Indiecinema Film Festival: interview with Pierre-Loup Docteur

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Our conversation with the French director

In competition at the 2nd edition of Indiecinema Film Festival, the surreal short film Go! Captain by Pierre-Loup Docteur, written in collaboration with Marieke Mille, amuses and excites; the young Max, still mourning the loss of his father, meets Jo, a strange guy in a diving suit who, involving him in a bizarre treasure hunt, will guide him to the meaning of psrt and make him rediscover the importance of memories, an inheritance of those who leave us.
Go! Captain is the name that Max’s mother gives to the ludopub she has chosen to open to give new life to her husband’s old board games, because, in fact, his memory remains, but it is also, ideally, the way in which the father called the son. A fil rouge that is part of the memory but that projects Max towards the future, thanks to the meeting with Jo, who in the dust of his treasure will show him the importance of the legacy left to us by those we loved.

The inspiration for this short movie

Where come from the idea of the title? Who is the Captain? It recalls Whitman poem or the movie Dead Poets Society (“L’attimo fuggente”, for Italian people)? Then, which was the first step, for the inspiration of such a naif and surrealist mood in the movie?

With my co-writer, Marieke Mille, we didn’t immediately think of Whitman when we chose the title. We wanted a title that evokes adventure and the maritime universe, and it also had to be able to take on another meaning at the end of the film. « Go! Captain » il the name of the games café that Max’s mother created with the games of his recently deceased father. And, at the end, we can think this « Go! Captain » is a way in which the father called his son.

The idea for the film comes from the discovery of a place, this new residential district built right next to an abandoned factory, with, between the two, a wasteland. It was as if the past and the future were facing each other. And then we had the idea of bringing out this adventurer in an old diving-suit, which seems to come from another era. He immediately set the burlesque and surrealist mood in the movie. 

The twins, crime’s experts, are a tribute to Shining? Or a parody?

I didn’t immediately think of « The Shining ». I got the idea for these twins when I saw Bergman’s « Wild Strawberries », where there are twins characters. At the time, I was working on a feature film script, a serial-killer film. And the twins were born from this association. Then, of course, I thought of « The Shining », and i thought that was a tribute that I liked. 

Galloping fantasy, between Tintin and Buster Keaton!

The diving suit and the screwdriver remind Matt Smith’s Doctor Who and the sonic screwdriver? Or there are some other fantasy references behind it?

I don’t know Doctor Who at all… The inspiration comes rather from « Tintin », the comic-strip by Hergé, and from a film by Buster Keaton, « The Navigator ».

Alexandre Duvall’s nephew is a mitical figure, as Doctor Who or Mary Poppins, who came to save and adjust lifes and then go away? Or he is inspired on a real figure of your life?

That’s exactly it. We wanted a character who passes through the film, like a benevolent angel and who will help the characters get a little better. But we also wanted it to have a more concrete existence, not just being a metaphor. He had to exist in flesh and bone. That’s why he has his own problems : he needs a screwdriver to repair his diving suit, he has lost his boat, he is looking for a treasure…

Ready for the treasure hunt

The importance of the memories, of the legacy from who we loved is the centre of your short movie?

Absolutely. The question at the center of the film could be : what do we do with this heritage, these memories ? Like Max’s mother, we can choose to give them a second life, so that they continue to existes but otherwise. This is why she chose to create a café with her husband’s games, so that these games continue to be used. But we can also leave the legacy buried for a long time, like Jo’s treasure. And when we find it and finally decide to open it, il may be too late: the treasure has been destroyed by the passage of time.

The research  of the treasure is the research of the meaning of Life?

It’s a complicated question… But, in a sens, yes. Or perhaps more than the meaning of life, the search for treasure is the search for a memory, a trace, which we need to live better.

The most loved directors and something upon indie movies

Who are the directors really loved by you? And the genres you prefer?

I love 1950’s film noir and Billy Wilder comedies. And I have a particular taste for fictions that assume themselves as fictions, films that seek to invent their mode of narration, their universe, their singular mood and their language. In this, I’m an absolute fan of filmmakers like David Lynch or Jim Jarmusch. And, in France, I love what Bertrand Bonello does.

Which is the situation in France for the production of short movies and in general for indie movies? 

There are a lot of public aids in France: televisions, the National Cinema Center, the regions. But these are very selective aids, difficult to obtain. I was able to made « Go! Captain » thanks to the support of the Social Housing Union, an organization that manages social housing in France. And I was lucky to be supported and accompanied on this film by « La Maison du Film », an association that supports young authors by advising them on writing or by making them meet collaborators.

Michela Aloisi

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