April 2014. Master class in Brussels


The Fantasy Film Festival of Brussels (BIFF) reminded me of the Grand Rex festival in the 80’s, when projections took place in the theatre. The audience in the balcony threw sacks of flour on the people in the orchestra seats … I was cheered on stage but refused to sing. Those lucky Belgians don’t know how lucky they are…

February 2014. The César


I can’t really complain about professional recognition of my work. All of my french movies, without exception, have had at least 3 nominations. In total I have had 49 nominations, and have won 17, including 6 personally. TS Spivet won the Cesar for photography, which recognizes not only Thomas Hardmeier, but also the entire team for their cinematography and 3D work.

October 2014. The Zurich Film Festival

(Where Polanski was arrested). The festival proposed hosting a tribute to my work. They would give me a sort of “Lifetime Achievement Award” and project all of my films. Having had no news from them, I saw on the Internet that Haneke would be honored instead. Having been informed of what was going on, Harvey Weinstein had banned the screening of Spivet. So the festival changed their mind. And Weinstein was be there to… give a master class!

When Harvey Weinstein…

… signed TS Spivet for the United States, he had seen the finished film. And Gaumont had made it clear that since I had the final cut, I would not change even the smallest detail. A fact that didn’t stop him from trying to bully his way into redoing the film in his own way. As he always does with films.

He had already tried to do so in 1991 with Delicatessen. An English editor came to me with a list of all suggested cuts. He was going to remove the scene with the creaking bed, Ms. Interligator’s suicide… in short, all the funniest scenes. Caro and I patiently listened and then suggested one more cut: “removing our names from the credits”. The editor left shaking his finger at us, “You haven’t heard the last from Harvey Weinstein!” After that I expected to find my dog’s head on my bed one morning … Finally, having not yet signed with UGC, the film was released without the cuts, in spite of Mr Weinstein…and would eventually become a cult film. 10 years later the same thing happened with Amelie. We had five Oscar nominations. But we were out of luck. That was the year that the Academy, tired of Weinstein’s vote-collecting “abuse”, decided to boycott his films. “We will not vote for Amélie”, wrote the American industry magazines. Whoopy Goldberg, president of the ceremony, spent the entire ceremony making fun of Weinstein. The result being, out of 19 nominations, he won only one Oscar.

Weinstein is like a gallery owner that says to a painter: “Americans don’t like green, so I’ll ask the framer to use blue” … Weinstein is actually all about power. Like a dog marking a tree, he MUST change all the movies he buys.

In addition, he forced a “holdback” on Gaumont, which meant that no non-Francophone country could release the film before him. So Spivet remained blocked for 8 months. As the holdback ended in June, in some countries, like England or Spain, it was released in the middle of the World Cup. Flop.

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