A Case Study The Making of “EROTIC”
Narrative | Dramatic Features
Film Name EROTIC (feature film) – French Language with English Subtitles
Genre: Psychological Drama/Thriller
Date: January 15, 2020
Director: Alexandre David Lejuez
Producer: Alexandre David Lejuez
Writer: Alexandre David Lejuez
Cinematographer: Alexandre David Lejuez
Editor: Alexandre David Lejuez
Composer: Esteban Debruille
Production Company: Noctura Films
Budget: 1000 EUROS approx
Shooting Format: Digital
Screening Format: MOV, DCP
World Premiere: the film festival
Awards: 5 Selections, 3 awards, 1 final – Best Experimental Film (Kiarostami Film Festival – Turkey), Best Experimental Film – Critic’s Choice Award / Best Photography – Audience’s Choice Award (Tagore International Film Festival – India), Finalist Best Photography (Prague International Monthly Film Festival – Czech Republic)
Other Selections: Rome Independent Prisma Awards, Vesuvius International Monthly Film Festival
indieactivity: Give the full Official Synopsis for your film?
Alexandre David Lejuez (ADL): The narrative construction of EROTIC is quite simple. The film is about a young man, Adam, and a young woman, Angele, who meet again one evening, after a separation of several years. Their sexual desire for each other is always present. The heart of the film is about this rediscovery of the senses. In the second part of the film, there is a kind of melancholy that gradually settles. Once the night has passed, Adam detaches from Angele very quickly. He is a lonely being who does not want to resume his old love habits and he prefers to trust his sexual fantasies.
Angele is a woman passionate about love in general. She suffers from this leak of Adam who took advantage of her. Finally, Adam, although he retires and tries to take pleasure elsewhere (by watching an erotic film), cannot bring himself to forget his story and his love for Angele. He continues to dream, to fantasize about her, just like Angele for that matter. They remain united forever, by this desire for each other. It is a kind of mental love. Maybe the most beautiful.
Development & Financing?
Alexandre David Lejuez (ADL): The project is self-produced with my collective Noctura Films. The basic idea was about the progressive rise of the senses and the sexual pleasure between two beings who love each other. It is a fairly experimental idea. Very quickly, I imagined the sequence of presentation of the character of Angèle when she is facing the camera and that she seduces the spectator. It is the most concrete sequence in writing, with the dialogue that goes with it. Likewise, I knew that the film would be musical and that it would include classical music performed on the synthesizer. I find that there is something very personal, very deep, and hallucinatory through synthesized musical notes.
The Official Trailer for EROTIC (2020) written and directed by Alexandre David Lejuez from Noctura Films
The script was mainly built during the editing. Many sequences were filmed at that time because I found that the film lacked sentimental and psychological depth. The writing phase was deliberately restricted. I really like improvising on both the set and the editing and being surprised by new ideas that come to me, even if it means changing the course of the narration. The realization of experimental works allows this kind of process and that’s what I really appreciate. There are no narrative rules.
So obviously, it was impossible to obtain financial aid for production by proposing a project of this kind. In the end, the film takes the form of a waking dream, almost abstract, it is not a banal, conventional film. So I carried the project myself from start to end and I’m proud of it.
ADL: Almost all of the film was shot between June and July 2019 (about two weeks). The heart of the film (the erotic sequences) were produced during this period in a studio in Normandy. The beach sequence was improvised in Italy, at the Lido’s beach. Then, quickly, I went to the editing and mixing phase, which took me about six months, until January 2020. It was the most complex step because I actually wrote the film at the time. I added sequences to it, which we shot in Paris, voiceovers, I documented myself on erotic art (the introductory sequence is made up of paintings, drawings, engravings which I appreciate) and I even used rushes from my old movies. I worked a lot with my composer, Esteban Debruille. In the end, I would say that I spent around 85% of my time in post-production.
Festival Preparation & Strategy?
ADL: I want to show my work mainly abroad. The erotic, sexual side does not scare me and I do not think that it is a restraint for the festivals because precisely, in my film nothing is shocking, there is very little nudity, all passes by the suggestion of the bodies and physical love. The goal is to send this film to independent festivals open to all forms of cinema, including experimental cinema.
ADL: For the moment the film has not been released. Only at festivals. Its official release will no doubt be on VOD at the end of the year. I also hope to be able to have it projected in Paris.
Advice from the Filmmaker?
ADL: As a 23 years old director, I don’t really have any advice to give except that with determination and passion, you can do what you want.