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Working with Andrzej Wajda


Discovering Mexico
Jean-Claude Carrière Film-maker
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It is always wonderful to discover a country though film-making.... I mean, as you are looking for a location and characters to shoot. You have some idea of what you would like, and then you try to refocus it by doing some scouting work. With Louis Malle and Volker Schlöndorff, who at the time was his assistant, we drove for over 25,000 kilometres in Mexico, we wore out three Volkswagens, we went to some incredible places, and each time I go to Mexico, which is a place I love and I often go to, I always remember that initiation. It’s as if someone had the chance to make love for the first time in their life with an incredible person. My relationship with Mexico was shaped by Viva Maria! through those endless drives, tiring but enthralling, and each time I go I think about that.

C’est toujours merveilleux de découvrir un pays à travers le cinéma. C’est à dire en y cherchant les endroits et les personnages pour tourner. On a une vague idée de ce que l’on voudrait et on cherche à préciser cette idée par ce qu’on appelle le repérage. Avec Louis Malle et Volker Schlöndorff qui à l’époque était son assistant, nous avons parcouru 25 000km en voiture au Mexique, nous avons cassé trois Volkswagen, nous sommes allés partout dans des endroits quelque fois invraisemblables, et à chaque fois que je retourne au Mexique, c’est un pays où je vais souvent et que j’aime profondément, je garde le souvenir de cette initiation. C’est comme quelqu'un qui aurait eu la chance la première fois de sa vie qu’il fait l’amour de sa vie, de le faire avec une personne admirable. Mon rapport avec le Mexique a été marqué par Viva Maria, marqué  par ces randonnées sans fin, fatigantes, passionnantes et que je revois à chaque fois que j’y vais.

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: Viva Maria!, Mexico, Louis Malle, Volker Schlöndorff

Duration: 1 minute, 8 seconds

Date story recorded: January 2010

Date story went live: 18 October 2010