B R I E F   S Y N O P S I S
In trying to undermine a deal between two multi-national conglomerates, corporate mole Diane (Connie Nielsen) uncovers a link between one of the companies and an interactive torture website known as "The Hellfire Club." Her shocking discovery leads Diane into dangerous territory, both personally and professionally. French director Olivier Assayas' (Irma Vep, Les Destinées) vision of our modern global society co-stars Charles Berling, Chloë Sevigny and Gina Gershon, and features an inspired soundtrack by Jim O'Rourke and indie rock legends Sonic Youth.
  The Last Day of Shooting
   
 

I have often felt, at the moment when I wrap a film, a dizzy sensation that is like nothing else. It is happiness at achieving what I have so long dreamed of and planned for and have finally brought to a successful conclusion, mixed with the inexorable draw of the gulf into which the ephemeral world of the film will disappear.

It is not only because the crew will disperse, the technicians move on to other jobs, the actors hurry to get home. It is not only the vague nostalgia for fleeting things: the sadness of goodbyes, separations, and journeys that have come to an end.

I experience it more as a unique sensation of emptiness. I am weightless, nothing has any substance, and the resulting peace is supernatural. I am free from everything that tied me to the earth, there are no more pressures or responsibilities. The boat has arrived in port—but in the very same instant, it has vanished.

The past is gone, the future not yet come. I am between the two, I am nowhere.

Still, I know perfectly well that the film is not done, there is still the editing, the mixing, the grading, ensuring copy quality. And when all of that is done, we will still have to talk about it. But the truth is that the life of the film is over, the parallel world that we built up bit by bit, the bubble that contained not just a film, but another world, another reality that we entered every morning. It's all gone in a flash.

And then we're alone, back in the real world we had escaped for a while.

That's how I remember the last day of shooting of Les Destinées. We were at a train station, the extras were in costume, we were working with a steam engine, it was the 19th century. Emmanuelle Béart was there—I had promised that she would be in the last scene of the film.

Once the scene was shot, we were right back in the 20th century, we said our goodbyes, and an hour later I was on the road to Paris.

The last day of shooting on demonlover was the strangest of all, when I experienced most strongly the dizziness I mentioned earlier. We had filmed in Paris, then in Tokyo, and finally in the Mexican desert, more than three hours' drive north of Chihuahua, at a ranch in a remote, arid land.

It is unusual to go straight from Tokyo to the Mexican desert, especially in the state of exhaustion, nervous tension, and edginess that comes from two and half months of difficult filming. It's a strange experience: you literally don't know where you are or what time it is.

We were shooting at any time of day or night to take advantage of the dawn and dusk.

I think we had lost all sense of reality. Besides, in the desert there is no reality. In the middle of nothingness, we could have been anywhere in the world. All that remained of the real world was what we had brought with us, the reality of the film we were making, combined with a disturbing sensation of not knowing where the boundary was between the real and the imaginary world.

It was in this state of mind, more like the altered states of consciousness produced by drugs, that the news of the terrorist attacks of September 11th reached us. From then on, we literally didn't sleep. In the few hours when we weren't shooting, we were unable to tear ourselves away from the television. Three days later, the film wrapped.

We were shooting a scene of a car accident, where a vehicle full of barrels of gasoline catches fire. Sand and stones stretched to the horizon. All night, the sound of cars crashing and metal crumpling, black clouds of smoke, until in the east, the sky turned a softer blue, then it grew lighter, and finally day broke, and we had to stop shooting.

demonlover was finished.

But could we go home? Were there flights out of Chihuahua? Out of Mexico? Those who had to return to the United States, or worse, New York—would they be able to get there? Those days were filled with what we had at first called a feeling of the end of the world. It wasn't exactly that. It was more like the echo of the world being turned upside down, of history being made, while our own modest little world truly was coming apart, because our history, in the most limited sense of the term, was finished.

It was now daytime in the desert and there was no longer any resemblance to the night world where we had shot. It was as if we had suddenly been transported elsewhere, as if a storm had tossed us up on an unknown shore. We had reached the end of the voyage.

Translated from the French by Joann Mitchell

   

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