Cinema has the power to broaden our minds. It allows encounter. It creates desires. It gives hope...

Marine Laclotte

Marine Laclotte studied Animation in France, first at the ESAAT in Roubaix and then at the EMCA in Angouleme were she followed a course of Documentary Animation and graduated in 2014. She then made the film “Papier buvard”, one episode of the short film serie “En sortant de l’école” dedicated to the poet Robert Desnos.

Marine, we learned that you studied Animation at the ESAAT in Roubaix and then Documentary Animation at the EMCA in Angouleme. Could you summarize for us the particularities of Documentary Animation?
I did not really learn documentary animation, but I had the chance to live a partnership experience, offered by the EMCA, the school of animation cinema trades, during which it was offered to students in animation to collaborate with the students of the Master of documentary of the CREADOC. So I discovered that we could build an animated film by reversing the manufacturing steps. That is to say that instead of working first on the image to stage the narration, we could start from the real sound, which itself provides a narration and inspires the image. During my work on folie douce, folie dure, as for documentary writing: I first wrote notes of intentions which allowed me to define my desires for the subject and for the narrative and cinematographic language. Then I lived a period of sound filming, immersed in my subject, to collect documentary material. It was thanks to this documentary material that I was able to bring out a story and the work of the image intervened after the work of the sound editing. Even if in reality, I continued to intervene on the soundtrack throughout the production of the image, so that the 2 coexist by responding to each other. It’s a very intuitive working method for me.
How long did it take you to craft an eighteen-minute Documentary Animation?
The production was spread over 4 years. But ultimately, with this working method, the longest are the pre-production phases: That is to say the logging and editing of the documentary sound material. It is at this moment that the choices of narration are made. Then it took me a year to build the animatics and determine the direction. Since the sound was very precise and already imposed a timing, I story boarded the film directly as an animatic to feel the rhythm of the images. It almost required me to work in key animation poses to be sure of the durations of the shots. Then the manufacturing part was very fluid with a small team, we were able to move forward efficiently since my preparation work had been very precise. Also, with all the sound information, it was easier for the 2 animators who worked alongside me to feel the character of the characters. This made the animation work easier.
Have you actually visited psychiatric institutions for the sake of your script?
Yes indeed. I spent 2 full months, with a sound recording friend, immersed in the daily life of different psychiatric institutions. We started by being there without sound recording equipment, just to get to know everyone. Then, we then perched the sound every day, at chosen times. In all, we collected 49 hours of sound to make a film of about twenty minutes.
What drove you to write and animate this subject matter? How did you come up with such a meaningful name for it?
This subject is part of my story since I grew up in a city where there is a large psychiatric hospital. My mother is a social worker at this hospital and has often spoken to me about the people she accompanies in the context of her work. But she chose to talk to me more about their sensibilities, their life stories, their touch of poetic madness… Her benevolent gaze on these people made me want to meet them myself. This is what is at the origin of this film. I had the certainty of making great encounters and it was this humanity that I wanted to show through my film. This title simply imposed itself. Sweet madness is what we all have in us and which allows us to laugh at all situations, which gives us access to poetry… which brings us closer. And the madness lasts are the moments that overflow, which are more serious and with which we have to deal on different scales depending on each one. Sometimes it’s a “mental illness” and you have to learn to deal with it for life and sometimes it’s temporary…