Interview with Sophie Letourneur

By Young Film Critic Aina Randrianatoandro

In the midst of International Film Festival Rotterdam 2020, we met with the French filmmaker and screenwriter Sophie Letourneur in the festival heart de Doelen to talk about Énorme, her fourth feature film. The movie took off after being selected in the Big Screen Competition section. This comedy-drama tells the story of Claire, a famous pianist who is unexpectedly pregnant, thanks to Frederic, her over-controlling husband.

Ten years after your feature-length debut film La vie au ranch was selected for International Film Festival Rotterdam 2010, what does the selection of Énorme in this same festival represent to you?
I’m very honoured that the film was selected in such an artistically demanding festival; one where the staging and cinematographic research come before the commercial interests or glamour. To me IFFR is a festival that really highlights cinema and discussions about cinema. Énorme is both a large audience comedy and a research film. It's complicated to mix comedy and poetry, to find particular editing rhythms or original staging devices. It’s not easy to accomplish. I'm particularly happy that the film has been included in the programme and while the public might laugh in the movie theatre, they are also interested in its artistic side.

What do you believe could be the film's advantages in the competition?
It's hard to say because I just arrived yesterday and haven’t seen the other competing movies yet. Winning the award would be great for many different reasons. It’s a film that has a very original style. While the film is light-hearted and funny, I believe I also approached important questions, took great aesthetic care and invested extensive research into the film.

  • Sophie Letourneur at IFFR 2020

  • Sophie Letourneur at IFFR 2020

  • Still Énorme

  • Sophie Letourneur at IFFR 2020

How did you choose the subject of the movie? Where did the idea come from? What was your intention?
I have two children, so I think I wanted to talk about pregnancy, but not the way romantic comedies do. I wanted to talk about the complexity of being pregnant and giving birth, and discuss having a baby-making machine. Which does not feel inherently natural to me. I think that for every woman, there can be lots of moments that you feel this monstrosity and experience an unnatural side to childbearing. Even if it’s beautiful or something mystical and archaic that exists beyond us, the fact that we are women with reproductive capacities is not a simple and natural truth for me.

Sophie Letourneur

More information about the French screenwriter and filmmaker

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What are your plans for the film after the International Film Festival Rotterdam?
The film will be released in France on 3 June. I hope that will be followed by releases to many other countries across the world. I am curious to discover how the audiences from different countries, informed by their divergent cultures, will react to the film.