VINYAN - Fabrice Du Welz on Clearing Censors

On July 8th, the latest film from Belgium director Fabrice Du Welz cleared censors with a 12 and under rating. We chatted with Fabrice on this and the film. Previously Todd posted the incredible trailer to his latest film (view here). All thanks to the all mighty X who took time from his incredible Korean cinema coverage to translate this interview for me and to Rodney for the two of the questions on the script and score.

X translating French? You bet you! And let us now clear up some things on Vinyan!

Interview after the link bump.

BLAKE: Vinyan with its advance word of mouth seems to be getting labeled more as an extreme horror film. Perhaps some of the advanced publicity stills showing gore have caused some of this. From what I can tell it seems like it will be much more of a psychological thriller with supernatural elements, with perhaps more Eastern themes of horror and one of the most intense third acts we have seen in cinemas in quite some time.

So let's set this record straight, how would you describe and set up Vinyan to fans who can't wait to see it? And anything you can mention as a non-spoiler tease on the final act, as I've heard it gets incredibly intense.

FABRICE DU WELZ: VINYAN is a ghost film anchored to a very vivid sense of reality, the Tsunami. In that sense, it’s very different from traditional ghost tales, where generally the dead penetrate into the world of the living. In VINYAN, it’s actually the living who slowly penetrate into the world of the dead. During the course of the film, the Belhmer’s slip into the hell created by their own obsessions, their desires and sense of relief. The very baroque third act represents the quintessence of such idea.

BLAKE: Vinyan went before I believe the censors last week and passed. What can you tell us about this and what the plans are now for distribution? There was rumored to be one scene in particular that everyone thought might be too extreme to get past censors uncut.

FABRICE DU WELZ: In France, if the Board of Classifications rates your film “forbidden for Under 16,” then you’ll risk meeting with many difficulties in releasing it properly. That’s principally due to Cinema owners not being too fond of films with violence screening at their multiplexes, as they tend to prefer conventional French comedies. This ends up limiting a film’s release and even botching up its distribution. What we’re dealing with, then, is a very painful form of commercial censorship every genre filmmaker has to go through. For that reason, it was very important for me and the film to avoid that kind of classification, simply because that would have meant distributing the film in France would have become quite problematic. Thankfully, VINYAN was rated “forbidden for Under 12,” which really eased worries for my producer Michaël Gentile, and our distributors Wildbunch.

As for the infamous scene and the rumors about it getting cut, that wasn’t the case. You’ll be able to see it in the film. It’s a very graphic, violent scene indeed, but it possesses its own power. It created debate, because it shows a group of kids doing something very violent to a an adult man. This scene could have created pro lems for us, but it wasn’t the case. So thankfully nothing to worry about.

BLAKE: How did the films The Brood, Don't Look Now and Who Can Kill a Child influence you on this film?

FABRICE DU WELZ: All those films share something in common: children monsters. I can’t really say how those three films influenced me, directly or indirectly. You’ll tell me that yourself after you’ve seen the film. Nonetheless, what I can say is that I really love those films, works that have accompanied and guided me during the making of VINYAN.

BLAKE: What was your biggest challenges and/or most memorable story while filming in Thailand?

FABRICE DU WELZ: The biggest challenge shooting VINYAN was the weather, the equipment and the logistics. I think we had excessive ambitions when it came to mise en scène, especially for what concerns the last act. We shot plenty of aerial shots à la Mikhail Kalatozov, and that took a lot of time, energy and preparation. A particularly difficult one was a long sequence where the Belhmer enter inside the Red Building. It was a really exceptional moment shooting this scene.

BLAKE: With the jungle, Eastern setting and increasing intensity throughout the run time, it would seem this score could be incredibly amazing. François Eudes, who did the criminally underrated score for Inside, is doing the score for your film. What can you tell to expect from this new score?

FABRICE DU WELZ: François composed electronic music that perfectly combined with Frederic Meert’s sound effects. This music fits really well with the naturalistic aspects of the film, and accompanies the couple during their descent into hell. His work particularly shines in the final part of the film, where it reveals itself as formidably baroque.

BLAKE: Oliver Blackburn, who wrote and directed Donkey Punch, is credited as a co-writer on Vinyan. What was the writing process like with him and David Greig?

FABRICE DU WELZ: Before greenlighting VINYAN, Film4 wanted another look at certain parts of the script. At first, we asked Olivier Blackburn to help us, and he essentially worked as script doctor. After a few months, Film4, hich always had some problems with the script, demanded another bit of polishing, and that’s when we starte working with David Greig. But to be precise, I was the only screenwriter of VINYAN, even though Olly and David’s contributions were very important

BLAKE: On realizing your vision and re-teaming with the incredible cinematographer Benoît Debie (Calvaire, Irreversible) on Vinyan? You both seem to form a perfect unison on the screen. You seem to share a sense of harmony that isn't always found in director and cinematographer working relationships.

FABRICE DU WELZ: Benoit and I are friends for over 10 years. We know each other very well. I have been working with him for a long time. We have a passion for the image and visual experimentation. We both think visually. For VINYAN, we the parties are real to slide slowly toward expressionism and monochrome. At this stage of our collaboration, Benedict and I do nothing else than the - experimental.

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Vinyan will be screening at the upcoming Sitges - International Film Festival of Catalonia (October 2-12).

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