[September 15 2016]
“The Misfortunes of François Jane” is a new feature film from Patrick Pearse, exploring the complexity of human psyche. Set in Paris, the movie documents an internal journey of François Jane – an obsessive and self-destructive character. One day, he starts to follow Charlotte, who soon becomes his object of desire. Pearse’s metaphorical is accompanied with music composed by Graz Mulcahy. “The Misfortunes of François Jane” will premiere worldwide on September, 28th at Palais Tokyo in Paris during an open screening (RSVP for free tickets here). To celebrate it’s release Purple presents an exclusive interview with director Patrick Pearse, and now on Purple TV the official trailer and a never-before-seen documentary highlighting the score by composer Mulcahy.
Purple — What inspired The Misfortunes of Francois Jane?
Patrick Pearse — Pure observation. A combination of observing my own complexities and insecurities of the past and the reactions they prompted me to have throughout various elements of society. Friends and family inspired me, only perhaps some of those observations are more current and less retrospective. Strangers too, strangers always inspire, you never know if they are telling the truth, but strangers usually make for good shrinks, they’re great listeners and they come without all the academic nonsense.
Purple — Is the picture autobiographical in any sense?
Patrick Pearse —Not really, some of the inspirations behind the personalities traits might have once been autobiographical, but truthfully more diluted than what you see on screen and something I have grown out of a long time ago, thankfully. Francois Jane is a sensationalized beast, a poisonous cocktail derived from various people I have come across in my brief 30 years.
Purple — The Misfortunes of Francois Jane is a very cinematic depiction of Jane’s inward journey. Do you prioritize the visual language over dialogue?
Patrick Pearse — I did for this subject matter, in particular. When I got to post production and really became closer than ever with my character, I realized his layered personality and ideal world was best served visually intensive to completely depict his world and the true depth of his character.
Purple — Why did you choose Paris as a backdrop of your characters’ inner struggles?
Patrick Pearse — My love for the city runs deeper than most places on this planet. I feel like I have a strange connection with the streets and the daily occurrences in this city. For me, there are so many little pockets of beauty throughout Paris that speak to me on the inside than most would care to notice. Once you live in Paris you realize how harsh she can really be, to survive her wrath and feel comfortable in Paris you really need to be at peace with your own internal equilibrium, to appreciate and enjoy her beauty amongst the chaos. Paris is the perfect city to highlight and isolate one’s internal struggles, she lets you get close then tries to break you.
Purple — How did the sound collaboration with Graz Mulcahy come about?
Patrick Pearse — Graz scored my last film, “Premiere” for Ellery in Paris, which was a feature length documentary. We both really enjoyed that collaboration and decided to continue working together, we seem to have developed a creative language that speaks to each other. We became close as friends and this project interested him enough to get involved 100%. I wouldn’t have it any other way and neither would he, I hope it’s the same for all my future film projects.
Purple — Why does the sound play such an important role in the film?
Patrick Pearse — The film’s sound is inspired by video installations. I often describe this film as a feature length installation. Music and sound design play such an integral role in the narrative of video art, so I wanted to use that method in the construction of this film. Rather than just complement the story, I wanted the music to help tell it on both an emotional and linear level.
Purple — The protagonists, Francois Jane and Charlotte, are self-destructive and have trouble fitting into societal structures. Were there any taboos you tried to break with the new film?
Patrick Pearse — Not intentionally. Perhaps the personal inspirations allowed for the characters to organically confront certain taboos in present day society such as elements of normative behaviour, but it was not something that I intentionally set out to achieve but rather just originated as a byproduct from the extreme nature of the characters I developed.
Purple — For Francois Jane, Charlotte embodies an ideal and salvation. Do you think it is naivety that can lead us to most of disillusions?
Patrick Pearse — I think it depends on age and maturity. In the film, it’s a time in which we see Francois Jane effected by various degrees of naivety that lead him to a disillusioned state of reality. However, with life experiences and age, our naivety as humans is either created by the subconscious’ smoke and mirrors in order to protect ourselves or it’s just simply a conscious facade. Los Angeles, or social social media for the matter, is often a good example of the latter. Hence why there is no technology in the film, an aspect of present day society that was purposely removed. That might have been a little bit indulgent and fantastical on my part 🙂
Purple — Why is metaphor such an important tool in the film?
Patrick Pearse — For various reasons. I wanted the film to appeal to an audience that could relate to the characters and/or the construction of the film, through their own personalities or artistic interests in life, I thought the heavy use of metaphor would narrow that target audience. The metaphors in the film are often an accentuation to depict Francois Jane’s ideal world, which in fact is an interpretation of his mind and changes depending on what the audience thinks is real or not, so what better way than to leave that open and to allow the audience to think creatively than the use of metaphors. Metaphors pay respect to an interpretive and artistically minded audience that are sick of being spoon fed popular linear narratives, metaphors allow for layers to be created in the narrative and within the characters. There is no reason why two people cannot challenge both themselves and one another to have a different interpretation or opinion on the meaning of a painting, so it should be the same for a film. The challenge as filmmaker is to inspire the audience to embark and enjoy that method of storytelling.
Photo from The Misfortunes of Francois Jane