Q&A Jean-Claude Carrière

Screenwriter

Paris

The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie is back in cinemas on 29 June celebrating the 40th anniversary of its release. We talk Buñuel and French cinema with Jean-Claude Carrière, who wrote the script and worked on other classics such as The Tin Drum and The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

What makes The Discreet Charm relevant today? I don’t know if it’s still relevant. I hope so. If it is, it’s probably because of the apparent freedom of the non-story-telling. It looks like “anything could happen”. A very difficult film to write and hard to imitate. As for the characters themselves, they’re timeless.

How has French cinema changed since Buñuel? The entire cinema has changed since the 1970s, and not only in France. That’s normal. Our box-office is better now, maybe more commercial. The “new wave” directors have vanished (Alain Resnais is probably the last one, after the death of Claude Chabrol), but filmmakers like Jacques Audiard are worth watching, or Atiq Rahimi, Jean-François Richet, Bertrand Blier. We make a lot of films. Some people say too many. I disagree. I think a country like France can produce two or three good films a year. The problem is in order to have two good films, we must make 200. But that’s alright. It has been like this since the beginning.

Monocle 24

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