Darn sweet Studio

Ok, if you or I had any doubts, I happen to work at the coolest Animation Studio on earth: Jean Pierre Jeunet is here today for a talk and Q&A. How sweet is that ? Unfortunately I forgot my camera phone at home, no mobile live blogging today … X(. I’ll see if I can tell you a bit about the visit after it though …

Jean Pierre Jeunet site

update: Wow, the Q&A was great, Jeunet is such a nice, honest, interesting man. He is very direct and funny, he got quite a few laughs. He’s completely self taught, never went to film school. He’s quite humble about writing, storytelling and how difficult it is to find the right story to tell. Especially after a movie like Amelie. He made everyone laugh when he pointed out he put too many of his ideas (all of them he joked) in Amelie … and that one could make 3 movies with that many ideas … 10 french movies. Everybody cracked up to that. He really seems to despise French cinema and its realism.
Regarding his notorious attention to details he said he needs to love everything in a movie. A film to him is not unlike the toy box in Amelie: it needs to contain all the small wonderfull things in life that insterest him, the poetic details he loves. In that respect he needs to make personal movies.
He also told us he still often visits the Cafe De Duex Moulin in Paris. It seems like every five minutes someone takes a photo of the cafe which is the main stop to the popular “Amelie Tour of Paris”. What’s funny is that more than once standing in front of the cafe, in an instance even in company of a famous american actress, he was actually asked to step to the side by some tourist trying to take a photo of the Amelie Cafe’. Little did they know “Sans its director”.
Well, what can I say, quite the lunch break …

PS
One last interesting tidbit: when asked regarding his thoughts on the latest cinema trends, he answered he’s very tired of american action movies but that he absolutely loves the latest american TV series. He mentioned 6 feet under, Sex in the city and the Sopranos. Jeunet admitted that while he was never asked, he’d love directing a Sopranos episode. Any HBO producers reading ? X)

25 Responses to “Darn sweet Studio”

  1. roque Says:

    Now that’s just not fair… I love love love his work. Quick, ask him when “Delicatessen” is coming on DVD R1!!

  2. Pascal Says:

    Hey Enrico

    Very cool, i’ve worked on Amelie and he gave me great advices back when i was trying to film my very first short film, he’s a veeeery nice guy, you should have a great time.

    Btw, I got no luck with the december show but thanks a lot for your help :)

  3. Nick Says:

    My god!
    you guys are nuts.

    very envious.

  4. Pascal Says:

    I’m happy to read you enjoyed the Q&A, I could give you a few more info if you ever need some (the american actress he was standing with in front of Les Deux Moulins was Jodie Foster before they decided to work together on A Very Long Engagement).

    One thing though… one of his most important advice to me was to be careful with “bad good ideas”, the ones that seem to be good when you first think about them but end up leading you to the wrong directions.
    And for some reason this piece of advice has haunted me for years and i could never be satisfied with any idea, and would always feel like all my ideas were “bad good ideas”…

    Later I got to work with another director who gave me his own advice, i still cherish it today as it changed my perspectives on my own process, not because it was right unlike JPJ’s comment but just because it matched more the way i work i guess.
    He told me there are no such things as bad ideas. If you have an idea and you feel like it’s not working, you might waste more time looking for another one (and another one and another one…) than trying to find the way this idea could work.

    And THAT was definitely the most valuable advice i ever received (though it might sound very simplish).

    I’m still very thanksful for the time i’ve spent with JPJ and the things he tought me though :)

  5. Chad Kerychuk Says:

    Along with yourselves, you guys get all the cool guests!

    I don’t watch any of the shows he’s mentioned (tried but can’t sit through them) but it’d be interesting to see what he could do with a North American television episode.

    As an aside, I remember standing in line at a certain large video store hearing a customer complain about all this gratuitous sex in a film and that his children were ‘traumatized’ by viewing it. He went on to question how a family video store could rent such an adult natured film. Why was the rating the way it was? ( I guess it’s different in Canada) “Doesn’t the store have any morals?? Where was the manager?? If I had wanted to rent a ‘porno’ I would have went to the adult video store!” This guy was pretty darn livid. I thought, this must be some nasty movie…

    The film…Amelie. Some people….go figure.

  6. Enrico Says:

    Roque- I think really soon ! He mentioned it’s coming out in weeks … and this remastered DVD finally has the right color … he mentioned it’s the first time it looks right.

    Pascal- Oh neat ! you worked with him!?? Very cool … what did you do on Amelie? Very curious …
    Sorry to hear the hook up with PR didn’t work … X(.

    Nick- yah … sorreeee ;)

    Pascal2- A thanks so much for sharing … yeah he did mention it was Jodie Foster at the Cafe’. I wasn’t sure how widespread that was and how kosher it was to spread it … X)
    Very interesting … the things you learned and “unlearned” …
    Who is the other director you worked with, if you don’t mind me asking? Would I know him?

    Chad- Oh wow, interesting story … I thought you were gonna say Delicatessen … but Amelie … oh well, what can you do …

    Someone actually pointed out to me that the Sopranos is over, this is the last season … oh well … too late.
    X)

    E

  7. Gerald Says:

    That’s soooo great enrico. That cafe story was hilarious! I love his work. This has got to be one of your best Monday’s at work :) Thanks for sharing.

  8. Louie del Carmen Says:

    You guys at Pixar are very lucky! I absolutely love this man’s work and he has yet to make a bad film. (except maybe for Alien: Resurrection but it happens to the best of them)

  9. Pascal Says:

    The other director i mentionned was Jean-Jacques Beineix, you might know him from Betty Blue and Diva.

    I met Jeunet at Cannes when City of Lost Children opened the Festival, just bumped into him in the street and he was still pretty unknown back then (and still is somehow, few people knowing his face) but i was already a big fan. He was very available with me and we stayed in touch for a few years.
    I did uncredited props and set design on Amelie, he brought me in during production (long story, part of the uncredited thing which is fine with me, I was more “giving a hand”).

    I’ve always wished he could direct a live version of Little Nemo In Slumberland…

    And no worries for the PR and the show, that’s not enough to ruin it for me :) can’t wait for december!
    Hope I’ll also make it to yours, it’s getting closer….

  10. alisa Says:

    Jean-Pierre Jeunet is one of my favorite filmmakers and Amelie is probably my favorite movie! It sounds like an awesome Monday.

  11. n* Says:

    Wow–a live action Little Nemo in Slumberland by JPJ would be AMAZING. What a terrific idea! You should give him a call Pascal…

  12. Pascal Says:

    Haha :)
    I told him a few times..

  13. Enrico Says:

    Gerald- you’re very welcome …

    Louie- I have to admit I haven’t seen his last movie yet, I have heard very mixed reviews … I am netflixing asap though …

    Pascal- I didn’t know of Beinex … I’ll look for those movies. Wow, thanks for sharing your experience, very interesting Pascal. And it’s funny you should mention Little Nemo in Slumberland because just yesterday I received the huge book of collected sunday strips, in their original size. IT’s amazing … I’ll have to take some pictures of it … Jeunet would make an amazing Nemo, you’re right. He said he’s actually adapting another book that was a bestseller in the last couple of years. I won’t spill the beans on that, since I am not sure if it’s kosher …
    Are you planning to come to the artshow in LA ? That would be great … we’re actually trying to make a mini documentary of it … X)

    Alisa- I am with you on all counts … X)

    n* Pascal – wish he listened to you … ;)

    e

  14. Pascal Says:

    Yes it’s fine to talk about it now.
    http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117931447?categoryid=13&cs=1&s=h&p=0

    I love Nemo too, wish i could find the complete strips, the editions i know of are sold out, how can that be ?!

    And yes i want to go to LA for the show, I could help you if you need, i have a HD camera and all the stuff… I’m just waiting for clients to pay me for past jobs, right now i’m a bit stuck, grrr.
    I’ll let you know :)

  15. tsm Says:

    Oh man, Beineix’ movie Betty Blue is amazing; one of my favorites. Check out the director’s cut.

  16. Enrico Says:

    Can I borrow it Ted?
    X)

    e

  17. Daniel Says:

    Oh wow, Jeunet’s directing “Life of Pi”. That’s awesome!

    Enrico, I am so jealous. Thanks for the report. I gotta go work harder now and make it to Pixar! :O)

  18. ck Says:

    e,

    If you watch Betty Blue, you must see Diva. Beineix definately has photographer’s eye. There is great music – “Aria from La Wally”. There is mixture of Opera, assassins, corruption, and caviar.

    cK

  19. Louie del Carmen Says:

    “A Very Long Engagement” is well done. It doesn’t have the charm of “Amelie” but worth seeing all the way.

  20. laurent Says:

    do you know if he will have the project to do a cartoons in the futur?
    I hope!
    it’s looking strange that jean pierre jeunet gone to pixar so innocently…

  21. Enrico Says:

    Daniel- sounds good right ? He said he might be crazy since he’s decided to make a movie with a boy, a tiger and the sea … quite the mix of some of the hardest things to make a movie with … X)

    Ck- ok, sure sounds interesting … I’ll netflix them asap !

    Pascal- did you work with Beineix on any of these films ?

    Louie- yah, that’s what I’ve heard … and also that maybe a little cutting might have made it a better movie …

    Laurent- Uhm, not that I know of …

    e

  22. Pascal Says:

    Laurent – No project that i know of for a cartoon, i know he was asked to direct the latest Harry Potter and turned it down, and was also a possible candidate for a Tintin live movie.

    But he is a big fan of animation (his first short films were animated) so i can’t picture him saying no to an offer to visit Pixar.
    As for directing a movie for Pixar, I’m not sure if he’d be excited about that, not because of Pixar of course but i think he needs to actually DO (in a physical way) everything himself on a movie.
    But he is a control freak and for specific projects (NEEEEEMMMOOOOO with Pixar hahaha) animation could definitely be the best format.

    Enrico – I was just a kid when Diva and Betty Blue were released, I worked with him on something for his production company.

  23. John Hoffman Says:

    Ah man, I am SO jealous of you Pixar guys, sure you have cool jobs, but you got to hear a talk from JEAN PIERRE JEUNET!!!! One of my all time favorite directors. He introduced a screening of Delicatessen at the Mill Valley film festival. That has always been my favorite film of his. I was stunned by how amazing the proper print looks, it really is gorgeous. I hope you’re right about it on DVD, I’ve waited for years for that movie! Thanks for sharing Enrico.

  24. Enrico Says:

    Pascal- A 2nd nemo at Pixar ? eh eh … unlikely, but it would be pretty darn cool …

    John- yeah he pointed out the color was totally off previously, I really look forward to a color corrected DVD.

    e

  25. amb Says:

    wow, how very nice. i just rented ‘a very long engagement’ this week with netflix. it’s hard to watch but it’s a very powerful and passionate anti war film.