Goliath deciphered by its director

Five years of research and writing were necessary for Frédéric Tellier to give life to his third feature film, which is based on four major trends.

A committed film

The genesis of Goliath dates back precisely to 2013. Frédéric Tellier was then in the middle of writing his first feature film The SK1 Affair when he comes across various books that make him want to dig into the question of pesticides. “First as a citizen before even thinking about making a film. Because there is not always a good story to tell from a good subject. » It was his producer Julien Madon who encouraged him to do so. And Tellier then embarked on five years of in-depth investigation, even managing to meet repentant lobbyists to feed his point. “I needed to understand the ins and outs of this issue of pesticides beyond the shock I had felt and which impacted my daily life. » There is also the desire to be indisputable about the facts described, so as not to be locked in the militant box… while assuming the committed aspect of the project. “Me, what kills me is how so-called civilized men can, in the name of profit, cause so many tragedies by lying shamelessly. I don’t feel like a standard-bearer for anything, but I believe, having experienced it, that a film can turn a life upside down. And that’s what drove me to make Goliath a fight movie. »

An educational film

How do you share what you yourself have felt? This question, Frédéric Tellier asked himself at each stage of Goliath. A work openly turned towards the public where it was necessary to manipulate sometimes abstruse exchanges by making everything understandable without simplifying it. With Simon Moutaïrou, he constructs a scenario like precision mechanics so as not to lose one of the characters along the way (a lawyer, the companion of a man suffering from cancer created by pesticides and the lobbyist for a large agro – food to name only the main ones) but without pre-chewing the work of a spectator whom he holds in high esteem. For 20 minutes, we do not know precisely what will be discussed in Goliath. ” I love as a spectator when a film does not give me everything right away. I wanted us to get to know the characters before the subject. Because they are the gateway to the story. You can love some of them, hate others, change your mind during the film. I don’t impose anything. I give tools so that everyone can create their own puzzle. »


A film of actors

I’m in love with actors “. For Frédéric Tellier, this sentence sounds like a cry from the heart. ” They filled so much of a void in my personal life when I was younger. When I was bad, I looked for answers in them like in books. So as a director, I like to trust them. I hate the expression “directing the actors”. Above all, I feel like a privileged traveling companion. I’m the master of the game, of course, and I have all the cards in hand, but I like to trust their instincts and their proposals. Including well before filming where, an unusual gesture in the making of a film, he left, to Goliath, Pierre Niney, Gilles Lellouche and Emmanuelle Bercot choose who they would embody on screen. ” I had only one certainty: I wanted these three actors and as I immediately perceived their desire to choose who they would play, I spontaneously gave them this latitude. » Before, with Simon Moutaïrou, for three months, to tailor the characters for everyone. This bias is also a way of definitively breaking the shackles of pure film about the subject and the idea of ​​a demiurge filmmaker treating actors like mere puppets. At Tellier, since his first TV movies, they have been at the center of the game.

A film under influence

The whistleblower film is a genre in itself in the United States, President’s Men at dark waters Passing by Revelations or Erin Brockovich. But if he is in love as a spectator with this cinema with which he grew up, his Goliath was not built under that influence. “I am more in line with a current that we have known in France with Yves Boisset, Costa-Gavras or the I like Icarus of Verneuil. As symbolized by the presence in a supporting role, essential to the story, of Jacques Perrin, actor and producer of Z. ” For me, he is the King of committed filmmakers, producers and actors. And I wanted to entrust him with a repentant character who was on the wrong side of things but realized it and turned away from it. The wise man of history because he has already experienced everything and knows the inevitable failure of certain fights that the lawyer Gilles plays will consult. And Perrin immediately agreed. ” When he explained to me that this role embodied all the struggles of his life in the cinema, I was overwhelmed. And on the screen, I find that Jacques carries around with him all the characters he was able to embody and who fueled my desire to one day make cinema in general and Goliath specifically. Like a loop that comes full circle. In majesty.

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