19th Titanic Filmfestival

Festival Films Programs Press News

Jean-Xavier de Lestrade was at Titanic

Jean-Xavier de Lestrade Oscar winner documentary filmmaker brought us his first feature to the 16th  Titanic International Film Festival. Lestrade met the audience after the screening of Welcome Home on March 30th in Uránia National Film Theatre.  

The director was planning to become a lawyer, but he ended up exploiting his legal qualification in documentaries evolving around judiciary issues. Throughout his career as a documentary filmmaker he has made 12 films and in 2001 he got an Oscar for Un coupable idéal. His last three documentaries had a dramatic structure, so it was inevitable for him to turn to feature films sooner or later. „Certain things can only be told in ficion, and that was the case with Welcome Home”- he said.

The core of the story originates in a case occurred in 2004 that appeared in a newspaper article: a 14 year old boy abruptly shot his parents dead before aiming at his sister, seemingly without any particular reason. The director was concerned about two questions: how is a young person capable of such a brutally violent act, and secondly, how is it possible that according to the investigations, the boy had no motif whatsoever. The film medidates on how these events can be digested and if somebody can remain a human in a similar life situation. „All of us have a mysterious part that comes out in certain moments. Then one becomes almost unrecognisable, the best and the worst can both come out of him or her.”  Welcome Home does not aim to tell the actual story, which was only the starting point: the director intended to reflect his own version about the situation.

The main hero of the movie, Julien studied philosophy in prison, which, as to the director, is his attempt to find redemption and explanation in books. „The only thing Julien cannot get from philosophy is what he really desires: the gesture that could return his human nature to him. His remission can only be given by his sister, who is, however, incapable of it.”
Lestrade also told us that the strained, almost erotic relation between the two siblings was not part of the scenario, but in some people’s opinion it was exactly the boy’s love to his sister that may have pushed him to murder. „Originally this was not what I wanted to convey in my film. However, I found a lot of pleasure in wrapping this ambiguous relationship between brother and sister in mystery: for a long while, the viewer cannot figure out whether Emilie is a lover or a relative. Yet we hadn’t planned their relation to be so erotic. This is what happens when a film begins to live a life of its own.”

Welcome Home is in Titanic competition section, and you can see it on Friday at 19.00 in Toldi Cinema!


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