Gens, Xavier (Frontiers)
The French horror film Frontieres has been winning audience accolades nearly every festival it’s been to for the past year or so, but it wasn’t until it found it’s way to Canada that it really got the attention of the right people.
Now After Dark Films is releasing Frontiere(s) as part of their second annual Horrorfest, so of course we had to take the chance to pick the brain of director Xavier Gens, whom you may recall is also working on the adaptation of the videogame Hitman for Fox.
Though personally, the other project he mentions at the ends sounds much cooler… check it out!
Johnny Butane: From all accounts, Frontiere(s) is a very brutal movie set against the backdrop of political unrest; why did you feel the two would work together?
Xavier Gens: I think the two would work together because in the genre movies you can have a social idea and explore a horror story, like George A Romero has done in his movies. In 2002, I felt very emotional when the party of extreme right came in the second turn of the presidential elections. I have wanted to speak about that fear, about my nightmare.
JB: How influenced by American films such as Hostel and Saw were you when you sat down to make Frontiere(s), and how do you feel your film stands apart from those?
XG: I had written the script for this for 4 years before the release of Hostel and Saw. When I have saw the two movies, I saw that they were really similar. I have decided to keep my script and continue to make my movie with the influence I received. For me, it is like a love letter of the cinema I love.
JB: One element people seem to site in most of the early reviews I’ve read is the Father character. What can you tell us about his origins in both the film and the script, without giving too much away?
XG: The father is for me the dark side of the old Nazi ideas that are hidden in the country. It’s like evil waiting to come back. I had written the character of the father as a sort metaphor of the Nazi ideas. The story I had imagined, is that the Nazi was hidden in the old farm since the end of the Second World War and educated his family like he wanted to.
JB: Aside from the built-in fear most of the world has for Nazis, why did you choose to make their particular breed of evil the center point to the violence in Frontiere(s)?
XG: Because I could have a realistic treatment of the violence, and everybody knows they have existed and they have made horrible things. For me, it is the possibility to put my different characters in a realistic nightmare.
JB: What are you feelings on the growing amount of horror coming out of France? Do you think this a direct reaction to domestic issues or just a batch of young directors who grew up loving horror?
XG: Actually, the possibility of making horror movies in France is because of Canal+, who put some money into different projects. That has helped young and passionate directors to rise with new ideas. It has given France the opportunity to have a new wave of film directors.
JB: What was Luc Besson’s involvement in getting Frontiere(s) made, and how much do you think it’s helped the film getting recognized?
XG: I think Luc is the person I have to thank for everything because he let me make the movie I wanted and he helped Frontier(s) to exist. Without him, you would never have seen this movie. He is the one who helped my nightmare come true.
JB: How did Frontiere(s) first come to the attention of After Dark Films?
XG: Frontier(s) premiered at the Toronto film festival in the Midnight Madness selection, where Colin Geddes had selected the movie. After Dark saw the movie there and decided to release it.
JB: Did you ever imagine they would include it in their lineup of 8 Films to Die For?
XG: Never, that was a great surprise for me and I thank them so much for that. It’s a great honor!
JB: How do you think American audiences will react to Frontiere(s)? More specifically, how do you WANT them to react?
XG: I hope they will be frightened!!! And I hope they could have a good time with friends while they watch the movie.
JB: Finally, what’s next for you?
XG: My next movie is about a shipwreck in the island of Vanikoro, an island full of cannibals.
See what I mean? Now that sounds cool! Thanks to After Dark Films for getting my questions to Mr. Gens, and of course to the director himself for answering them! Fronteiere(s) plays as part of the After Dark Horrorfest, running this November 9th-19th, be sure to visit them online for all the info you need to not miss a single movie!