In dealing with death, "Chorus" explores life
January 24, 2015
When director and screenwriter Francois Delisle decides to start a project, he lets the subject guide his writing and filmmaking.
"The subject drives me, I am not the driver," Delisle said from Montreal, Canada in a telephone interview with The Park Record. "It’s pretty strange. It’s not that I don’t have any plan when I am writing a script, but the film tends to lead you to the subject."
Delisle started writing the script for his dramatic film "Chorus," an entry in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, more than five years ago. He completed two features during the time it took to complete the script because he was "trying to find the right way to express every idea," he said.
The film explores the guilt a separated couple experience after the body of their missing son is found 10 years later.
"The starting point was to talk about the feeling of losing something and the feeling of loss," he said. "When you are talking about death, you are ultimately talking about life, because the way we treat death says a lot about the way we treat life."
Filmed entirely in black and white during winter in Montreal, Delisle said he was inspired by images from American photographer Mark Steinmetz and thought they "matched the film’s atmosphere" as the characters attempt to reconcile their feelings.
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"I didn’t one day decide that it should be in black and white, but I saw the scenes as they are in the final film, which is pretty weird," he said. "Maybe I didn’t want to admit to myself that I was going back to black and white. After writing the final version of the script, I chanced upon the images."
Throughout the film, Delisle plunges the two characters into their world of grief and invites the viewer along, through the character’s own inner monologues.
"People can go in and they have to participate in what’s happening," he said. "They are reliving the same emotions as the characters. If they are feeling things and living that story from the first frame to the last one, I am OK.
"I hope it will be an experience for them," he added. "What’s the purpose to look at things and not feel anything?"
"Chorus" will be Delisle’s second film to appear at the Sundance Film Festival. His first, "The Meteor," premiered in 2013.
"It’s a great place to launch a film," he said.
"Chorus" is being screened in the Sundance Film Festival’s World Cinema Dramatic Competition category. It will be shown:
Friday, Jan. 23, 6 p.m. at the Yarrow Hotel Theatre
Saturday, Jan. 24, 10 p.m., at Redstone Cinema 2
Sunday, Jan. 25, 12 p.m. at the Salt Lake Library Theatre
Thursday, Jan. 29, 2:30 p.m. at the Library Center Theatre
Friday, Jan. 30, 9:15 p.m. at the Holiday Village Cinema 2