Martyrs is almost a work of prospective fiction that shows a dying world, almost like a pre-apocalypse. Pascal Laugier: For me, a work of art becomes too far when it’s saying things that I disagree with. Of course it’s an extreme projection, entirely disenchanted, of what I was telling you about today’s world. They more or less tried to kill the film commercially because some of the members of the commission were totally scandalised by some of the scenes. PL: I knew that I was sending out such a blast of dark energy to the audience that I had to be ready for any reaction. They would have a strong feeling and an experience." Q. The film is a personal reaction to the darkness of our world. For me, my film is very clear about what it says about human pain and human suffering. The Italian industry has produced something like 600 Spaghetti westerns, so the Spaghetti western is a real genre. Q. Some girls came to see me after the screening, crying a lot and telling me how good they felt after having watched the film. For me, it’s not a problem for me if it’s classified as torture porn. Our epoch is not very glorious. In Martyrs, I felt I had to be impudent, I had to take risks. So how far is too far for you? Q. PL: PL: I was going through a difficult time in my life. If you look at it closely, it's almost the same story. Pascal Laugier: No, it’s not in my blood [laughs]. But as soon as the script was finished and OK with my own morals, I shot it without any kind of distance. He talks to us about the inner darkness that prompted him to write it, the censorship row that ensued, the extreme reactions he’s experienced to it and plans for both the US remake of Martyrs and his own update on Hellraiser. That name comes from the horror culture and that’s a culture I belong to. Does that anger you? Was it gratifying that fellow filmmakers and even critics got behind you to get the rating overturned? The French system is a little bit more open-minded than before. Laugier's popularity has come about because of the reaction to his second movie Martyrs. They might give it a happy ending… PL: It’s not really a fascination, but a questioning. Pascal Laugier: Yes, but I have nothing to do with that. Some links on this site are affiliated. I saw in the horror genre the opportunity to put my inner feelings directly into the screen. But the film is about to be remade by Hollywood… In recent years, France has delivered some fine horror films. © 2001 - 2020 IndieLondon.co.uk | Terms and Conditions | Privacy | RSS Feed | What is RSS? In France, it’s very different. You mentioned that the French turn their backs on horror quite often. PL: "I understand the debates around the film very well. We have had some very surreal moments, which is really cool because horror is not a genre that’s designed to please everybody. Anna loves Lucie unconditionally and this love will kill her. 97 mins. Was your intention to make a horror film? Horror in my view shouldn’t be a unifying genre. Manage Cookie Settings But it was still only released in 60 prints for the entire country, which is not a lot. Pascal Laugier: Yeah, I’ve been lucky enough to sign three or four different projects for different studios. I was in a very sombre, pessimistic mood. I always had the desire and the hope that the audience would be moved by the film, come the end. Cast: Morjana Alaoui, Mylène Jampanoï, Catherine Bégin France/Canada 2008 Distributor: Optimum Home Entertainment That kind of film is still considered very condescendingly by a lot of people. Pascal Laugier: Not at all. This means we earn a tiny percentage of any sales made through the link. Writer: Pascal Laugier But what happens is often the opposite. Hard, violent, very disturbing, but a melodrama all the same. They asked me to write and direct it but I refused because two years on this story is more than enough for me. I felt very close to what my characters are living in a metaphorical way. People coming to me crying, saying how moving the film was. Pascal Laugier: Yes, it created a small scandal in the French media and after four months of fighting, we finally got the normal 16 rating that allowed us to be released more or less normally. I’ve always felt that horror was a melancholy genre. Electric Sheep is a registered trademark. Since we don’t believe in anything, since the world is increasingly divided between winners and losers, what is left to the losers but to do something with their pain? Q. Director Pascal Laugier takes his subject matter, his actresses and the audience’s preconceptions as far as they will go and beyond, and if the film does not always succeed, it is because it so fearlessly jumps into the unknown. It had more to do with the fact that the film is so serious and about themes that offended these very religious people. It’s a love that is not shared. I have no distance from this film. VS: There is also a lot of tenderness in the film between Lucie and Anna, who are very moving characters. Release date: 24 May 2009 I had some amazing experiences at festivals around the world. FRENCH director Pascal Laugier has made one of the most controversial and shocking horror movies of recent years with Martyrs. You can catch my review of Martyrs here along with Michael's review of Laugier's debut here, and I was keen to discover whether the man behind it was the interesting character I imagined. That’s something very real that we all experience: to fall in love with the wrong person, the one who, without consciously wanting to, will destroy you. I never took anyone by surprise. I had absolutely no distance from what I was shooting. I never asked her to do any kind of tests. One thought on “MARTYRS: INTERVIEW WITH PASCAL LAUGIER” didigogo says: October 24, 2009 at 1:48 am So much of what Laugier said in this interview made so much sense to me as a viewer of Martyrs. They found it both offensive and relieving. Can you tell us more about this? Pascal Laugier is a French film director who is notable for having written and directed movies including Saint Ange (House of Voices) and the genre defying Martyrs.One of his future projects will see him involved in the reboot of Clive Barker's Hellraiser movie. Doing that kind of film is still hell. Design by, Colonial Report from the Dominion of Canada. The film forces the audiences to have a position about it. I wish the Internet wouldn’t have said it because it’s much too early. Some people have felt sick, some people have fainted during the screening. So, I’m very flattered and very honoured and it allows me to keep on working a lot. Deep down, it’s what the film is about. Just because they are what they are. Where did the idea for Martyrs come from? Some people insulted me and were angry with me; others reacted very warmly. I mean, the pain we all feel on an everyday basis – in a symbolic way. VS: At the heart of the film lies the definition of the word ‘martyr’, which explains the extreme suffering to which the characters are subjected. I didn’t enjoy making this film very much. After five minutes of talking with her, I knew she was right for the part. Pascal Laugier: Oh yeah, we had some problems with the classification of the movie in Paris. It's not a genre that is supposed to please everybody. Pascal Laugier: Yes, one of them is Hellraiser. I love to watch some as a member of the audience but my mind is too twisted. It’s the only genre that offers this kind of dialectic and I have always found this idea very moving – to create emotion with the saddest, most depressing things in existence. So, I was careful. I would say Martyrs is the extravagant version of the first one. They also awarded you an 18+ certificate initially… I don’t want to give a message. Most of them never called me back when they read the script. Pascal Laugier: Oh, I met a lot of Parisian actresses. Mylène Jampanoï and Morjana Alaoui interview. Electric Sheep is the film magazine that explores the darkest corners of the cinematic basement, All content © 2007-19 Electric Sheep Magazine unless otherwise credited. Pascal Laugier: [Laughs] Probably! Probably their entourage was advising them not to do this film. How did you approach casting and, in particular, persuading young actresses [Mylène Jampanoï and Morjana Alaoui] to put themselves through what you had in store for them?