Good Scene / Bad Scene

Chosen by Anne-Sophie Birot, the director of 'Girls Can't Swim'

Interview,Jennifer Rodger
Friday 25 April 2003 00:00 BST

Good: 'Death in Venice' (Luchino Visconti, 1971)

It's engraved in my memory. I just have to close my eyes and I see it again. This elderly man, a composer (possibly Mahler) going out of the hotel, to the beach. There's a teenage boy (right) with blond, fine hair that makes him look almost like a girl. Then I see both: the older man, who suddenly sees him, and the young one who can feel he's being watched and starts slowly moving around this big sun shade. And then another one, with so much sensuality that anyone would be troubled. The older man can't take his eyes off him. He, the dark composer on his way to death, suddenly feels desire. And Mahler's music goes with it. If I had to describe the feeling in one word I would say "grace".This scene made me desire to make a film some day.

Bad: 'Dobermann' (Jan Kounen, 1997)

The opposite of subtlety is vulgarity and I found the most hateful scene of all time in a French movie called Dobermann.I will never forget the moment when a hero goes to the toilet and he has nothing to clean himself with except the French magazine Les Cahiers du Cinèma. I know some people don't like the magazine because it gives an intellectual point of view and is not accessible to everyone. But what made me angry is that it's a low way of attacking people. I think it's dangerous to despise people who think – even if you believe they think too much or simply not your way. Burning books has never made any society progress.

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