His filmography, his projects, Ary Abittan … The confidences of Claude Lelouch, passing through Cannes

“I have cheated on a lot of things in my life, my wives, my children, but the cinema, I try to remain faithful to it, because it is what amazes me the most in life.”

Stainless Claude Lelouch. At 84, the filmmaker keeps the wonder of an eternal child for the 7th art. Her parents had met in a movie theater. He will be the prodigy and prodigal child, as soon as he is armed with a camera.

As if he had to perpetuate the original love story with the same flame, since “A man and a woman”. His new film, “Love is better than life”, the first part of a trilogy that could be the last of his long filmography, will be on screens on January 19. But the tireless enthusiast is present at the RCC with “Tourner pour vivre”, a documentary produced by his friend Philippe Azoulay,

The latter followed Claude for three years, when the latter had the ambition to shoot three films. He will realize and ultimately produce “only” two (“Bastard we love you” with Johnny Hallyday, and “Un + Une”, with Jean Dujardin and Elsa Zylberstein).

But between an initiatory journey in India, opening of a film school for young people, production of his films and rewriting of scripts, we plunge into the pangs and miracles of Lelouchienne creation with delight.

Once is not customary, it is he who takes the first role in front of the camera, and not behind. And if “chance has talent” as he likes to repeat, Claude Lelouch is his best interpreter.

Lelouch in front of the camera, what’s it like?
I tried to forget about it, and I was so busy doing what I had to do. And then Philippe was all alone to film, as if to make a making-of of my films, it was not too bulky!
(Philippe Azoulay intervenes) Claude is a major filmmaker, with a spirit of independence and freedom unique in France, and we share the same passion. The shooting was also a human adventure and it’s not just a film about Claude Lelouch, it’s a film about cinema.

In the film, you also evoke your death, not excluding choosing the day of your departure. And your last film?
I have just finished the fiftieth, the first part of a trilogy, which will undoubtedly be the end point of my career. I still have two films to make and after that, I will become an amateur filmmaker again.

Robert Hossein is in the credits of Love
We shot three weeks before his death, and he said: “I have made a lot of films, but this is the greatest gift of my life”, it was overwhelming.

Ary Abittan, who plays a former convict, is today in the midst of legal turmoil?
In my film, the man matches the character, but what happens to him is unfortunate, and I hope the truth of justice will reassure us. The presumption of innocence is important.

What are the themes covered in this latest trilogy?
It evokes the few certainties that I have acquired, after 84 years of existence, through characters shouting for truth. These are the three A’s: love, friendship and money. Depending on the order of priority in which an individual ranks them, he’s a smart guy or a jerk. I believe a lot in love. It is the Oscar of the Oscars, the palm of the palms. The rest is just a consolation …

Bastard we love you was written for Johnny, but the film also evokes your life?
This film is the two of us. We gave more importance to our films or songs than to our children, which made us suffer. It was easier to talk to them about that through a movie than in the kitchen.

During the filming, a trained eagle disappears, before reappearing miraculously when it is time to shoot. And Sandrine Bonnaire evokes your lucky star …
Me, I work with a great screenwriter called Life, and his stories are inspired by the men and women observed closely. When life tells me it’s raining, well I run with the rain, I adapt! When the eagle suddenly disappeared, I said to myself that if he was gone, it was because he should not play an important role, and then he resumed his place when he came back.

Are you back in Cannes for the RCC, where the festival revealed you to the world in 1966?
I have known everything in Cannes, the Palme d’Or, the out of competition, the production, I am even on the Board of Directors of the Festival, there is only the cleaning that I did not do! When this city calls me, I can’t say no.

A man and a woman, a film with the palme d’or and the two Oscars, but also the common thread of your career, of your life?
It’s like my second mother and father. This film is my second birth, my life as a filmmaker has changed and I have become a free man. This is my 7th film for the 7th art, which I had to produce because nobody wanted it. Before, I had made six somewhat lame films, which had not found their audience. But I made the fifty films that I wanted to create, some appreciated by the public, others not. I love life deeply, and I try to make it loved through my films.

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His filmography, his projects, Ary Abittan … The confidences of Claude Lelouch, passing through Cannes