Je suis ton châtiment (“I am your retribution”) is a shortfilm that could have turn into a classic: starring cult filmmakers (among which Denis Podalydès, Jan Kounen, Marc Caro, Albert Dupontel, Gaspar Noé and even some actors such as Zinedine Soualem) which were figures of what would be called “New French Extrimity” by american film critics, it could almost presage Laurent Achard’s Dernières séances - with the small difference that in the shortfilm by Bréaud, it’s a cinephile viewer, instead of the projectionist, who wishes to become a murderer as in a slasher movie.
Produced by Le Village de Nuit for Canal+, it was broadcasted in 1996. The shortfilm section, then led by Pascal Faure, wanted to produce Mondo Kino, a series made of 10 genre shortfilms, giving a genre per director, the latter being chosen by Le Village. Were involved: Christophe Smith and Benoît Delépine (À l’arrachée), Christian Merret-Palmair (Bons baisers de Suzanne), Vincent Hachet (La capsule), Vincent Ravalec (Le dur métier de policier) or the Poiraud brothers (Salinas) and Marc Cortès (Nouveaux mariés).
When Le Village offered Guillaume Bréaud to do the project, most genres were already done: western, crime, comedy… But he could make a horror movie. Back then, he worked with Jan Kounen’s screenwriter, Carlo de Boutiny, and one thing leading to another, he met other filmmakers, all of whom were into obscure films rarely screened in France. That’s how he offered them, as they were already directing such movies, to star in his film for short parts, “as a quotation”, he told us.
Nowadays a screenwriter (he wrote Eat the Night, the next flick from Caroline Poggi and Jonathan Vinel whose last film Jessica Forever starred Love’s Aomi Muyock), Guillaume Bréaud didn’t attend film school but started to work on shortfilms as early as possible.
He met Gaspar thanks to Stéphane Drouot (whom Gaspar liked a lot: he made Intoxication with him and gave him a role alongside Philippe Nahon in Irréversible). He explains: “[I wanted to do a shortfilm produced by a friend and] I was looking for a flat with a long corridor, and someone told me “You know, Stéphane Drouot” - who is an important person for both me and Gaspar - “shot everything [his Sci-fi short Star Suburb] in his flat. He might lend it”. I got in touch with Stéphane whom I didn’t know back then [and we shot in his flat].
Gaspar had met him because he wanted to shoot Carne in Scope 16mm and Stéphane had developed an anamorphic system for 16mm cameras, for Star Suburb. Once, Stéphane told me “There’s a friend, Gaspar, who asked me to watch a test-screening of his shortfilm, would you like to join?” and that’s how I saw Carne for the first time.
The time between the decision to do Je suis ton châtiment and actually starting the project was short, just as the shooting itself : “two days to shoot everything”, including a night for the fake movie scenes.
We’ll notice in the credits that the soundtrack was composed by John Powell who worked on many blockbusters afterwards, especially at Dreamworks: Chicken Run, Shrek or even Ice Age. Besides the guests we mentioned earlier, some people who worked with Gaspar are also credited:
Stéphane Derdérian (assistant director for I Stand Alone or Irréversible)
Katy Jones (SFX make-up on Climax)
Olivier Do Huu (Sound on Carne, I Stand Alone or On dirait qu’on serait)
Dominique Lacour (thanked in Carne)
Marc Bruckert (mentioned in I Stand Alone but they probably worked together on Une expérience d’hypnose télévisuelle and other things produced by Le Village)
Charles Petit (Une expérience d’hypnose télévisuelle, Si Mince, Insanely Cheerful, Sodomites, I Stand Alone, Irréversible)
Jean-Christophe Spadaccini (regular make-up artist for Gaspar since I Stand Alone)
Denis Gastou (Irréversible)
Grégoire Pedron (I Stand Alone)
Katy Le Bihan (post-production for AIDS)
Fabien Krzyzanowski (thanked in Carne)
The company Duran (pre-mixing I Stand Alone)
Finally, Guillaume Bréaud himself is thanked in I Stand Alone as he lent his Citroën 2CV so the crew can carry the shooting gear, a “huge artistic contribution” he said ironically.
Nowadays, Guillaume Bréaud explains that “Gaspar remained a friend, whom I saw evolve and manage to make the films he had in mind.”. He saw how the development of Enter the Void (which he knew under its working title : Soudain le vide) and consider Vortex a beautiful movie.
Un immense merci à Guillaume Bréaud pour sa disponibilité. Le film a été publié avec son accord ainsi que celui de ses producteurs.
Propos recueillis par Alexis Veille avec la contribution de Tanguy Renault pour le sous-titrage.
↑ (1) — They produced the music video Si Mince or Une expérience d’hypnose télévisuelle among other things. They have gone bankrupt since then. Nicolas Leclercq, who was associated with Charles Petit, decided to pursue on his own with his company Entropie which co-produced Enter the Void
↑ (2) — Pascale Faure left Canal + in 2020 and was replaced by Brigitte Pardo, who was already involved in Mondo Kino
↑ (3) — We don’t know if they actually ended up with 10 shortfilms