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Directed by: Iouri Philippe Paillé
Cast: Antoine Vézina, Éric Bernier
Photo Credit: Gabriel Brault Tardif
Synopsis: A bank loan officer extracts dark secrets from the past from an eccentric and mysterious customer in need of funds.
Where did the idea for Monsieur Cachemire come from?
One day, out of the blue, my best friend Sam Cantin emailed me a script he had written a while ago and had forgotten about. He told me he had just stumbled on it and thought it was a promising idea. We had made many short films together back in college and for a decade, we promised we would one day reunite again for a new film. This was it, without a doubt!
Sam is a man of many ideas, well known in Canada as a talented graphic novelist with a knack for hilarious dialogues and absurd humor. The backbone of Monsieur Cachemire came out of him effortlessly. After at least a dozen of versions that he and I worked back and forth, we had a promising script that got us excited!
The actors work wonderful together. How did you come across them?
Sam and I discussed at length the dynamic and tone we were looking for and we simply knew they were the perfect fit. They were our first choice. Both are well-known French Canadian actors. We were blessed that they loved the script and jumped on board even though we had a tiny budget and big ambitions. We had a thorough reading session a few weeks prior to the shooting. We gave them a lot of specific notes on tone and timing so they would come on set with a better understanding of what I wanted specifically for each scene.
It feels like you’re watching a Coen Brothers film. Were they an inspiration for the film or did it just turn out this way?
I love that you picked up on that. The Coen Brothers were definitely an influence. In Monsieur Cachemire, the characters and situations are often larger than life. It was very important for me to wrap those characters in a cinematic environment that fed off the reality of it all and not the absurdism of it all. I thought this balance between the dialogue, the absurd humor, and the lush sets and cinematography was crucial for the film to operate not only as a funny story but as a meaningful cinematic experience. In that sense, the work of the Coen Brothers speaks for itself. I’m a huge fan of the Coen’s, and I remember watching Big Lebowskiand A Serious Man many times leading up the shooting of Monsieur Cachemire.
What are some tips to making a good comedy?
If it does not make you laugh out loud when you read the script, it won’t make you laugh on set. If it does not make you laugh out loud on set, something is really wrong and you absolutely need to fix it now. All the things that you want the audience to laugh at, you need to laugh at uncontrollably. Comedy is a weird beast: clever writing, timing, chemistry, precise camera intentions, sharp editing and creative sound design all play a major role. It’s really important to question everything all of the time until everything falls into place properly.
Are there any plans in turning the “Monsieur” into a feature? Or a TV series?
There has been interest in that regard and it would be wonderful.