Following on from our last post with his fellow Parachutes colleague Yann Pineill we catch up with Nicolas Lefaucheux.
Is Nostalgies your graduation project? What was the original brief?
Nostalgies is my graduation project indeed, after five years in graphic design school ESAG Penninghen, based in Paris. The brief was totally up to me, and not entirely unfamiliar… I’d previously worked a lot on nostalgia and homesickness with two short videos, “Homesick” and “Memory Trigger”, which I made with Claire Dubosc. I wanted to find another way to talk about nostalgia, other than as symbolic or strictly narrative content. That’s why I turned to archives and editing.
Is the film made up entirely of stock footage and audio archives?
Yes, it was all footage from documentaries, films, series, clips, interviews, lectures, historical footage, and a lot coming from YouTube. I chose not to have my voice and hand appearing on the film, and to use pictures and sounds like a tool, like testimonies of different nostalgias. Archives had this nostalgic and universal voice I was seeking for this film.
What was your process for researching and sourcing material? Did you have a clearly defined narrative before you set out or did the film evolve as you researched?
Actually the longest and toughest part of the process was the research itself, and the foundation of the narrative. My first video test was a five-minute long audio editing on a black screen, with only subtitles… and there were a lot of these! It was like assembling pieces of a giant puzzle with no apparent connections, and trying to make something coherent with it. I realized it made more sense to start with a traditional point of view, nostalgia for something we once knew, and then talk about nostalgia for something you don’t know yet.
It’s all about time really, nostalgia for the past, present and future. And it was not easy finding some references about that! I watched a bunch of things to find the perfect line, sound, picture, sometimes really strange stuff, and it’s pieces like Mad Men, The Weight of Glory by C.S Lewis, or this amazing documentary, Nostalgia For The Light by Patricio Guzman, which really helped finding a way through and making sense of the narrative.
Homesick by Nicolas Lefaucheux
What part of the process did you enjoy the most? Did you edit it yourself or did you work with an editor?
Yes I did edit the film myself, so I could really work on what I like the most, that is to say all the possible associations we can get mixing sound design, music, dialogue and picture. The challenge was to work on this connection between sound and picture, in order not to understand nostalgia, but to sense it in a way. Using the words of Marcel Proust, what you feel is much more powerful than what you understand.
Please tell us how Parachutes.tv came about and who is in it?
Parachutes is composed of four graphic designers, all graduated from ESAG-Penninghen, in Paris. We have Yann Pineill, Thibault de Fournas, Christopher van Wilson, and myself. We all had affinities for animation and cinema when we first met, so we started working as a team on school projects and later we naturally teamed up for professional work as well.
Beauty of Mathematics directed by Yann Pineill & Nicolas Lefaucheux
There’s a strong graphical theme connected to Parachutes – thoroughly thought-out pieces like the Beauty of Mathematics which you made with Yann Pineill. How did this project evolve and what were the main challenges of creating it?
Beauty of Mathematics was a real challenge for Yann and me in the way that we are no mathematicians, even if we both had a scientific education in high school. But we thought science was a cool angle when it came to beauty, because you cannot really deny it; it is an objective, “cold and austere” beauty that we find in everything we look at everyday.
The point isn’t to be scientifically accurate – we probably are not – but more to show people that mathematics isn’t that abstract useless concept that we often find it to be when we study it at school.
Memory Trigger directed by By Claire Dubosc & Nicolas Lefaucheux
Memory Trigger which you made with Claire Dubosc uses live action. What was the idea behind the film and how did you find shooting footage?
This short film is about an old woman in a Parisian café, who gets assaulted by memories. The idea was to capture the invisible and unexplainable fact of remembering, and Claire and I worked on how sound can affect it. We actually captured everything ourselves; that was an intense but great experience because we had to shoot everything in a couple of hours.
Will you be working collectively or as individual directors and what type of work will you be focusing on – commercial, short films or perhaps music videos?
Yes of course we love working together and we want to work as a team in the long term. We are interested in everything linked to moving images, from commercials, video clips, to short and experimental films; we aim to evolve towards a sort of balance between graphic design and cinema.