Hitchcock à Uzès
Hitchcock à Uzès
The film is a cinematic fable that questions the future of the Pays d'Uzès in environmental, economic, social and cultural terms.
In the past, people used to live from agriculture, today Uzès has become a tourist hotspot. For some time now, the Town Hall has been trying to scare away the jackdaws, birds belonging to the crow's family which have taken residence in Uzège just after the extinction of the dinosaurs! Jackdaws are seen as a nuisance during the touristic season. They are noisy, they defecate everywhere, from cars roofs to restaurant terraces.
Through the character of Alphonse, an upset journalist from Uzès, the film merges the two genres of documentary and fiction. It narrates the issues raised by a small city in full transformation. The secondary residences have multiplied by thousands while the agricultural surfaces and the scrubland are constantly disappearing. Shopping malls are built, luxurous boutiques are opened; the tourists can carry on shopping whereas a large part of the local population is not ready for such a change. Jackdaws are the perfect metaphor for evoking the natives who sometimes, if not often, find it hard to find accommodation, remain in the are and live accordingly to their traditions.
Alphonse, a sort of Colombo from the Cevennes and great lover of the jackdaw, diligently and cleverly makes his investigation which is also a nod to the work of Alfred Hitchcock. He asks if a cohabitation between the men and the birds is possible. What he especially wants to know is if it is possible to preserve the rural terroir and the art of living for everyone, native and newcomers. A harmony that allows everyone to navigate without necessarily denying modernity.
City centers' gentrification, a lot is said about it. What do we know about the conflicts raised by this societal phenomenon in rural areas. What does globalization bring to the countryside? Issues arise in many areas, such as housing, the environment, transportation, energy or cultural change. Numerous rural regions of France are going through this period of great change.
The film was born out of necessity, while i had to move from my previous house. I had to look for a new house to rent in Uzège,as the previous one went on sale. I realized how hard it had become to live on this territory, to find a house big enough to accommodate four people at a reasonable price. Because such dwellings have become rare in Uzès, most of them now being second homes or seasonal rentals. This experience pointed to the changes that take place in Uzès.
I arrived in the early 2000s, at the time, it was different. It was one of the reasons why I chose to settle there: I was a young father of two children and I needed space. I have thought about how to approach the difficulty of housing without falling into militancy, because the theme is complex and deserves an in-depth analysis. My thoughts then expanded to a more global understanding of the problem. It was no longer just a housing problem, but a more global issue of transforming a rural world.
What differentiates the countryside from the city is nature and the relationship we entertain with it. The way a rural society changes its terrain, impacts the way it lives. It is fundamental and from an environmental point of view, which is becoming a global problem as as global climate is becoming more present.
The friendly black birds that I had noticed for a long time turned out to be a perfect subject to tackle more complex things.
What interests me is the collective organization of a society facing change. In the end, everyone chooses the solution that suits him and the consequences are never unanimous. Life is organized in its own way and we must act according to this rule, first for ourselves as individuals, and then as a society.
Some farmers believe that jackdaws can be a threat during the seed period. They solve the problem in their own way with a few gunshots. Today, the jackdaws are hunted out of the city center and farmers are forbidden to take their guns out. So, who benefits from the crime? The birds are neither left nor right, and I'm sure the people I'm interviewing about them will talk to me unsuspectingly:
It's only birds!
It's a light way to start the talk. It is the ideal pretext to tell a universal story, those of men, their ways of organizing social life, living conditions and all the stakes that entails. With the jackdaws, I found a simple angle to speak without annoying anyone. I hope that the strength of the film is based on this dual device: talking about birds to talk about humans; does it remind you of something?
As a director, I want to share my vision of my adopted homeland, to create a funny, tender and poetic image of this fight, and finally to contribute to the dialogue between humans to preserve a living environment and a unique terroir.
That's why HITCHCOCK À UZÈS is a modern tale, like a fable from La Fontaine. The fight of the men against the jackdaw is the pretext to evoke an issue of certain small towns and villages of Occitanie or elsewhere. To truly penetrate the world of fables and tales, history must develop whimsical and unexpected moments. Where does the documentary begin? Where does fiction end? The film aims voluntarily at crossing these two worlds with a touch of humor to better reveal the real, because the heart of the film is documentary. This leads to a form of surprise, of poetry, which allows one to escape a sterile or militant political speech.
The filming of this documentary takes place in the heart of real life, filming the inhabitants of Uzès and surrounding villages.
The fiction unravels with the presence of Alphonse who wonders about the fight between men and jackdaws. He is the narrator who becomes a visible actor, the voice over of a character in flesh and bone. This leads us to meet the inhabitants of Uzège to draw the portrait of the city and to discover how it works. He adopts several roles as a peasant journalist, naive and bona fide jester, but his interventions are thoughtful and relevant.
Alphonse's exploration of this human / bird conflict serves as a frame for the narrative. It frees the story which adopts some detours at the whim of the interlocutors, like this former teacher who roams the streets of Uzès on his Solex, a cigar at the corner of his mouth. Following him, one enters the gossips and the intimacy of Uzès. Who knows better the children of a city than a teacher?
The various characters of the film form a series of mini-portraits and give a face to the inhabitants of the city. The camera accompanies them in their daily lives, plunges into their lives and creates intimacy with them. Maintaining all a connection with the birds, they feed with their remarks the main plot of the film.
Then come a second question, which at first sight has nothing to do with jackdaws. How has the city of Uzès changed? What to do with traffic that has become too important for a small country town? What is the impact of so many second homes in the region? Why does youth leave the city?
The themes of the film are enriched and take on an allegorical dimension. The disturbing birds are no longer just the jackdaws, but the native inhabitants and the fight against the birds is illustrated by the attempt to change the way of life of a peasant France. It is this transformation that is questioned.
The conflict doubles up and becomes more complex: the city dweller who has chosen this city to make it his home, either permanently to adopt another rhythm of life, or punctually to rest a few weeks before returning to work in the big cities does not seem to be aware of the conflict with the "bird" that have always been around.
Uzès is growing fast. The number of inhabitants today oscillates between 8,000 inhabitants out of tourist season up to 30,000 during the summer.
This new urban population is at the same time a vector of enrichment and an inconvenience for the city. The financial contribution is far from negligible for the labor market. Restorers or building workers, for example, need this new population. Without it, the labor market situation would worsen even more, even though it is already very tense with a higher unemployment rate (20.4%) than the national average (8.9%). At the same time, land and rent prices are on the rise, while wages are stagnating.
Does this have anything to do with the rise of the FN (political extreme right wingers party), a political organization that claims to defend the nationalist values of France? Using poetry, combining reality and fiction, the film addresses the issue of jackdaws to reveal the complex issues related to the transformation of a rural landscape and the issues for its inhabitants.
Using illustrative snapshots gleaned in the city in resonance with the main purpose, we can confront different biases, highlighting the causes of conflicts in their universal character. Uzès raises an issue which would happen in any beautiful city. Why is the coexistence between modernity and peasant spirit so fragile? The questions raised by the birds point towards the social and human organization of the dense and complex links between the city, the village and its inhabitants.
The Uzège is thus considered as a rural microcosm in the modernity of the 21st century. The questions raised in the documentary go beyond the issue of the invasion of the jackdaws. The film, works on a superposition of associations, linking the bird to the human in order to open a philosophical reflection on the human condition in rural and tourist territory, and on the importance that modern society grants him today.
Michel Lafont is a puppeteer and French street actor, for the company LE RATATOUILLE THEATER, RADIOBICARBONATE, CACAHUÈTE and LE THÉÂTRE GROUP'. He has created the traveling theatre festival LES TEMPS DES CERISES taking place every year in the community of Pays of Uzès. Michel is the ideal comedian to play the role of Alphonse in the film. Those who know him know he is a recognized artist, appreciated and has a very sharp tongue! It is through his commitment to the implementation of artistic and cultural projects in rural areas that he best embodies this desire to revitalize and rebuild society.
Andreas Landeck is a German movie and theater director, cameraman and editor who has chosen Uzès as his adopted homeland for almost twenty years. By dint of always working elsewhere, the desire to turn again a film in his region (see bonus), came to him. HITCHCOCK À UZÈS will be his first feature film as a director.
Allocation of funds
The entire collection will go to the association FLEURS DE BITUME that co-produces the film with the director. It exists since 2007 and its head office is in Uzès.
We thought long and hard about how much money we had to ask. This questioning allowed us to define the necessary steps to successfully complete the project.
The first level to reach is 5.000 €.
This allows us to finish the shoot by squeezing our belt very tightly and relying on streetwise system, it's in the box !!!
The second level to reach is 10.000 €.
This allows us to create original music tracks for the film and 3D animations of the jackdaws. The editing can begin.
The third step to reach (attention big jump !!) is 20.000 €.
This makes it possible to achieve the editing with an outside editor, to access a professional studio for mixing, color correction and output on a DCP (DigitalCinemaPackage), the necessary support for broadcasting in movie theaters.
Why only 5,000 € to complete the filming? Because the movie HITCHCOCK IN UZES is for the most part shot. So far, Andreas, Michel and other small hands have carried the project alone without any external financial support. Nevertheless, the remaining scenes require more complex and expensive technical means. That's why today we are launching our crowdfunding campaign on KISSKISSBANKBANK: WE NEED YOU!
The association Fleurs de bitume (Facebook link) has requested financial founding to the Department of the Gard, to the Occitan Region and will apply to the European LEADER funds up to 15,000 euros in total. These subsidies are not yet confirmed and it is not yet certain that they will succeed. We are also exploring parallel other tracks to find the necessary means and to complete the adventure comfortably installed in an armchair in a movie theatre.
FLEURS DE BITUME is trying to enter into partnerships with virtual animation schools to animate the jackdaws. This idea seems very promising and would be beneficial for everyone. Students will work on a real movie and their school will gain visibility and promotion through the film broadcast. The economy of this partnership will generate a significant saving in production.
This summer, Andreas Landeck was at the festival LES ÉTATS GÉNÉRAUX DU FILM DOCUMENTAIRE in Lussas in the Ardèche region. He returned with a promise of access to a professional studio for the color correction and mixing ON CONDITION that the film is top of the game.
WE ARE WORKING ON IT!!
It lacks aerial shots, which will be made using a drone. A view from above to represent the look of the jackdaw and to observe Uzège from another point of view.
Some interviews have yet to be shot. Collecting the opinion of the Duke of Uzès, through the history of his family will add an historical point of view. This is also the time to film the famous Hitchcock shot in VERTIGO which is technically very complex to achieve.
Another planned interview concerns an association that is fighting against the extension of a shopping mall on a piece of land of exceptional quality in the region. The alternative project proposes to create a market gardening.
The film also lacks the final scene where Alphonse finds a domesticated jackdaw and takes it up during a hot air balloon journey to his feathered friends.
Another scene with Alphonse that is 100% fiction, includes the famous plane attack scene of the movie "North by Northwest", from Alfred Hitchcock, except that instead of a plane, it will be a jackdaw.
A composer will create a soundtrack for the film freely inspired by Hitchcock's musical works.
Well, you understand the editing, mixing and color correction are important expenses in the making of the film. Everything depends on the amount collected. Given the choice, and the budget, the director prefers to work with an editor. The advantage of a blank look outside shooting opens other possibilities that if mounted "home". But we will do with what we have and we will go to the end! Resourcefulness is a longstanding companion and is often inspiring. English subtitles will also be made for the film.
seven days of shooting: actor cost: 2,800.00 €
sound engineer cost: 2,800.00 €
drone operator cost, equipment and insurance: 2,000.00 €
post-production: post-production editing (with editor): 10.000,00 €
sound post-production (cleaning soundtrack and mixing): 5.000,00 €
color correction: 10.000,00 €
DCP creation: 1.000,00 €
musical creation: 3.000,00 €
traveling expenses: 1.000,00 €
TOTAL: 37.600,00 €
With 20,000 euros: we will have just enough to finish the film, by tightening our belts. We will not complain because what matters is that the film exists!
With 30 000 euros: Like a rolling stone !! This is the minimum budget to do what is left to do, we are paying the people who work on the film a bit.
And if we arrive at 40,000 euros: Rolling stone power two, because the director will be paid too! Then we will organize a big party with all the team of the film, the association Fleurs de bitume and all the Kisskissbankbankers to toast at the the film off the studio coming out still hot! PROMISED!
The third week of November was blocked to tackle the rest of the shooting with Michel. Then come another two to three days of shooting with the drone.
Then it's the creation of animated jackdaws during the winter and the composition of the music.
If all goes well, a first version will leave the editing room in April. It is with this version that other doors will open to gain access to pro studios and fine tune editing, images and sound.
The preview and the sending to the film festivals is scheduled for September 2019.
And as a bonus, you have access to the short film CORRESPONDANCES that the director shot with friends in Uzès between 2008-2009, produced by Fleurs de Bitume to know a little bit about his universe. Enjoy! The movie will only be visible during the crowd-funding period. At the international festival Go-Short in Nimeguen /Netherlands in 2009, the film won best European short film in the Art FILM category.