French director Catherine Breillat comes on board Aus co-production
For the first time in her 40-year career, controversial and renowned French director Catherine Breillat has agreed to direct a film she has not personally written, signing onto the Australian co-production Bridge of Floating Dreams.
Penned by Australian Brian Jones, Bridge of Floating Dreams follows his own experiences as a young man who falls in love with a Japanese woman during his travels in the 60’s. This relationship introduces him to the mizu-shobai – an outrageous and now extinct sub-world of Japanese nightlife.
Breillat is well known for her clinical, bleak style as well as for exploring female sexuality in her work with unconventional explicitness. She has been described as a ‘porno auteuriste’.
“My story has explicit erotica, sure,” says Jones. “But it’s the opposite of bleak and clinical. That’s why I was initially dubious about sending it to her. We took a chance and sent to her anyway. At least I knew she wouldn’t be precious about directing the rather unusual sex scenes. It turned out to be the best decision ever. The timing was one of those ‘lucky breaks’ I always heard about but never got before. Catherine was ready for a change of direction. And she is going to make a beautifully sensual and erotic, intensely visceral – and really commercial, film.”
With the film originally co-produced by the late David Hannay, Breillat was contacted via his lifelong friend (and French speaker) Richard Barnes.
“What happened was that Hannay and I wrote a killer email, and we sent it onto Richard, who was then able to translate it into French and personally pass it onto Catharine,” Jones tells IF. “It has turned out to be the best possible outcome one could dream of. As things have evolved, it has become clear that Hannay and I could not have imagined a more perfect director for this story.”
Of her decision to make her first film in English, Breillat says: “I regularly receive scripts in English but this one I particularly liked. There are echoes of my (sexually explicit) film Romance, in the relationship between Sean and Miyoshi, but it’s more flamboyant and carnal, more Romanesque. The relationship between the young man and the young woman should be more sensual than the relationship in Romance. I want to develop the sensual element of my work, and this film will give me lots of opportunity to do that.”
Jones says it was always important to him and Hannay to secure a female director to tell his story.
“I decided that we were looking for a female director because we wanted a balance. A female balance to the male story,” he says. “Though the script is inspired by events that happened to me, the erotic elements we felt were better told from the perspective of a female. I know Catherine will do it her own [unconventional] way but I wanted the female touch.”
Jones is currently in the process of raising investment funds so that he may travel to Paris to do further work on the script with Breillat.
The casting process is also underway, with Australian talent sought to fill the leading role of Sean.
With a budget of 7m Euros, Bridge of Floating Dreams is slated for shooting in Japan in 2015.