Ode to hedonism, My only desire invites us to a strip club where the dancers create joyfully inventive shows. Contrary to the glaucous representations of paid undressing, Lucie Borleteau’s third feature film opens a new path between erotic stand-up and initiation story.
First an actress, the director cut her teeth with Claire Denis, collaborating on the screenplay of White Material (2009), and with Arnaud Desplechin, for whom she was assistant director. Nearly ten years after his first feature film, the noticed Fidelio, Alice’s Odyssey (2014), which followed a young woman, a marine mechanic, in the midst of men, she is interested in a group of women who share the fantasy of putting their bodies on display.
Striptease can be feminist, but it remains a divisive subject. Did you encounter any difficulties financing your film?
Yes ! We almost went to Belgium, because we couldn’t find the money here. The jurors of the various commissions pointed out to us that the strippers were not victimized enough. How Aurora (Louise Chevillotte) could she decide in the blink of an eye to strip naked in public without the scenario evoking trauma or, better, money problems? It must be said that the cinema likes to make women suffer. Breaking the Waves (1996), by Lars von Trier, I really like it, but I also want something else. After a year and a half of refusal, funding was released. In one week, the advance on receipts from the National Center for Cinema and the Moving Image (CNC) and the envelope of Canal+ were added to the contribution of the distributor Pyramide. But that’s about all.
How did your interest in striptease come about?
In 2014, a close friend pushed the door of a club to try the stripper experience and told me about her work. I love the idea of being inducted into a community by someone I love. The film is also nourished by personal experiences. When I arrived in Paris, I did nude figuration and I was a live model in front of student painters. I felt quite lucky, because from time to time classes were held in nice apartments with a small open fire. There was wine, it was nice. Never creepy. Feeling the gaze on oneself was even gratifying. Then, for the Fémis competition, which I missed, I prepared a file on the peep-show, the device of which makes me think of a merry-go-round for adults. Cinema is also an art of voyeurism, and I’m pretty sure that the first films shown at fairgrounds showed scantily clad dancers.
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