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New Jersey Film Festival Premieres Dimitri de Clercq’s gorgeous feature film You Go To My Head this Friday, September 21!


By Al Nigrin

originally published: 09/19/2018

New Jersey Film Festival Premieres Dimitri de Clercq’s gorgeous feature film You Go To My Head this Friday, September 21!

Dimitri de Clercq’s gorgeous feature film You Go To My Head Premieres at the Fall 2018 New Jersey Film Festival this Friday, September 21! 

Here is an interview I did with Dimitri:

Nigrin: Your feature film You Go To My Head is a psychological drama set in a desolate stretch of the Sahara desert where a mysterious car accident leaves a young woman lost and alone. She is rescued by Jake, a reclusive architect, but the woman does not remember who she is as she is suffering from amnesia. Jake, intoxicated by the woman’s beauty, tries to take advantage of the situation by claiming to be her husband, and takes her to his remote desert home to recuperate but things begin to fall apart as the woman’s memory starts to come back. Please tell us more about your film and what motivated you to make it?

de Clercq:  The main motivation for making You Go To My Head was Delfine Bafort, the film’s lead actress. She is the soul and spirit behind the movie. She is the person who made me realize that the time had come for me to make a feature film of my own. I had been producing films, helping directors turn their dreams into realities. I’m Flemish like Delfine, but grew up primarily in the Middle East. I’ve often felt like a character out of a Wim Wenders film, someone without roots. When I first met Delfine in Morocco, while producing another film, I felt a sudden longing for Belgium. She exhibited many of the characteristic traits of my native country and embodied so well the spirit of Jacques Brel’s song Le Plat Pays.You Go To My Head also grew out of my life-long passion for the cinema and my convictions regarding the art and craft of filmmaking.The sepia-hued, parched wilderness of the desert was also a key inspiration for the film.



 
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Nigrin:  The two lead actors Delfine Bafort and Svetozar Cvetković are terrific. How were you able to get these wonderful actors to star in your film?

de Clercq: As I said earlier, I had met Delfine Bafort on a previous film shoot in Morocco. The script for You Go To My Head was written with Delfine in mind. Svetozar Cvetković, who plays Jake, was approached with the shooting script by the film’s Serb co-producer (Zoran Tasic) only a few weeks prior to the start of principal photography. Svetozar was very taken by the story and immediately committed to playing the lead male role. He joined our film adventure with great enthusiasm and passion. You Go To My Head would not have been possible without him and his dedication to the picture.

Nigrin:   Being set in the Sahara Desert really adds to the film’s atmosphere. The light is incredible. Why did you decide to shoot the film there? Was it difficult making a film in this environment?

de Clercq:  Morocco was the ideal canvas for bringing life to our independent film endeavor. I had already collaborated with Stijn Grupping, the film's director of photography, on a previous film production in Morocco. So, we knew all the locations well and how to best capture the beauty of the Moroccan landscapes and light. Stijn has a very intimate relationship with natural light or what I call the light of "God". Not a single artificial light was used in the making of the movie. And, most of the film's scenes were shot during magic hour (the "Malick" hour).

I knew that I would have a very limited budget to make this feature film. Contrary to most European films which are principally funded with government subsidies, European grants & funds from state televisions, You Go To My Headwas entirely made with private funds.

As a producer, I have always championed an independent cinema that remains true to the director’s personal vision, yet aims to reach and touch as wide an audience as possible. A lean form of filmmaking, with a compact crew passionately committed to making a film of quality and substance. So I launched You Go To My Head with those notions in mind. 

From an original idea developed with my American friend (and New Jersey resident) Matt Steigbigel, my co-screenwriters (Pierre Bourdy & Rosemary Ricchio) and I approached the script in that same spirit. We wanted to tell a story that was suspenseful, tight and emotionally engaging within a solid narrative structure. Given our extremely limited resources, we wanted every euro to be on the screen. So we chose to tell a fairly unusual (yet extremely personal) love story that revolves around two principal characters and takes place in one primary interior location — a striking architect’s home I had access to in Marrakech. Yet, for our exteriors, we had the entire Moroccan landscape — sweeping deserts, dramatic seacoasts, vermillion mountains and lush forests.



 
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Nigrin:  The ambient sounds also add a lot to the mood of your film. Please tell us more about how it was constructed and who created this amazing soundtrack.

de Clercq: All the dialogues & most of the sounds that you hear in the film were recorded during production in Morocco by the Serb sound recordist Novica Jankov and his assistant Zoran Prodanović. Novica Jankov is best know for his work with Serb filmmaker Emir Kusturica. He learned his craft from his father Marton Jankov-Tomica, one of Serbia's great sound recordists. Marton worked as a boom operator on the feature film Cross of Iron, the last great movie made by American maverick filmmaker and "blood poet" Sam Peckinpah.

The sound design work was crafted by Dragan Ledjenac in Munich, in close collaboration with our German sound editor & re-recording mixer Matthias Kristen. 

The film's original music was created in Paris by French composer Hacène Larbi.

Nigrin:   Are there any memorable stories while you made this film or any other info about your film you can pass on to us?

de Clercq: The main challenge in making You Go To My Head is perhaps best described by the late Stanley Kubrick in his D.W. Griffith Award acceptance speech to the Directors Guild of America: “… I’m in London making Eyes Wide Shutwith Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman and, just about this time, I’m probably in the car on the way to the studio. Which, as it happens, reminds me of a conversation I had with Steven Spielberg about what was the most difficult and challenging thing about directing a film. And I believe Steven summed it up about as profoundly as you can. He thought the most difficult and challenging thing about directing a film was getting out of the car. I’m sure you all know the feeling. But at the same time, anyone who has ever been privileged to direct a film also knows that, although it can be like trying to write War and Peacein a bumper car at an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal the feeling…”.

Ultimately, I would like for You Go To My Head to share with the audience an “aesthetic” emotion. The sensation of having experienced a daydream. And, for John Keats’ words “Was it a vision, or a waking dream” to find a new resonance after viewing the film.

Cinema is most often seen as a window onto the world. I’ve always perceived it more as a mirror into the human soul.

More than a modern “twisted” love story, the film is an act of love. I conceived it as a film-inspired “Taj Mahal,” a hymn, an ode, to the splendor of its actress Delfine Bafort.

I see You Go To My Head as a “dream” movie.



 
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And today, to (re)discover the film through the eyes of the viewers has been a most enriching and moving experience. Audiences have been very receptive to the film. Great and passionate Q&A’s followed the movie’s screenings at the 39th Cairo International Film Festival, the 23d Belgrade Auteur Film Festival and very recently at Filmfestival Kitzbühel in Austria. The festival tour has been an amazing adventure. 

I very much look forward to premiering You Go To My Head in New Jersey this coming Friday at the New Jersey Film Festival and to exchanging with the audience after the film's screening.

-------------

Dimitri de Clercq, biography:  Producer turned filmmaker, Dimitri de Clercq began his producing career working with directors Mathieu Kassovitz (Café au Lait), Alain Robbe-Grillet (The Blue Villa) and Raúl Ruiz (The Golden Boat, Time Regained and Savage Souls). In 1993, he won an International Emmy Award for producing Ray Müller’s controversial documentary The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl. A native Belgian, de Clercq grew up in the Middle East before majoring in film direction and production at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 2002, he started his own production company, CRM-114, named in homage to maverick filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. De Clercq’s fascination with the desert led him to produce several award-winning films set in desolate environments, including Afghan writer-director Atiq Rahimi’s Earth and Ashes (2005) and Iraqi director Mohamed Al-Daradji’s Son of Babylon (2009). The sepia-hued, parched wilderness of the desert was also a key inspiration for You Go To My Head, de Clercq’s feature film directorial debut.

Here is the trailer for You Go To My Head:



 

The funny short film Sac de Merde will precede the screening of You Go To My Head. Here is more info on this screening:

Sac De Merde - Greg Chwerchak (New York, New York)  Based on a true story, this kooky comedy tells the tale of Mazel Mankewicz, an unlucky-in-love yet irrationally optimistic New Yorker who thinks her luck has changed when she spends the night with the man of her dreams. 2018; 13 min. 

You Go To My Head - Dimitri de Clercq (Ghent, Belgium)  In a desolate stretch of the Sahara desert, a mysterious car accident leaves a young woman lost and alone.  When Jake, a reclusive architect, finds her unconscious, he drives her to the nearest doctor, to discover that she's suffering from post-traumatic amnesia. Intoxicated by the woman’s beauty, Jake claims to be her husband, and takes her to his remote desert home to recuperate. As she struggles to figure out who she really is, Jake invents an elaborate life they can share. But when shreds of her own past begin to surface, Jake increasingly lives in fear of losing the love of his life. 2018; 116 min. With a Q+A Session by DirectorDimitri de Clercq! Co-sponsored by the Rutgers University French Department! 

 

Friday, September 21, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.


Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University


71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, New Jersey


$12=General; $10=Students+Seniors; $9=Rutgers Film Co-op Friends


Information: (848) 932-8482; 
www.njfilmfest.com

 




Albert Gabriel Nigrin is an award-winning experimental media artist whose work has been screened on all five continents. He is also a Cinema Studies Lecturer at Rutgers University, and the Executive Director/Curator of the Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center, Inc.

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