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The new technologies of the 20th century


Creating credible characters
Jean-Claude Carrière Film-maker
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Le vrai problème des auteurs quand ils décrivent le comportement de tel ou tel personnage ou d’un groupe de personnages, on a vu ça avec Buñuel pendant des années, c’est que nous savons très bien qu’en décrivant les personnages, nous le réduisons… parce que nous les ramenons à une seule action alors qu’ils pourraient comme nous tous dans la vie, exécuter en même temps des actions contradictoires. Mais nous sommes obligés de leur choisir un chemin, nous savons cela, nous savons que nous sommes réducteurs, nous espérons et c’était un sujet de discussion presque quotidien avec Buñuel que dans ce que nous leur laissions il y a une part d’inattendu, de surprise qui ne sera pas rejetée, qui ne sera pas considérée comme absurde et inacceptable, mais qui se rapprochera peut-être un peu plus de ce qu’on appelle une vraie vie.

The real issue for writers when they describe the behaviour of such-and-such a character – we dealt with it with Buñuel for years – is that we know that as we describe those characters, we restrict them... because we bring them down to one single action, where they could, like all of us in life, behave contradictorily.  But we have to pick one way for them, we are fully aware of this, that we restrict them, we hope, and that was a daily conversation with Buñuel, that in what we leave them with, there is a certain part of the unexpected, of surprise, which will not be turned down as being absurd and unacceptable, but which will be closer to what is called real life.

French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carrière (1931-2021) began his association with films aged 24 when he was selected by Jacques Tati to write for him. This early experience led to further contact with other film-makers, including Luis Buñuel with whom Carrière collaborated for many years. He wrote screenplays for films including Belle de Jour, The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie, Tin Drum and Danton.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Luis Buñuel

Duration: 54 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2010

Date story went live: 18 October 2010