Title : “Burn In Love”, our combustibles loves
Directed by : Mathieu ZEITINDJIOGLOU
Running time : 90 minutes for cinema screening and film festivals
Casting : Jean-Claude DREYFUS
Film presentation (lenght 5 minutes)
A couple undertakes a 6 months journey of around India. During this journey, Mathieu wishes to shoot a movie on "the spiritual call" of India, by questioning the spiritual guides who live there. On her part, Anna hopes that they will get married according to the vedic rite in Rishikesh. A small town at the foot of the Himalayas and the Ganges, where the Beatles received the teachings of the yogi Maharishi Mahesh in 1968.
Although, Mathieu thinks that a religious ceremony would be against his principles of secularism, he does not wish to annoy Anna, who finds the idea of a vedic marriage madly romantic. Indeed, according to the Hindu tradition, the fire god Agni will unite the couple for seven lives to come. And hight of romanticism, the ceremony will take place on February 14th, the date of Valentine's Day. An opportunity, for this civilly married couple for 7 years, to to reinvigorate the passion, which dulled over the years.
It follows a long journey of initiation, made of exceptional encounters, and punctuated by incredible events. But, carried away in the flood of India, the couple is tested. Because the contradictions in their expectations of this journey will reveal the flaws and questioning within the couple, and, Mathieu will be pushed to question on the meaning which he gives to the couple and to love…
A trilogy on violence, love and the death
“Burn In Love” is the second part of a trilogy on violence, love, and death. "The Son of the Olive Merchant," a feature film about violence against the Armenians during the 1915 genocide, was the first part of this trilogy. Self-produced with a low budget, the film won a great success: selected and awarded in many French and international festivals, it came out in cinemas in April 2012 and, after receiving very good press reviews, stayed 13 weeks in cinemas.
"Burn In Love" uses the same principles of narration and mixing genres as "The Son of the Olive Merchant": self-documentary fiction and animated film. But, this time, the movie explores the many faces of love.
Why is love, which is supposed to bring us happiness and joy is often accompanied by pain and sorrow? Should we distinguish between sacred and profane love, human and divine? Is love an illusion? These are some of the questions that the film will attempt to answer by questioning our conception of love, since its embodiment in the couple until its metaphysical dimension, conveyed by religions and spiritual guides of India.
A journey to India in the footsteps of love
Since ancient times, love is the subject of questioning and debate, but it remains an abstract concept, easier to experience than to explain. We all have ideas about what love should be or not be, but basically we know nothing...
By depicting the long journey around India of a couple of Westerners seeking to rekindle the passion of the early days, "Burn In Love" speaks first, of the reality of the feeling of love and commitment in the couple:
Anna, the romantic, thinks that love is manifested by proofs of love and passion constantly revived. Whereas Mathieu, more pragmatic, thinks like Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said that: "to love it is to look together in the same direction". Their different expectations facing love, which will reveal flaws in thieir couple, and, awaken Mathieu's questioning on the need for love and the reality of the feeling of love. A reflection which begins in the intimacy of the couple Anna and Mathieu, but rapidly spreading on the couples interviewed by Mathieu during the journey.
Indeed, during their journey in India, Mathieu and Anna are hosted by other couples, most of the time Indian with a very different profiles. Filmed in a certain intimacy, the couples answer Mathieu's questions on the meaning they give to love and commitment. And, in the country of the arranged marriage, the concept of passionate love often leaves the Indians perplexed. Because for them, the concept of love within the couple is often confused with that of duty.
The couple Ramana and Sujatha (one of the couples with whom we are staying), is the perfect example. Married for over 40 years, our conception of love leaves them unbelieving, yet they can not imagine to live without each other.
And if for Ramana, who is an atheist, love is an illusion conveyed by Bollywood films, for Sujatha the Buddhist, what gets closest to love, is probably her relationship with her guru (spiritual guide). Because, it seems that in India, what gets the closest to true love, is the relationship between the guru and his disciple, the first helping the second to break free from the illusion of reality.
So religions claim that there is another love, divine, sublimates, transcendental, unconditional, unlimited love … What kind of love is it? Is it a love made of the same essence as the one that unites a couple? To find out, Mathieu will question those who have made the choise to abandon everything, family and career. Indians or Westerners, who have decided to follow the paths of spiritual liberation, and their gurus, those who chose to abandon physical love to live this unconditional, metaphysical love.
And, when the Dalai Lama says that passionate love is a dangerous illusion, what does he mean? The couple goes to Dharamsala to question him about his position.
The exposure of the inmost
In the curious mixt of an initiatory road movie and a personal diary, on the border of exhibitionism, the exposure of the emotions of the protagonists tends to put the spectator in a position of voyeur. The camera is omnipresent. Sometimes, it settles down as an intermediary, other times as an intruder between Anna and Mathieu. The camera is often what separates the couple, and, other times what unites it. It reflects the changing aspect of love, and, also testifies of the communication crisis, which gradually established within the couple.
The point of view of a subjective camera, replacing Mathieu, allows the spectator to literally dive into the reality, to share the life of this couple, and those who they meet. A way to show the reality of the couple as it is experienced, since the camera is able to capture intimate and, perhaps, universal truths, on what is our relationship in love. So, the couple becomes the meaningful pattern, opening on deeper questions: concerning the commitment, the sense of love and foundation of relationships.
The form of the film, a mixture of self-documentary faction and animation, helps us to transform this journey into a far deeper and multidimensional reflection on love and its many contradictory aspects.
"Scène de ménage" - Painting by Mathieu ZEITINDJIOGLOU - "La chute"
The animated sequences in the film
In the same way as in the previous film of this trilogy: "The Son of the Olive Merchant", the animated sequences will enrich and to chide the film. They will tell great legends and myths that feed our Western conception of love, and come to feed various issues of the film: love and passion, love and fusion, love and death, love and compassion. There will be 4 sequences which will last between 3 and 5 minutes each, made from drawings and Mathieu Zeitindjioglou's paintings, and, carried by the voice of Jean-Claude Dreyfus who will be the storyteller.
The style will be quite similar to the animated films already produced by Mathieu in "The Son of the Olive Merchant", or the animated film made by Mathieu to illustrate the Indian legend of dance with the wind for Ally Walker's full-length film "Sex Death and Bowling" (soon in theatres across France).
Where is the film at ?
After six months of shooting on location in India, and over 6 months of editing, the film is well advanced. What remains to be done now is post-production: production of 4 animated sequences, finalizating the editing, voice-over recording in studio, producing of an original soundtrack, editing and sound mixing, shaping, calibration of the film translations and the subtitling, producing an English and international version. The necessary work for the completion of the film is estimated at 5 or 6 months.
Mathieu and Anna Zeitindjioglou
Born in the Parisian suburb in France, Mathieu Zeitindjioglou, aka Mathieu Z, has been painting since his younger age. But before forking definitively for his passion of the image, he gets at first his degree in economics and finance - a form of modern philosophy to understand the world.
He starts writing and directing several short films that received distinctions in film festivals: “L’homme sans faim“, “Parlez-nous de l’Amour“, “Le Philanthrope“, “La ferme". In parallel, he has directed various advertisements for TV, movies, and, several experimental films. His recent documentary for cinema, "The Son of the Olive Merchant", mixes animation and road movie in order to denounce the Armenian Genocide denial process in Turkey. In his work, Mathieu questions human relationships, social injustice, death, violence, reification of man by man, and, of course, love…
Also known as a film editor and art director, Mathieu has collaborated on lots of other films for big and small screens. Since 1998, his technical and artistic pallet has grown rich on his way. However, painting remained for Mathieu the simplest way to express himself, and has never left him, allowing him to aim towards a committed and meaningful art.
Website : www.mathieuz.com
Anna Zeitindjioglou was born in Poland. The political shocks in her country under communist influence (martial law decreed after the strikes of Solidarnosc) oblige her family to emigrate abroad, as political refugees from her early childhood. Settling in Paris, she will be an actress in parallel of her university and professional activities (several plays, short and full-length films), in particular the leading part in the full-length film "Away From Home" by Semih Kaplanoglou (Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 2010). She has been working with Mathieu since 2011.
French actor, singer, author and director, he began his career in the cinema in “What a flash” ( 1972 ) before collaborating regularly with Yves Boisset, Jean-Pierre Mocky, Jeunet and Caro. He obtains the recognition of the general public for his performance in “Delicatessen”. Colourful character, he is also a man of the theater, where he played in fifty plays varying from comedy to drama. He collaborates regularly with Mathieu Z since almost 15 years.