Ghost Town Anthology (Répertoire des Villes Disparues) press conference with Denis Côté, Larissa Corriveau and Robert Naylor
Director Denis Côté’s idiosyncratic filmography has resulted in numerous inclusions in the Berlinale lineup. He last appeared at the festival with 2016’s Boris Without Béatrice, but with Ghost Town Anthology, he has unveiled what might be his most accessible work to date. It’s an impeccable piece of filmmaking that is difficult to pigeonhole, but could perhaps be summarised as a heavily atmospheric arthouse ghost film. Côté, along with his cast and crew, spoke to the media at the movie’s Berlinale press conference.
The director talked about the thought process behind the creation of the feature, saying, “I remember when I was researching the film, writing the script, I have my own Facebook page and sometimes I would just post ghost pictures.” This interest in the supernatural evolved into writing the picture (loosely adapted from the novel by Laurence Olivier). Côté continued, “So I guess that was the mood for the creation of the film. We knew it was a sort of ghost story, and we knew it was about the disappearance of so many things in rural areas, and we thought, yeah, we need a form that would fit the film, and that is why with Francois (Messier-Rheault), the director of photography, we decided on super 16mm. We didn’t clean the picture at the lab, so everything you see, it’s very dusty, it’s very dirty. And I think that fits what the film has to say, so I guess there’s a logic for what you saw and heard in the film.”
Actress Larissa Corriveau plays a pivotal role in the development of the film’s narrative, with her character being the most affected by the otherworldly occurrences, “I think that Adele is perhaps the only character in the film whose view of things doesn’t change from the beginning to the end. Her perception remains the same: she’s frightened right from the beginning to the end; that’s how I approached the character. ”
When asked if his film made any bold statements about French Canadian identity, Côté said, “It’s always delicate when you make a film to go into political comments about you wanted to do or not to do. But obviously it’s a very Quebecois film – a French Canadian film. In the sense that we French Canadians are kind of lost somewhere, meaning that we don’t have much interest or points in common with the Americans, and in the way we communicate with the rest of Canada – English Canada. It’s a mixture of indifference, and it’s nothing bad, but we’re a little indifferent to the rest of Canada, and we don’t recognise ourselves at all with Americans, and then we have Mother France, which is what we look at if we want to be recognised – it’s like our mother, and we try to please our mother, which is not a very sane attitude, you know. Also, we’re kind of like these seven million French people surrounded by a sea of English-speaking people, so we’ve always tried to find our identity among that. So the film is definitely a kind of no man’s land. People don’t have full names in the film, the places are all invented, nothing is rooted in anything special. So, yes, it’s a sort of bastard nation, and the film is a sort of metaphor on that, if you want, but it’s not totally explicit.”
Photo: Thomas Niedermueller/ Getty Images
Ghost Town Anthology (Répertoire des Villes Disparues): does not have a UK release date yet. Read our review here.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.
Watch a clip from Ghost Town Anthology (Répertoire des Villes Disparues): here: