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MOURET, EMMANUEL – CHANGE OF ADDRESS

By Andrew L. Urban
Emmanuel Mouret, writer/director and star of Change of Address had a change of address himself when we were trying to hook up for a phone interview: he was heading from Paris to Bangkok. So we exchanged emails for this interview about Change of Address, in which the boy meets girl story is cleverly revised into a change of heart story.


My first email to Emmanuel Mouret comes back with the reply: “I am about to get on a train in Thailand…will answer soon.” Mouret is combining business with pleasure, attending the French Film Festival in Bangkok where Change of Address is screening, and then taking a week off after finishing his latest film, Shall We Kiss. (He again stars in the film, opposite Virginie Ledoyen.)

His next email, a couple of days later, begins with an apology: “Sorry for my very bad English. I hope the ideas of my answers will come to you.” But if Mouret’s English is imperfect, his filmmaking is delightful. Instead of settling for a love triangle, Emmanuel Mouret creates new layers of entanglement opportunities with a four way adventure into new romance. An inventive romantic comedy that refreshes the tastebuds for the genre is a welcome change of cinematic address, and this film is clearly one of those – which is why the French Directors Guild selected it for their Cannes Fortnight in 2006. (After seeing the film there, Urban Cinefile’s editors bumped into Natalie Miller of Sharmill Films and urged her to see it with a view to buying the Australian rights. She did.)

Mouret shot Changement d'Adresse last year, “in January and beginning of February, I was very happy about the cast and the crew but very afraid no one will appreciate my humour.” I suggest to him that making comedy (even romantic comedy) is usually difficult, especially to capture the right tone in every scene. “In this case you were performing as well as directing - what were the challenges doing both in this film?”

"allowing experimentation"

He wrote back: “When I am directing a film, my challenge is to make the actors/actress feel relax for them to be more creative. When I play with them, they see that I am not so good, that I try different things, so they can be more confident to make propositions.” The ideas of his answers are coming to me: he is not a tyrant dictator and he gets good performances by allowing experimentation.

But the script did not need much experimentation during the shoot. “In the action and dialogue there is no change from the screenplay, except some cuts during the editing. But it’s true that a film doesn't exist before is finishing, you change the film at any moment when you are writing, but also you are casting or searching for locations or editing or making music.”

Considering the subject matter, I ask if the story and/or characters were all entirely imagined or did he borrow from real life? “Imagination birth from all the images, sensations, feelings which came to you” he writes somewhat cryptically, but I gather he means that it’s all fantasy, but the process of imagination is fed by real life.”

"The obstinacy with love and the malleability of the heart"

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Emmanuel Mouret.... in Change of Address

CHANGE OF ADDRESS
Australian release: June 28, 2007
New to Paris and looking for accommodation, French hornist David (Emmanuel Mouret) is approached in the street by Anne (Frederique Bel), and invited to inspect a share apartment for friend - which turns out to be herself. She seems attracted to David but she tells him she has a boyfriend. David starts tutoring the shy and silent Julia (Fanny Valette), daughter of bourgeois mum (Ariane Ascaride), and tells Anne he’s smitten. But as they exchange romantic confidences, they end up sleeping together, only to quickly apologise next morning. Anne even offers to help David woo Julia, starting with a weekend at her mum’s shack by the beach, where a chance meeting with restaurateur Julien (Dany Brillant) sets off a new round of romantic complications.







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