With a short [film] you are allowed to do whatever you want. It's like if you have a girlfriend and she tells you that you can do whatever you want. That's very exciting.
There is no line between art and pornography. You can make art of anything. You can make an experimental movie with that candle or with this tape recorder. You can make a piece of art with a cat drinking milk. You can make a piece of art with people having sex. There is no line. Anything that is shot or reproduced in an unusual way is considered artistic or experimental.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) is the film I've seen more than any other in my life. My life altered when I discovered it when I was about seven in Buenos Aires. It was my first hallucinogenic experience, my great artistic turning-point and also the moment when my mother finally explained what a foetus was and how I came into the world. Without this film I would never have become a director.
[on the best films of the last decade] It's funny, I was talking about this to a friend the other day and one of the best films of the decade, in my opinion, is 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007), the Romanian film. I also saw in 'The Times' last week, their best films of the decade, and one I agree with was the documentary Capturing the Friedmans (2003). That is great. And technically, there are moments in Avatar (2009) that are kind of amazing, especially if you see it with the Dolby 3D glasses.
I really like Gravity (2013) for its 3D, but also in Hugo (2011) by Martin Scorsese. There was a long shot -- like a closeup of Méliès facing the camera and on the big screen that seemed kind of monumental. You seriously should be careful when you do a 3D movie not to cut too fast or to overedit because it's mind-exhausting. Once you fill the space, it's better to let the scene last.
[on Love (2015)] More than half of my friends are in the film industry, because I hang out with directors or visual effects makers, so I decided that I would do a movie about the kind of people that I am or I know, and it's a mix. It's not autobiographical; there are many thoughts that he has in his mind that are not mine, because they're his redneck thoughts. But at the same time, the guy's not a hero and not an antihero, he's just a regular guy with a good thematic taste, or sometimes with a very strict behavior. It's maybe some parody of my friends and myself.
[on 3D in Love (2015)] It makes things more real, more intimate. You feel like you are puppets inside a box, because it's a rectangle with faces inside.
[on directing sex in Love (2015)] There was no choreography. I just put them in the position and say, "Okay, looks good, okay, start the scene. Let's go." I was very hands off when we were shooting. Once you put the people in the right positions it's okay. Let's start. They know how to do it. I'm not a very director director. I'm kind of the opposite. I remember talking with Benicio Del Toro, and I said, "Who's your favorite director to work with?" He said Steven Soderbergh. I said, "Why?" "Because he doesn't tell me how I should act." [laughs] "He's the only one who does not tell me anything."
[on Love (2015)] I just wanted to portray sexual passion as much as possible, because in real-life it's very common, but you don't see it properly portrayed onscreen. The last movie where I thought love was truly presented was in Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013). Because for them it's a battlefield full of joys and pain. That whole thing that makes the process of finding love like an addiction to some kind of weird chemical that your brain is releasing, and you get addicted to serotonin and dopamine, endorphins.
[on Love (2015)] Benoît is the sweetest cinematographer I ever met. And also the most playful and colorful that I could dream of. I was very happy that finally he was free when I started shooting the movie because I started pre-production without knowing if he would be available. He had done a 3D movie previously with Wim Wenders [Every Thing Will Be Fine (2015)], so he told me the cameras were heavy but not so bad and that I should try. I don't regret at all shooting in 3D. It makes it look like a big budget movie when it's not at all. There's something playful in the sense that people put glasses on to watch a movie in order to see an image that's a bit more realistic than a flat image.
[on Love (2015)] The movies that represent love and passion in a complicated way are extremely rare. Many doors were opened in the '70s by daring directors, and also daring, new laws that opened the representation of sex in underground cinema. Now almost all those doors are oxidized because no one is using them. In the Realm of the Senses (1976) was in the '70s, and, since then, who took advantage of that sexual revolution from the '70s? Perhaps Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013) is the closest thing to a representation of a love addiction that I've seen lately.
[on Love (2015)] In a way, movies don't present how sweet or normal sex can be. There were many doors open in the '70s during the sexual revolution by many directors who were doing movies containing sex scenes that were not sex movies as you may call them. There's something very old fashioned in the world we live in. You can have images of cruel or mechanical sex available anywhere to young kids, but they are disconnected from real life. The presentation of love in real life is missing from the movie theaters. It's totally a chronic nuisance. How many people get killed in movies now? Even in a general audience movie like The Passion of the Christ (2004), where it's all about torture. Why can that be seen by kids, but just two grown up persons kissing and enjoying their bodies, that's a problem?
[on Love (2015)] I am very happy with the result, but whether they're close or not to the characters they're portraying, what comes out when you get people to play in a movie - and you film them from so close and you see their faces on a huge screen - is that the charisma of the people steals the part, and both of them are very charismatic; even Klara. At the end, the movie that you've written based on many events of your personal life, or someone else's life, is one thing. What steals the attention is, if you have uncharismatic people, the story would not work; if you have charismatic people, their joy, the way they dance, whatever, talks to the audience in a different level of consciousness. Initially I thought the movie would have no dialogues, but we improvised, and Karl and Aomi are very funny, so the movie ended up being funnier, because of who they were - and I like making jokes. The movie ended up more talkative than I wanted, and much funnier than I thought it would be. But I knew what were the melodramatic elements in the movie, and I thought people would cry at the end. Some people do, but I did not expect, when we started the project, was that people would laugh each time he said some stupidity.
[on Love (2015)] It's very hard to know what the movie's going to look like before you have the locations, before you know who you're going to be filming, before you know in what format you're going to be filming. In this case, we ended up doing 3D, but it was not seriously planned to do in 3D before I got this subsidy from the French government. What I always knew was that I wanted to represent love in all its aspects: in its playful aspect, in its carnal aspect, in its addictive aspect. The scenes, one by one, if you put them in a chronological order, they're sexy. Then the story of the movie, as it's written, is about a guy who's remembering how he fell in love with a girl and how he's failing, so once we put those same scenes in the narrative order - not the chronological order - those scenes that could be arousing turn sentimental or melancholic, because you know that he lost the girl, and if you add sentimental music to those scenes, it's not like if you were adding disco music. You can add Giorgio Moroder to any of those scenes and then they would turn you horny. If you put on Erik Satie or Beck, I don't know, they turn you sad or melancholic.
[his favorite film sex scene] ...the scene from Don't Look Now (1973) by Nicolas Roeg. It's very powerful. It's unusual to see such a sexual scene in a Hollywood movie.
To my eyes, my last two movies, Enter the Void (2009) and Irreversible (2002) were very commercial movies, but really to this day the latter is most successful and it's extremely violent. I just want to be able to pay my rent and buy movie posters. I'm not obsessed with money. So I'm more obsessed with making movies that I will be proud of. I don't know, if I find money and freedom for the next project, I don't mind having big toys. Sometimes it's easier to have big toys if you have big names on the screen. My favorite movie ever is 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) which is a very expensive commercial movie. Stanley Kubrick managed to do a very personal, intelligent movie I would call a masterpiece, but he did it inside of the studio. Maybe he was lucky and it was the right era to do those movies. Maybe today people are less valiant than before.