“Dance!” (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Godefroy de Maupeou

2024 March 15

“Dance!” (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Godefroy de Maupeou


I am 63 years old and I live in France in Passy near Chamonix.
I grew up in an artistic environment. My father is an architect and my mother an engraver and
We saw a lot of visual artist friends but none in the cinema world.
My parents, especially my mother, took me to the movies a lot. We sometimes made quite long
journeys to see films, some of which were by authors such as the Taviani brothers, Eisenstein, etc.
I loved cinema. I cut out the articles on westerns and classified them by director.
At the time my classmates were all talking about the moped they would get for their 14th birthday.
I dreamed of a Super 8 camera. I collected the catalogs of the CAMARA photo store chain which
had a nice section and so I told my parents that for my 14th birthday I didn’t want a moped but a
camera. Obviously they didn’t plan to buy me a moped so no camera either.
I bought the first one, a Bauer C14 with a projector and the mounting kit, with my first paycheck
and quickly after a Beaulieu 5008S which allowed me to record sound.
Then, I studied graphics at ENSAD where I took the animated cinema video option. Thanks to a
professor Gérard Bellanger, I discovered film analysis.

It’s a universe that opened up suddenly. I loved cinema but there I discovered all the logic of its
writing and its possibilities. I owe a lot of my profession to Gérard Bellanger.
For the major end-of-study project, with another student, we decided to make a medium-length
film in 16mm entitled “Kohl”. I bought Beaulieu R16. We also had access to the school’s title
bench. We used it for the special effects we were passionate about. It was the time of Star Wars,
Alien, Blade Runner, Outland… I devoured the magazines dedicated to understanding the
principles of special effects.
At the same time, I made a lot of music, mainly with synthesizers. I had a recording studio and so
I did the entire soundtrack for the film.
At the end of my studies, I had to choose a profession, I chose that of graphic designer, then
composer and years later, when HD video arrived, I was finally able to become a director.
Currently I make a lot of commissioned films which allows me to produce my own feature films.


A passion for cinema since I was very young.
The first director who fascinated me was Sergio Leone with his sense of framing, of direction, the
music of Ennio Morricone used as a story element, his talent as a storyteller, his characters with
real depth.
Once Upon a Time in the West was a real beacon for me.
The film was prohibited for children under 13 and I was 8 when it came out. I had to wait to see it.
I only had images and the music of Ennio Morricone that I listened to. Jill’s America or the Man
with the Harmonica upset me (and still upsets me).
I asked my parents, as a birthday present for my 13th birthday, to take me to see the film. It was
possible because at the time, successful films were replayed all the time. So we found a cinema
that was showing it and my father took me there. This film has never left me. I have seen it
countless times (like many other films since).
There have of course been many other directors: Ridley Scott, Werner Herzog, Giuseppe
Tornatore, Hirokazu Kore-Eda, Clint Eastwood, Carl Dreyer, Thomas Vinterberg, Stephen Daldry,
Phillipe Lioret, Denis Villeneuve, Cédric Klapisch, Tomas Alfredson… impossible to list them all,
there are hundreds of them.
I have seen and still see thousands of films with admiration for the talent, the personality and the
way in which, after all the history of cinema, directors still manage to create, to innovate.
We still manage to be surprised, moved and passionate by new works, new directors. It’s extraordinary.
What I love about cinema, more than any other means of expression, is that it brings them all
together: image, sound, writing… It’s total art for me and we live in a time where , thanks to the
arrival of IT, it is possible to experiment and master it yourself, even without a budget. This allows
you to focus on creation. It’s a golden age for independent filmmaking.


Yes obviously because the film allows us to identify with and experience the story it tells us.
We begin to live each other’s lives. It opens our eyes and makes us more tolerant of it. It also
allows us to understand complex situations that we would have dismissed out of simplification.
It is said that a successful film takes the viewer from point A to point B. Point A is what he was
thinking before seeing the film. Point B is his new vision of the subject after having the film.
As such, a striking example is Clint Eastwood’s double film Letters from Iwo Jima and Memory of
Our Fathers which offers us both points of view. This refusal of Manichaeism is also present in all
of Clint Eastwood’s work.
Art offers us a new look at the world around us and, in this sense, allows us to live better together.
At a time when we see people easily turning to populism, rejecting others and turning inward, this
seems even more important to me. The film has a political role to play, political in the broad sense,
not to defend a party, but to help people not give in to the ease of the base instincts that every
human being has hidden deep within them. Cinema can help protect the foundations of
Some films have also had a direct role, such as The Thin Blue Line by Eroll Morris, which saved an
innocent person from the death penalty.


I think what matters most to me is showing that we can have different perspectives on events or
places. Encourage spectators to look at the world differently, to find poetry and beauty in it but
also to become more human, more rational in the face of events by trying to understand different
points of view, by trusting professional people and the scientific research.
What I like is to bring out the human element that is in every character, in every story, whether
small or big.


It’s a bit difficult to get that far, but a few years ago I saw research on the brain that allows us to
transcribe a person’s dreams into images.
Of course it was very, very basic, but when we look at the progress of the generative image, I
think that we can achieve, on a technical level, a great purification of the process to produce all or
part of a film by thought, assisted by one or more software which would transcribe this thought
into an image.
The Apple Vision pro is, for example, a new small step towards this approach by allowing you to
edit a film with your eyes and fingers, eliminating the need for a mouse and keyboard.
This will not change the strength and depth of the films because what will remain most important
in any case: the content, what we want to tell, and the way of telling it, the choice of shots,
angles, editing, implication of sound, text…
It’s just a change of interface, a simplification of it.
We use a lot of them today to achieve the desired result, even if the arrival of computing has
greatly reduced the number of necessary tools, but direct access to the brain, without
intermediaries such as the keyboard, the hand, hardware settings… will allow greater efficiency
and remove all limitations and problems associated with these interfaces.
For example, if I think of a night scene, it immediately comes out perfectly lit, without video noise,
without extraneous sounds, in the desired setting… I can even include the missing actors who I
miss terribly like Max von Sydow or Bruno Ganz (provided that this is authorized by the rights
holders of course) or invent some.
We will then only have the problem of the blank page. The film will reveal exactly what we thought.
We will no longer have a limit to our projects other than that of our imagination.
But, just as some directors currently still shoot on film, we will certainly have a cohabitation
between the different filming techniques. It is also this diversity that makes our profession so rich.