In the Le Monde 2 article, Jacques Grand-Jouan is described as a friend of Jacques Tati, Pierre Prevert and Eugene Ionesco. He was seen at that time (the 1980's) as "one of the most promising of the new generation of French filmmakers." However, due to "personal problems," Grand-Jouan, after making about 40 minutes of the film that included the interview with Welles, abandoned the idea. The following year, he made another film called Debout les crabes, la mer monte! (roughly translated as "Get up crabs, the sea is rising!") which was well received. Then he spent the next twenty years in a self-imposed exile on a small Greek island. Only last year, the desire to make a film seized him again and with the cooperation of Bertrand Tavernier and Gerard Zingg, he is now making Lucifer et moi which, as I mentioned in my last post, will include the 1982 interview with Welles.
Meanwhile, some stills from the interview are shown in the Le Monde 2 article along with a short excerpt which I shall attempt to translate. (Although Welles was quite fluent in French, I imagine the interview was conducted in English, since the excerpt begins in English.) In the stills, by the way, Welles looks robust and distinguished, as he did in an inteview he gave around this time on the BBC. He is wearing his habitual black suit and a natty polka dot foulard tied in a big, floppy bow around his neck which makes him look as though he has just been sharing a glass of wine with Manet, Cezanne, Renoir, Zola et al. He is seated at a restaurant table covered with a white cloth and empty except for some water glasses. Behind him we see a cluster of trees in the Bois de Boulogne.
Grand-Jouan: Why did you refuse to play the role of Mr. Welles in my film?
Welles: Because I don't agree with it: is it a comedy or a serious commentary? Why invent a mysterious gentleman who finds himself caught between two cultures and who is supposed to know everything there is to know about them? The problem is not between these two great countries -- no, both have the capacity to bring about total destruction and, in the process, cancel each other out. The problem is not these two powers -- who have in effect disarmed themselves -- but the atomic possibility of destruction which exists everywhere on the planet. I don't think the enemy is either Russia or the United States. No, the enemy is the the capacity for atomic destruction itself, which can appear in the back door of small countries that have acquired it; possibly Pakistan, Israel or even South Africa. It could be a terrorist knocking the wind out of New York, and that, well, that would bring about a chain reaction...that's my opinion, it's only my opinion....
Grand-Jouan: There is a scene in my film where a rope-dancer is teetering, dead drunk, on the Berlin Wall, and yet he doesn't fall off on one side or the other because he doesn't know if the truth will be found on this or that side of the wall.
Welles: Why does a man who makes films ask himself, "Where is Truth?" when everything that appears on a movie screen is nothing but a series of lies? And if it wasn't all lies, it wouldn't be art.
Grand-Jouan: Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to ask you to come here....
Welles: I see a young filmmaker who has films boiling inside of his guts. We are all the same, you know; we are all monsters, monsters with two sexes.
I am struck by Welles's remark about art being a series of lies -- the same message he delivered so brilliantly in F FOR FAKE.