Interview. Mikhael Hers presents Les Passagers de la nuit: “Cinema is a space for self-fulfillment”

Mikheal Hers presented his latest film, Les Passagers de la nuit, in preview in Cherbourg.  He will compete in the official selection of the Berlinale 2022.
Mikhael Hers presented his latest film, Les Passagers de la nuit, in preview in Cherbourg (Manche). He will compete in the official selection of the Berlinale 2022. (© La Presse de la Manche)

“Passengers of the night”by mikhael herwill be released in cinemas this Wednesday, May 4, 2022with, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Emmanuelle BeartQuito Rayon Richter, Noée Abita and Megan Northam.

The director was at Cherbourg-en-Cotentin (Channel), this Friday, April 29, 2022, for a preview.

“Sweet and melancholy”

News: In your films, like Amanda, you deal with difficult topics, often grief. In this film, it is a slightly different grief that is presented.

Mikhael Hendes: Les Passagers de la Nuit talks about separation, absence, pastime. It’s a form of grief. At least the disappearance in a slightly more abstract and metaphorical way than with Amanda. From what appears in the projections, the audience seems to say that it is a rather soft and melancholy film. Although in my opinion there are darker things that work underground and that irrigate the film. There is the spectrum of illness for the protagonist, an illness she has had in the past. And then this character, Talulah, a young marginalized woman who has never known this sense of home and belonging.

Is it an obsession for you to talk about grief?

MH: I’m having trouble explaining it. When I start writing, these themes of separation, of disappearance, always present themselves in one way or another. I try to deal with it in a way that is life-oriented, in the sense that even periods of grief are crossed by life.

Maybe making movies allows us to find some kind of peace in relation to this issue that inhabits all of us.

Mikhaël Hendes

A sensory cinema

There is something of New Wave in your movies. Are the instructors from this period among your inspirations?

MH: In New Wave, my favorite is Éric Rohmer. It is the filmmakers of this period who speak most to me. Afterwards, I like movies by filmmakers where I say to myself “hey, these movies could only be made by them”.

And you wanted to know how to define your cinema?

MH: It’s delicate. But I will say, and I hope, a rather sensuous cinema.

Videos: currently on Actu

When talking about sensory films, is there a desire to create new ways of making cinema?

MH: Maybe on a question of form, yes. There we found something for Les Passagers de la Nuit. The idea of ​​the film was to feel the time. For that, we tried to invent a form with my film photographer, where we mixed different image formats, different image selections. There was actually a way of trying to immerse the spectator in the form to give him the feel of the 1980s.

A space with dreams and freedom

And why this particular period?

MH: These are the years of my childhood, it was the first impulse for me to make this film, to immerse myself in those years. For oddly enough, I feel constituted by that period. We are truly made of childhood and youth. It is the year of foundation.

When did you want to make movies?

MH: Since childhood. I think it comes from my father. He did work that did not interest him at all, and he loved movies. Suddenly I think I represented the cinema as a space of dreams, of freedom. I think I fantasized about it as a space for self-fulfillment.

Interview by Chloé TRIDERA

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