Ana Girardot has created a horror film... with sound for Canal+

Ana Girardot has created a horror film… with sound for Canal+

Ana Girardot during the recording of baby monitor. Canal+ Group CANAL+

INTERVIEW – This disturbing work to listen to from January 13 on myCANAL is an object as we see few, without image, where the sound only is enough.

The actress and director Ana Girardot describes baby monitor as “a sonic horror film about the period postpartum». An astonishing work, recorded in a real setting and with real actors, around a microphone in the shape of a human skull reproducing the acoustics at 360°. It tells the story of a young mother, Agathe. In the house she and her husband have just bought, she discovers a condemned child’s room. Curious idea of ​​wanting to install her infant there… Hippolyte Girardot’s daughter embodies Agathe and benefits in her production from a technology that places the listener at the center of the stage. The goal is, it seems, to succeed in making us jump without resorting to images. Goal achieved. Listening with eyes wide closed…

LE FIGARO. – Where did the idea for this funny object come from?

Ana Girardot. – I had produced an audio adaptation of a novel by Joël Dicker for the Sybel platform and I had found the experience really interesting, especially the work on sound as a transmission tool. baby monitor came in stride. Because I was still very steeped in that. Because I myself had just had a child. And because I discovered the existence of the baby monitor, a kind of terrifying injunction to hypervigilance. From there was born the idea of ​​building a story around this object, the impact of the arrival of a baby on the intimacy of a couple – even more on that of the woman -, and the upheaval that it provokes, wonderful, overwhelming, exhausting. I co-wrote. I co-produce. Canal+ was immediately interested in the process…

What about the process exactly?

I wanted a strong sensory and auditory experience and for it to be recorded with a binaural mic. It used to be called a breach head, a microphone in the shape of a human head with two ears that record and reproduce exactly what a human being hears, namely 360° sound. Thus the listener finds himself in the middle of the room with the characters. Something totally immersive. We found ourselves doing a shoot for which we didn’t really have the instructions. But we learned so many things.

Why did you record it in a real setting?

We, the actors, had to be imbued with our roles, with the sounds of the countryside, the creaking stairs, the slamming door, the sound of birds during the day, and the sound of silence at night. We were lent a house equipped with a sound studio. We took everything on the spot. We put microphones in the garden. We managed the editing almost live. And all the sounds are real. A rather unusual exercise.

Is the story autobiographical?

It was born out of my experience of motherhood. I wanted to ease people’s complexion a little by showing them the example of a woman who is going through something that isn’t necessarily pretty and joyful. As such, I would like baby monitor be part of those fictions that help us because they show us that we are a little less alone.

And why did you choose to make it a horror fiction?

I’m a big fan of horror movies. Blair Witch, It Follows Where Paranormal Activity. Films made with very small budgets but with a huge dose of creativity, mischief and inventiveness. Films that frighten, not just because of the image, but because of the story and the sound. The sound, the music, participate very largely in the manipulation of the spectator. They feed anxiety, expectation, surprise and fear. I dreamed of a “jump scare movie” in audio. With gender codes. And everything I like. I’m not sure I got there…

But still, we are very uncomfortable…

It’s already that…

How do you view French fantasy?

We try but we have trouble. And it’s not just a question of resources. I think we intellectualize things too much. That we want to rationalize, to explain, even though one of the basic principles, it seems to me, of the fantastic, is not to try to give an explanation, so as to maintain the storm of sensations. The first season of Ghosts was perfect for that. We “meandered” without absolutely trying to solve the enigma. We were telling a just scary story. A horror film is an extreme experience, an emotional rollercoaster, a test of the brain in the face of danger. It’s contradictory. But it’s so delicious.

Is this what makes the genre weak, in our country, in the face of Anglo-Saxon creations?

Anglo-Saxon films go to the end of things, assume all the extremes, without asking any questions. It’s good. Before you start baby monitor, I sent a list of must-see movies to the whole team. So that they see clearly what I wanted to hear.


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