that the images feel dirty, dusty and gritty. There is something about films about childhood where they are often too clean and polished. It was all about trying to portray a genuine representation of a naive and cruel childhood in the tone. I wanted it to have a strong progression, where the camera and image feels light and joyful in the beginning with the help of handheld and a soft sunlight. Later, the camera suddenly stabilizes with longer shots and an overcast sun, changing the mood. I was also to try to avoid music and let the ambiance hypnotize the visitors.