In theaters since Wednesday, “Earwig” by Lucile Hadzihalilovic takes the viewer on a unique sensory experience.
Earwig of Lucile Hadzihalilovic
With Paul Hilton, Romane Hemelaers, Romola Garai…
What is it about ? In an isolated house, sheltered from the rumblings of a Europe haunted by war, Albert takes care of Mia, a little girl with icy teeth, under house arrest. Periodically, the phone rings and the Master inquires about Mia’s well-being. Until the day he orders Albert to prepare the little girl for departure…
An invitation to dream
Inspired by 1930s-1940s films for typography and texture, the opening credits do not use fixed insets but a slowly scrolling scroll, accompanied by Earwig’s theme music. This opening works like a hypnosis session or an invitation to dive into a story. “The credits allow us this transition to allow the viewer to leave reality, to immediately enter the universe of the film, to make him receptive to the mystery that runs through this dream… or this nightmare…”explains the director.
Earwig is adapted from the novel of the same name by Brian Catling. Geoff Cox, who co-wrote the screenplay, is a friend of the writer. When he read the latter’s manuscript, Cox immediately thought of Lucile Hadzihalilovic to bring it to the screen.
This one says: “What is great about him is that he is not only a writer, but also a visual artist, author of performances, i.e. a plural artist who started writing to deploy his imagination, and who is not attached to his texts to the point of not supporting that they are betrayed. However, the work of adaptation supposes a betrayal and that did not bother him, on the contrary, he found it playful. Brian therefore left me all freedom, which was very generous and valuable.”
The Danish painter Vilhelm Hammershøi, known for his stripped and enigmatic paintings of interiors, was one of the references for the artistic direction of Earwig. With Julia Irribarria, the production designer, the director sought a balance between realism and abstraction: “One of the main watchwords was to create a void, both inside and outside. We stripped down the rooms, furniture and accessories, streets, extras and vehicles as much as possible, keeping only the essential”.
First English-language film
This is Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s first English-language film: “the film is largely financed by the English. I liked shooting in their language, because it made the anchoring of the story less defined, but finding the right accents was a challenge for me. The characters had to speak a European and continental English with slight variations of accents to stay in this idea of central Europe.”
Marc Caro as artistic director
The saliva collection device was designed and produced by Benoît Polvêche, Christine Polis and Marc Caro, the director of Delicatessen and The City of Lost Children.