François Créton: “The Heroics are inspired by my own history”

Presented at the last Cannes Film Festival, this first film by Maxime Roy poetically recounts the journey of a dilapidated fifty-something. Meeting in two voices.

Presented in a special screening at the last Cannes Film Festival and at the closing of the recent Saint-Jean-de-Luz International Film Festival, these Heroics systematically leave a trace behind. Here, the truth seems so naked, the actors, so much themselves, that one wonders what this screen is used for between them and us. Not that the cinema has no place here. On the contrary, only there is not too much calculation, this project only lets in the present. This first feature film by Maxime Roy, follows the route of Michel, the battered fifties, who hangs on so as not to fall. For this former junkie in weaning, the birth of his second son, imposes an uprightness a priori little compatible with his personality on edge. Michel hangs on, drives his Harley like an anachronistic electric cowboy, between two not very fixed homes. Michel is Francois Creton, as true as its own nature suggests. This story is a bit his. Or almost. During the last Cannes Film Festival, between two doors of the famous Palais, we sat down next to François and Maxime, to understand who is who

The opening sequence shows the protagonist, Michel, in the middle of a meeting of alcoholics anonymous where he describes his fight, his fears, his distress… The documentary part seems obvious…

François Créton: The part of truth in this scene is also that of the film. With Max [Maxime Roy, le réalisateur], we wrote this story together, which is of course inspired by my own story. This sequence describes the whole process quite well. I had invited Max to a session of Alcoholics Anonymous. He stayed behind, watching us from a distance. We then wrote this sequence, nothing is improvised. At the time of filming, I couldn’t do it, I was next to it. Max is in the frame, which is a stroke of luck for an actor. There is, indeed, something animal, I feel his breathing, a breath … In short, I can not. Max takes everyone off the set, and says to me: ” Stop acting François, do Michel ! This simple remark unblocked me. The very nature of the film is there. Michel is a fictional character. If we had focused on my little person, what would we have had? Bazaar psychodrama.

Maxime Roy: With François, we had a real affection for Michel. This movie character moves us, makes us laugh too. He touches us. The distance between François and Michel was interesting to explore.

We feel an obvious bond between you. Where is she from ?

Maxime: I was in a relationship with François’ daughter. He was my stepfather. Our meeting was love at first sight. It was immediately very strong

François:… Despite the difference in our backgrounds, we recognized each other…. Things didn’t need to be verbalized. We are in the present. At the time of writing and then filming, our credo was not: ” We will go there! “, corn : ” Today, let’s do this! Yesterday no longer exists, tomorrow does not exist, the important thing is the present.

And the desire to make cinema?

Maxime: As a teenager, I lived with a friend whose father was a projectionist at the Dames Augustine (private cinema room reserved for professionals) I remember that Pascal Thomas had come to watch his rushes and discuss them with his team. From the cabin, I listened to it, fascinated. In my childhood, culture was not present. In my family, we spoke little and it was impossible to share our emotions, suddenly the cinema opened up a field that was unknown to me. I could finally express myself. I then went to a school, the ESRA, where thanks to my teachers, I discovered the works of Sautet, Pasolini, Loach …

François:… My first great feeling of cinema is The beauty and the Beast by Jean Cocteau. I was six years old… Acting is a way of getting lost and finding oneself. It’s this coming and going that turns me on.

The action of Heroics are located in peripheral territories, almost invisible …

Maxime: .. Places that François knows very well… These are his. The magical power of the camera is to reveal things that our eye cannot or no longer see. I film where my gaze takes me. I like quiet things, secret places, people in the shadows, a little wobbly. Humanity is there. Michel’s fight is silent.

François:… We are filming here a world that will disappear, all these abandoned working-class suburbs. On the other side of the street, there are palisades, and behind new constructions: universities, housing … Our characters are in the middle, lost between what is no more and what will become. They can’t get to the other side of the barrier …

You speak of “silence”, but Michel is still very talkative….

François: Michel does not know where his place is so he claims it permanently. If you know where you are, you don’t have to shout it from the rooftops.

The cast also includes identified personalities such as Richard Borhinger, Ariane Ascaride and Clotilde Courau… Was it important to have “names”?

Maxime: It was not the “names” that were important but our desire to work together. We did not do a casting, everything here is a matter of evidence.

The Heroics, what a beautiful title …

He also imposed himself. They are the heroes, all of us… We are overwhelmed by these people who are trying to stand up.

Les Hérosques by Maxime Roy, with: François Créton, Roméo Créton, Richard bohringer… Pyramid. Duration: 1h39. Released on 10/20.

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