What were you looking to do when you set yourself out to make this film? I wanted to look at the question of passionate love—pretty French, right? I was interested in obsession and the idea that great moral questions suddenly have no weight when they’re confronted with desire. I imagined a triangle between three men, with sexual attraction on one end and an ambiguous friendship on the other. I enjoyed playing with codes of other genres, notably thrillers. Several people mentioned Alfred Hitchcock, and although that’s someone I didn’t consciously think of, [he’s] a director I’ve worshipped for years so I’m sure it’s seeped in somehow. I liked the idea that small-scale preoccupations are mixed with grand narratives of theatre, cinema.
Would you qualify your film as an intrinsically gay tale, or a universal love story? It’s funny—it’s my gayest film so far. In fact, it addresses a tiny homosexual microcosm, because not all gay men spend their time hitting on other men on beaches. But paradoxically it is also my most universal one. The values, morals, [and] sentiments—from intricate friendship to mad love—apply to everyone round the world. Nevertheless, it has stereotypically gay elements; a type of flirtation and hypersexuality. I purposely kept the tale set in a homosexual environment. I initially thought of placing it in a swingers-type situation, but I thought, why would introducing a girl or making it heterosexual give it more of a universal value? So, in other words, the film stages gay men to tell a tale of love and passion for everyone.
The entire film takes place by a lakeside. Why is that? I wanted to create a setting organized like a Greek tragedy: a unity of time, place, and action. Introducing bedrooms, hotel halls, and restaurants would have diluted the message, made it banal. Suddenly, it felt that everything that happened off-screen took place in real life. Temporality was especially important. The film looks as if it could have happened over a month or over 10 days. It’s a highly concentrated time sequencing that densifies time and gives it, I hope, a myth-like quality.
What about the soundtrack? You only used natural sounds but made them more intense, almost hyperreal. Yes, I left this part extremely natural. I wanted to take everything from the shoot location to turn it on its head and give it a surreal twist. Even the sounds of the planes were real. We intensified some at times, but overall, I liked the idea of creating something extraordinary out of something natural. It adds a timeless quality that everybody can identify with, rather than aggressively dubbing the film with a specific soundtrack.
If your film is a universal tale of love, isn’t murder a little radical? In many ways, the use of murder in my film is a metaphor for the end of a romantic encounter. The hero’s love interest has sex and then gets rid of the men—and isn’t killing your partner the most radical way of getting rid of him? [Laughs] It’s an image of course, but it’s a way of talking about the end of an affair, of love. In a way, I recognize myself in all the characters. I’ve been these three men: the good friend, the romantic, and the sex consumer who gets rid of men once he’s done. It’s frequent, and it’s life.