B R I E F   S Y N O P S I S
Pierre Brossard (Michael Caine) was a Nazi executioner under the Vichy regime. Never brought to trial, he lives peacefully and anonymously, sheltered for years by right-wing elements within the Catholic Church. When a new investigation into his crimes is launched, Brossard becomes the target of both hit men and the police. A cunning old man, he keeps outwitting his pursuers while desperately trying to figure out who they are. Tilda Swinton, Charlotte Rampling, Alan Bates and Jeremy Northam co-star. Based on the novel by Brian Moore and directed by Norman Jewison.
  The Statement

When in Rome…or Paris, or in the Negev…

Having just finished shooting my new film, The Statement, in France, it occurred to me that filmmaking remains remarkably consistent regardless of the country where filming takes place.

The Statement, the story of a French collaborator played by Michael Caine, takes place solely in France, with locations in Paris, Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and many other remote locations in the French countryside. Although all the characters are French, we shot the film in English. I worked with a totally French-speaking crew. Only our sound recordist, cameraman, and first assistant director spoke fluent English. They were all bilingual.

I have shot in many different countries and always try to use a local film crew. This avoids the tension, stress, and confusion that usually accompanies American, Canadian, or British productions when they decide to shoot in a foreign location.

In Israel on Jesus Christ Superstar, we used an Israeli crew with five British, three Italians, and two Americans. Israeli crews were efficient and hardworking. Unfortunately, when the military needed them I lost half my crew for a few days. Except in remote desert areas where you find not only no water but also no one who speaks English, the film went relatively smoothly as long as everyone in the cast and crew drank a gallon of water a day and stayed out of the sun at midday. The Bedouins in the desert taught us quickly how to cope. Language and local customs are the most important elements when making a film in any country.

Fiddler on the Roof was shot mostly in what was then Yugoslavia. With Branko Lustig, a Croatian, as our production manager we managed to operate more as a local company, utilizing many local artisans and transportation people and keeping our British and American crew as small as possible. This integration allowed us to shoot in many small villages and sensitive areas with very few problems. A film is much like a traveling circus and you always require the cooperation of the local community.

In Italy on Only You I worked with a totally Italian crew except for the sound recordist and the cameraman, Sven Nykvist who, though Swedish, spoke a little Italian. It was a great crew with an Italian production manager and we had no problems. Yet, a large all-American production shooting in Italy at the same time had great difficulty with logistic and transportation problems. No one could ever quite understand what was required because they didn't speak the same language. Also, the resentment that arises when Europeans are told: "In Hollywood, we do it this way." It is sometimes difficult for some Hollywood producers to believe that other countries and cultures also know how to make films and have been doing so for many years. Iran, Sweden, China, and Russia all have well established film industries. So many different approaches but all achieving the same results and capturing a magical story on film.


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