The director shares his pas­sion for Bur­gundy and at­ten­tion to de­tail.

France - - Bienvenue -

About a week be­fore Cédric Klapisch was due to start film­ing Back to Bur­gundy – a drama about three sib­lings try­ing to run their late fa­ther’s wine es­tate – he found him­self faced with a cast­ing co­nun­drum. While the director was con­vinced he had, in Pio Mar­maï, Ana Gi­rar­dot and François Civil, three skilled ac­tors to play the main roles, he wasn’t sure whether the trio truly shared his pas­sion for le vin. The so­lu­tion? A crash-course in wine like no other.

“Three days be­fore shoot­ing be­gan, we went to lunch at 11am, and the ac­tors drank eight kinds of Bur­gundy to dis­cover the re­gion,” Klapisch re­calls. “At 2pm, they were al­ready com­pletely drunk. But it con­tin­ued and we went to visit some other vine­yards. We talked with dif­fer­ent wine­mak­ers who, at each point, had them taste dif­fer­ent wines. At the end of the night, all three of them were in a daze!”

The sore heads the next morn­ing were worth it, with all three ac­tors look­ing and act­ing the part as vint­ners in Back to Bur­gundy. The fact that Klapisch did all he could to en­sure au­then­tic­ity is an in­di­ca­tion of how im­por­tant the director’s lat­est film is to him. For a man who fell in love with wine as a teenager, mak­ing Back to Bur­gundy (French ti­tle Ce Qui Nous Lie) was like fi­nally un­cork­ing a bot­tle from Do­maine de la Ro­manée-conti, pro­ducer of some of the world’s most ex­pen­sive wines.

“When I be­gan drink­ing at around 17-18 years old, my dad let me taste his wines,” Klapisch re­calls. “It’s thanks to him that I learnt about wine. He would take my sis­ters and me to tast­ings on Bur­gundy vine­yards. It was a kind of rit­ual, once ev­ery two years or so. I was aware that it was my fa­ther who passed down this wine cul­ture and this in­ter­est in the Bur­gundy re­gion. I knew that if I wanted to make a film about wine, it was be­cause I wanted to talk about fam­ily – what we in­herit from our par­ents, what they pass down to their chil­dren.”

To fully cap­ture what it takes to make wine from grape to bot­tle, Klapisch went to ex­tra­or­di­nary lengths, film­ing for a full year on the farm of Beaune-born ac­tor Jean-marc Roulot, who also ap­pears in the film. “The cy­cle of na­ture had to be re­spected,” ex­plains the director. “We couldn’t cheat. The beau­ti­ful colours of au­tumn, they only ex­ist for 15 days. We had to shoot dur­ing that pe­riod, oth­er­wise, it wouldn’t work. And for spring, the fruit trees’ flow­ers bloom for just one week. The whole film was made up­side-down. We didn’t choose the film­ing dates, it was re­ally na­ture that de­cided the shoot­ing sched­ule.”

Cast mem­bers matched their director’s com­mit­ment, jump­ing in with both feet, quite lit­er­ally. In one of the most mem­o­rable scenes Juli­ette (Gi­rar­dot) and her brother Jean (Mar­maï) climb in­side huge con­tain­ers to stomp grapes. “I had al­ways won­dered what it would feel like,” re­veals Gi­rar­dot. “It’s very pleas­ant. It’s quite hot. I was in a real tank, and there are tim­ings to obey, spe­cific to the tanks. Also, you need to pay at­ten­tion to al­co­hol vapour, which can be dan­ger­ous. But oth­er­wise it’s real ther­apy for the feet!”

Gi­rar­dot’s skills as a farmer did not stop there. Klapisch also ex­pected the ac­tress to learn how to drive a huge trac­tor. “It’s su­per-com­pli­cated, with 25 dif­fer­ent ped­als,” Gi­rar­dot says. “It’s enor­mous and you get the im­pres­sion you’re go­ing to kill ev­ery­one in its path, it’s so loud. We learnt so much on set about the cre­ation of wine that I’ll never open a bot­tle in the same way again.”

It was not just the cast who re­ceived a wine ed­u­ca­tion on set. Even an oenophile like Klapisch left the re­gion a changed man af­ter a year. “They say the place where we shot, be­tween PulignyMon­tra­chet, Chas­sagne-mon­tra­chet and Mer­sault, has the best white wines in the world, and I think they’re right,” he says. “In Bur­gundy, we drank ex­cep­tional wines that you can’t drink in Paris, ei­ther be­cause they are too ex­pen­sive, or be­cause they’re im­pos­si­ble to find. You couldn’t make this film with­out get­ting a greater sense of Bur­gundy.”

Per­haps the great­est les­son Klapisch learnt was how sim­i­lar wine­mak­ing is to craft­ing a movie. “The re­la­tion­ship to time is sim­i­lar in the two dis­ci­plines,” he says. “One has to al­ways be pa­tient. Shoot­ing a film is a bit like a har­vest; the edit­ing is like the vini­fi­ca­tion, it hap­pens in the cel­lar; and you aspire to en­sure the film will age well.”

‘We went to lunch at 11am and the ac­tors drank eight kinds of Bur­gundy’

ABOVE: The sib­lings check the new vin­tage in Back to Bur­gundy; BE­LOW: A scene in the vine­yard; LEFT: Cédric Klapisch at the Paris pre­miere of the film, re­leased in France as Ce Qui Nous Lie

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