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Franck Ribière • Director

"People want to watch the films they want, when they want and for a decent price"

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- We spoke to Franck Ribière, who world-premiered his new film, The Most Assassinated Woman in the World at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival

Franck Ribière • Director
Director Franck Ribière (© Franck Ribière)

Produced by Fontana, The Most Assassinated Woman in the World [+see also:
interview: Franck Ribière
film profile
]
by Franck Ribière is a mysterious thriller that could potentially lay claim to being the very first made-in-Belgium production on Netflix. The film tells the story of Paula Maxa, an actress and star who performed at the Grand Guignol theatre and died more than 30,000 times on stage, making her the most “murdered” woman in the world. We chatted to the director, who was at Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival to present the world premiere of his new film.

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Cineuropa: How did the idea for the film come about? Given that it's your first fiction film.
Franck Ribière: I’ve been producing genre films for a while and in reality, I’ve always wanted to direct, but I was waiting for a subject which really struck me and which I had something to add to. I always thought it was possible to find a 'Franco-French' subject, a subject that is relevant to us all, that we all know a bit about and that we can identify with. So, when I received a script in English about Paula Maxa and the Grand Guignol theatre, the arrival of colour film and the very first American horror films, I said to myself that maybe there was something I could talk about and do with the subject matter.

Before that, you were a co-producer for Álex de la Iglesia, what gave you the desire to produce your own film?
I realised that the Spanish, who are always producing genre films, draw from their own history enormously, their own past, to set apart their films. That’s been the case for all Iberian films that have had a certain amount of success around the globe. Then, when discussing things with Álex and other people, I realised that I was starting to have strong ideas about what I wanted to do. It was time to take a leap of faith and face the music. 

The Most Assassinated Woman in the World will be the first Franco-Belgian production available on Netflix. What is your opinion on the growing involvement of these new platforms on broadcasting in the film industry? They are an opportunity as they allow films to reach a wider audience. I think that platforms such as Netflix are the future of the visual landscape. You begin to realise that the audiences you see in cinemas are getting older and the consumers of this new broadcasting model tend to be fairly young. Their habits have evolved. These days viewers want to watch what they want, when they want and where they want for a decent price. This is also the source of downloading content. I know that these new mediums are often seen as a problem, but they only become an issue if you decide to see them that way. They have freed themselves from the chronology of media, and that’s what displeases people. But, in reality, they do the work that traditional broadcasting companies have stopped doing as they’ve become too unadventurous, have stopped taking risks and have started flooding the market with pastiche comedies one after the other, relying on what works for the audience. 

So, in your opinion, these new mediums could lead to the redistribution of genre films to a large audience?
There’s no doubt about it. Netflix allows greater creative freedom. All you need to do is look at what’s on offer in their catalogue, the films are nothing like what we’re offered in French cinemas, even though we’ve seen that genre films work very well, take the success of Get Out, for example. We too often forget that the big, Oscar-acclaimed Oscars, such as Guillermo del Toro or Alfonso Cuarón, started their careers by making genre films. These days, genre films have acquired a certain notoriety thanks to the quality of their direction, and above all, thanks to the excellent acting performances and the empathy that they allow audiences to form.

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(Translated from French)

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