Benjamin Nicolas directs ‘Beast’.
It’s Christmas Eve, Martin drives customers in his VTC, suddenly, without warning, his body begins to make uncontrolled movements.
Words from Benjamin below.
Ambiguity is a creative choice in the film, can we explore that for a moment?
BN: ‘Beast’ was an outlet of my new young father’s fears. I wanted to express the natural ambiguity of nightmares, something more visceral than explicative. Ambiguity leaves you active as an audience and obliges you to let go, I like this process, even if some people stay on the side of the road. It’s always a balance to find in the editing process, in order to achieve something enjoyable, but this film was a gut exploration for me, so I made this choice.
I wanted to express the natural ambiguity of nightmares, something more visceral than explicative.
Can we talk about the movement? Did you work with a Choreographer?
BN: I rarely work with a choreographer, I explore the work with dancers in-camera in the same way as actors, I’m guiding them to explore their characters and we dig together to unlock emotional tools for the shoot.
(…) we dig together to unlock emotional tools for the shoot.
In this case, I was not looking for typical “dance” moves, I wanted to explore an original way for James Viveiros to explore the pain of the character, something deeply visceral.
I booked a dance studio for one week and we explored together, starting to know and trust each other. We had to shoot outside in -25 degrees for 2 nights in Montreal, so trust was needed. My DOP Kristof Brandl, came on the last rehearsal day, and we connected the camera with the movements. We arrived on the shoot with a full set of dance continuity.
There’s an ambitious VFX sequence, can you tell us how you achieved it?
BN: I was looking for a haunting pain, something that never leaves you. During the process of the film, I met a precious partner, Guillaume Chaboud. Art director and VFX artist, Guillaume helped me to shape this falling scene. I was looking for something simple, I wanted speed and darkness.
We shot the actors rigged in the studio in every possible way, the challenge was to shoot a 7-year-old girl in a super physical sequence, but Lyly-Kim Morin was incredibly solid and determined.
In the post process, Guillaume erased the cables and worked on the integration with particles and lights. We spent time searching for the end of the tunnel, how the reality and nightmare of the character merge.
What are you reading at the moment?
BN: Funny enough, I’m reading ‘Less’ by Andrew Sean Greer at the moment, the cover is of a falling man, but the book is a comic novel about growing older and learning how to love. It’s brilliant. Before that, almost every year I’m reading ‘L’étranger (The Stranger)’ by Albert Camus, this book makes me feel good.
- Benjamin Nicolas
- Samuel Caron, Alain Dib
- Kristof Brandl
- Director of Photography
- Guillaume Chaboud
- Art Director & VFX
- Aj Héli
- Simon Boisx
- Theo Porcet
- Sound Design & Mix
- Mathieu Lafontaine
- Telescope Films, Satellite My Love
- Production Company