Esprit de corps: French Directors On Making an Independent Film

WFFSetting:  Warsaw, Poland, 2010.  Stepping off the airplane, I was admittedly titillated by the sight of a security guard dressed in a “Brown Shirt” variation.  As I walked out of the airport, the excitement continued as the smell of cold grey stillness penetrated my nostrils like the pungent but refreshing smell of cow shit does when driving down a country road; this was/is Central Europe – former Communist (dirty word) hot spot.

But as the local 175 bus pulled into the centrum of town, my sugar plum fairy sickle and hammer dreams seemed to dissipate with the image of a Hard Rock Café prominently positioned in front of a Stalinesque building.  Further inspection proved to validate the anomaly: an ultra-modern mall packed to the brim with the biggest names in international retail show business: Marks & Spencer, Sephora, Carrefour, Benetton.  Globalism under the careful supervision of its’ father Capitalism had not only been born in Central Europe, but was now all grown up, a sexy siren that had completely seduced the Polish people.

As I metaphorically wiped a nostalgic tear from my eye, I began to feel a bit chipper.  This backdrop of incongruity could set the stage for the absurdity of my real mission in Warsaw:  to interview a French film director at a Polish film festival!  Happily humming a few lyrics of Alanis Morrisette’s “Isn’t it Ironic”, I made my way to a café adjacent to the screening rooms of the Palace of Science and Culture to meet Olivier Babinet (OB) and Fred Kihn (FK), directors of Robert Mitchum is Dead – a feature film showcasing in the Free Spirit Competition at the 25th annual Warsaw Film Festival.

AW: Welcome to Varsavia!

OB: Dziękuję.

FK: Merci.

AW:  I first saw this film at the Cannes Film Festival, ACID (association for the distribution of independentwarsaw1 cinema), and I was very impressed with the storyline as I thought it was quite unique.  How did it come into existence?

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