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Anatomy of a Fall | Anatomy of a Scene

“Hello, I am Justine Triet, co-writer and director of ‘Anatomy of a Fall’.” “You took the best idea from the book. How am I supposed to just go back to it? Do you realize how cynical that is of you?” “You can publish your own version. Say it inspired me. I’ll admit to it.” “So this scene comes very late in the film. It’s the sound of a recorded argument playing in the court near the end of the trial, trying to elucidate the death of the man whom we finally come to see on screen. His wife is the accused, and this is the only time we see or hear them interact.” “I live with you, and you impose everything. You impose your rhythm, your use of time. You even impose your language. Even when it comes to language, I am the one meeting you on your turf. We speak English at home.” “I’m not on my turf. I don’t speak my mother tongue.” “So the characters Sandra and Samuel are played by actors of the same name—Sandra Hüller and Samuel Theis.” “—to create a middle ground so nobody has to meet the other on their turf. This is what English is for. It’s a meeting point. You can’t blame me for that.” “But we live in France.” “There was a lot at stake. We had to live up to the teasing of the scene. We needed to deliver a certain amount of information and to get to know the character of the dead husband. The jury and the audience listened to the recording. The clerk displays the French transcript of the argument on the computer screen, and Sandra is confronted with her own voice, with the intimacy of her marriage. And at this point, we drop into the scene. We see it. For a long time, we wondered if the scene shouldn’t remain sound only. But because sound has the power to give the perfect illusion of the present of reality, we decided to dive into it. And if you close your eyes, you can really believe that the people are there. You could almost say it’s the inner vision of the visually impaired child at the moment when he hears his parents’ voice. For me, it’s not a flashback. It’s an illustration of a sound, so it’s present. I wanted the viewer to have the very strong sensation of being projected into this intimacy. So we are in the kitchen of these people, and they are talking about very concrete things, their daily life, the way they organize their life and split responsibilities. They are professional in balance their frustrations. And the idea of the scene is simple—to show the whys of conflict and then violence between two people, a battle of arguments and ideas within a couple. So we filmed with two cameras not to lose any of their energy. We had to film their words, the words that come out of their mouth. It’s all about the actors, the truth with which they say it. And then there is the language. They speak in English, which is not their language. He’s French, she’s German, and English is where they meet. And even that becomes one of the subjects of the conflict, the language question. I wanted to shoot this scene in daylight, with strong light and the sun shining. Often, very dramatic intimate scenes are used to be filmed at night, as if intimacy were separate from the rest of life. And here I choose the opposite. And the contrast between light and violence is even stronger for me.” “I have nothing to do with it. You’re not sacrificing yourself, as you say! You choose to sit on the sidelines because you’re afraid, because your pride makes your head explode before you can even come up with the little germ of an idea! And now you wake up, and you’re 40, and you need someone to blame. And you’re the one to blame!” “They are never filmed in the same frame, except briefly in the beginning.” “This is the truth. You’re smart. I know you know I’m right. And Daniel has nothing to do with it! Stop it!” “You’re a monster.” “And just as this violence breaks out and becomes physical, the image is taken away from the viewer, and we return to the courtroom. We find ourselves in the position of the jury, and especially of the child Daniel, in a state of total uncertainty, not knowing who is hitting whom. We suddenly realize that we didn’t see anything because we were not there. We’ll never know.” [SOUNDS OF STRUGGLE] [GLASS BREAKING] [MAN AND WOMAN FIGHTING] [BLOWS LANDING] [THUD]


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