French filmmaker Xavier Gens was thrust into the public eye of film audiences after his big-screen adaptation of the video game "Hitman." He had already made a name for himself in the horror genre with "Frontier(s)," which was nominated for Best Film in 2007 at the Sitges-Catalonian International Film Festival.
The latest offering from Gens, "The Divide," is a dreary post-apocalyptic film that explores the fall of humanity when faced with incredible situations and disasters. I had the opportunity to talk to the writer/director about the movie and what he was trying to say with it.
Give us a little background on what "The Divide" is about.
The movie is talking about the loss of humanity. It's a symbol of the end of the world. When we were making the movie, it was important to write something that made sense and speak about the economic crisis and the selfishness of humanity. The atomic explosion at the beginning of the film is something very symbolic and it shows the burning up of humanity. The economic crisis showed how humanity can be led astray by people.
We called the "heroine" Eva because she's kind of the new Eve of the new Garden of Eden. I might have been showing the light because it was like we started writing a new story of humanity at the end.
There's a very biblical and political context to the film. It depends on your degree of acceptance of the message in the film. I understand it's entertainment, but for me it was important to use the genre to say something that makes sense.
You wanted to make a thought-provoking film and open the audiences' eyes to what we're doing to ourselves. Is that correct?
It's important to make movies that say something. I love to share ideas with the audience by making art. I don't believe in just making art for myself. That would mean I'm selfish. I'm a much more generous person. I want to share my ideas.
I'm really scared of fascism. There are a lot of those ideas out there and I want to fight against that. It's a way for me to show a micro society that is turning into a fascist society. We must care for things in the world and it's important to show what can happen if we go in the wrong direction. That's reflected in the destruction at the end of the film.
Karl Mueller and Eron Sheean are credited with writing the movie. Did you help out with that process or change anything script-wise?
In the beginning the script was a kind of slasher movie. Everybody was stuck in the basement and they were killing each other throughout the film. I said, "OK, that was interesting." I loved the setup of the movie but the most important thing was to bring content and a subtext to the story.
I think the producers told the writers, "This is great. I think we can do something interesting here. It's a cool context but we need to bring something else to it." We spoke with the actors and the producers and they turned around the idea of exploring the loss of humanity. We ended up with a sort of metaphorical story about losing your humanity.
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Eric Shirey is the founder and former editor of Rondo Award nominated movie news websites MovieGeekFeed.com and TheSpectralRealm.com. His work has been featured on Yahoo!, DC Comics, StarWars.com, and other entertainment websites. Eric has interviewed and worked with actors like Harrison Ford, Brooke Shields, Gerard Butler , Brendan Fraser, Selena Gomez, and many more.
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