|Lucie Bourdeu is the star of The Drifters, a romance patterned after the French New Wave of the nineteen-sixties but updated to post-Brexit Britain. She appears alongside Jonathan Ajayi as the central couple of writer and director Ben Bond's film and was good enough to answer some questions on the project. Bear in mind she is French, and writing in a second language, but her English is a lot better than my French.
TSI: What films did you enjoy growing up? Did any inspire you?
LB: My mother is a real cinephile, she showed me lot of movies when I was a kid. She imposed me at an early age to watch all the films in its original language (and I thank her). She showed me all Chaplin's movies. I fall completely in love with him.
Roman Polanski's films had an enormous impact on me. After The Fearless Vampire Killers, I've had a lot of nightmares. So I read and watched everything I could find on the film and his making. I was fascinated by what I discovered (about special effects, acting, scenery...) and then, the nightmares stopped. I love Hitchcock and Chabrol too (I recommend Le Boucher and la La Cérémonie by Chabrol).
TSI: How did you get your start in the acting business?
LB: I was 13 years old; I was going to buy shoes with my mom, and I've been sidelined by a casting director in the street. After that, my mom made me meet an agent (after I said I wanted to continue) who made meet casting directors. Anne Laforestrie is my agent ever since with the help of Donatienne :).
TSI: Had you seen a lot of Jean-Luc Godard films before making The Drifters? How did they influence the film?
LB: Yes! quite a lot. I've studied cinema at Sorbonne for 3 years.
We watched and talked a lot about Godard's movies. The first screening of A bout de souffle slapped me. It's my favorite film of him. The way he played with cinema's codes was fascinating, a real experience, a whole new mood for me.
I think Ben was inspired by the freedom that Godard took: the way he plays with chronology, the editing, the "pause moments" when I address the camera, the couple Pierrot le fou way...
Personally, I prefer Truffaut's films, which touches me more, including its scenarios and the play of actor. But Ben's scenario refers to and is inspired by many other films, a true homage to cinema, and that's what I liked the scenario.
TSI: Was filming this your first experience of Britain? What were your impressions?
LB: Not first but the best. First longest and I loved it. Because I was with an amazing crew. At first, it was difficult for the language but then just pleasure and authenticity, out of tourist road, and for work! I Loved London, and Teignmouth. I understand why Ben wanted to shoot there. It is really unique and brings a lot to the movie.
TSI: Why do you think the story of Fanny and Koffe is so important? What does their relationship represent to the world?
LB: Fanny and Koffe are so similar and different at the same time. And I think we are not used to see these two kinds of characters together. Both immigrants, but don't live the same constraints. Two people looking for freedom, but not the same one. The Brexit context intensify this feeling and I hope that will make people questioning themselves.
The love story is really interesting too. The fact it's not linear. Fanny always changing her mind. I loved the fact is complicated, like in real life. They live their fantasies, want to put aside all the difficulties.
TSI. How much of the film was improvised? Your performances were very natural.
LB: Thank you so much. I'm happy you liked it :)
There was a big space for improvisation which is very exciting. Ben gave us lot of freedom to try and propose. Every time we began a scene, we start with improvisation to get to the "writing" scene and situation. This freedom is really helpful for sincerity and for getting to know our characters. I really enjoy this way of working and I think it brings a lot for Jonathan and I.
I remember that one scene, when I discovered Koffe's lie. The monologue that Jonathan made was totally improvisation and I was so moved by it.
TSI: What do the French think of Brexit? Do they think the Brits are crazy?!
LB: French are used to Brits' eccentricities (even if I think French are crazy as English). I feel sad about the Brexit, I love England end I hope it's not going to be complicated to travel. I think EU lost a lot with the departure of England. I hope that this confinement it's not going to increase discrimination in the country.
TSI: Have you been working under the pandemic conditions? If so, what was it like?
LB: The pandemic change so much things. All my acting projects were cancelled. Waiting to be able to go to casting (can't stand Zoom auditions).
But I do a lot of editing and I directed two music videos: "Lucifer" by Faire and "Brazil" by Lulu van Trapp.
Click here to watch Lucifer.
Click here to watch Brazil.
TSI: What have you been watching under Lockdown? Any recommendations?
LB: Under lockdown I played a lot at PS5 (I recommend Last of Us and Red Dead Redemption). Those games are like movies!
For TV shows, I discovered and loved The Marvellous Mrs Maisel, Your Honor, Servant. I watched a lot of HBO's documentaries (I Love You, Now Die, Crazy, Not Insane…). I loved the documentary Dancing with the Birds on Netflix.
For films, I recommend Seul les bêtes by Dominik Moll, Freaks by Adam Stein et Zach Lipovsky, Mignonnes by Maimouna Doucouré and Uncut Gems by The Safdie Brothers.
Many thanks to Lucie Bourdeu for her replies, and try to check out her film, readers, it weaves a spell all its own while remaining a faithful tribute to the Nouvelle Vague. THE DRIFTERS is released in virtual cinemas from 2 April and on demand 5 April 2021. THE DRIFTERS is released in virtual cinemas from 2 April and on demand 5 April 2021. Click here to visit the official website of The Drifters.