by writer/director Céline Sciamma
When I was a kid I remember longing for this special surprise package in the toy store. You would buy it without knowing what was inside. Tomboy has been like that for me—a movie I made as an endless surprise package. All good surprises: the commitment of the kid actors, the joy of making the set a great playground, the vertigo of exploring the depth of a very simple story, and last, but not least, the reaction of the audience, men and women, saying "that's my childhood."
They say the second film is the hardest one to make. The pressure of being expected, the rule of making it bigger: budget, casting... I didn't want that folklore. I felt that growing up as a filmmaker was about being freer, more independent. So I made the film with a crazy energy, as a bet. I wrote it in a month, and shot it in twenty days, two months later. Like a game. I was convinced that the portrait of childhood I wanted to make would benefit from that energy. Tomboy is all about the present—the rush.
There's a strong tradition of childhood films in France, from Vigo to Truffaut, Pialat and Doillon. Tomboy is one of their heirs. But in making the film, I also thought a lot about the American tradition of childhood movies. I grew up in the '80s watching the Amblin productions, thinking I would not recover from E.T.'s departure. I like to think of my work as in the middle of these two traditions: the French and the American one. That's why I'm so thrilled that the movie gets to be released in the USA. It makes so much sense.
Now, I hope the film will make you feel like a kid opening a surprise present. One from the heart.