How did you approach making the complex desert-market sequence in the film? Just the ingenuity of how you visualized normal people walking around the desert, while also interacting with another dimension, seemed astounding.
When we started the scene, I had a meeting with all the technicians, around 200 people, and tried to explain the big market. And at the end, they all smiled and I could tell nobody understood what I was saying. So I said to myself, "OK, I have a problem here, they're not going to know what they're doing." Storyboards and my explanation were not enough because we had to portray the desert vision, the market vision, the point of view of an alien and the point of view of a human.
So I took all the students from my director and writing school in Paris -- there's 120 students, almost like a big massive class -- and we shot all the 600 shots from the storyboard one by one. The entire thing. The students were playing the actors, they were doing the props, costumes and everything. I edited that 18-minute scene together, added some temp music, and then I had the full scene to show the team. And once they saw it, they said "OK, we understand!"
It's so funny to watch the scene now -- we have the final version, as well as the one made by the students, and it's hilarious. It's exactly the same length and the same shots, except one is creaky and the other is good. It was the only way for everyone to understand what we were doing.
Will we be able to see the entire student clip on the DVD later?
Probably a little bit, but not the entire 18 minutes.
What is your biggest lesson from this film?
I think the biggest lesson is, when I started seven years ago, I said "Let's try to do it." Now, I made it. And I'm kind of surprised myself. It's exactly the same feeling as wanting to take a boat around the world without stopping. And then now, a couple days before the opening, I see the coast. I made the tour! And I'm just happy for that.
Do you know what you're doing next?
I'll probably do something smaller without special effects. (Laughs)