Cinema for me is…
France – Nicolas Raffin from Europa Cinemas on Vimeo.
Nicolas in 23 Frames
1. Describe yourself in ten words.
Born in France, studied in Holland, live in the UK.
2. Your best quality? Your worst habit?
I always want the best setting I can get when I watch a film, which can easily turn into a 15 minutes preparation. I think that might answer both questions.
3. Your dream job?
Working in the selection committee of one of the major festivals. Scouting films, travelling to watch them and meet the team, taking notes and convincing your peers; that sounds like a dream job.
4. What do you like most about your country?
I respect the massive efforts of the state to protect the film industry since the 1990s.
5. Your favorite dish in your country?
The Alsatian choucroute.
6. Which word or phrase in your native language do you like the most and what does it mean?
“Je vais au cinéma”. It means something close to “I’m going to paradise”.
7. What European capital have you visited lately?
Strasbourg. That counts as a European capital, right?
8. Other than your own, which European country would you love to live in?
Denmark, as I love Scandinavian cinema and its industry is strong. Italy comes next.
9. What does Europe mean to you? 3 values.
Shared history, shared present, shared future.
10. What film made you fall in love with cinema?
The Great Dictator. My hands were bleeding after I rubbed them for two hours out of excitement.
11. Your favorite film theatre? What do you like about it?
L’Odyssée, in Strasbourg, my hometown. It’s one of the oldest theaters in Europe, and you can really feel it! It’s majestic, without being luxurious: tickets are only 3 to 5€. I love the velvet curtains opening the screen, the balcony and the very politically and socially engaged programming.
12. Who is your movie hero?
Johnny Guitar, with no hesitation.
13. Which movie director would you like to be?
Raymond Depardon. I envy his proximity with the subjects of his films and his incredible access to public institutions. Or the male version of Agnès Varda, being able to share so much optimism is admirable!
14. Briefly describe your favorite scene.
Twin Peaks, season 2, episode 18. Whilst the plot has reached its most obscure stage, Lynch and Frost give us around 7 minutes of rest with a sweet scene comprising Cooper, Gordon Cole (Lynch himself), the Sheriff, Annie and Shelly. The dialogues are mundane, the music is treacly, love is in the air, and everything is wonderful. But it’s only for the worse and the viewer knows it.
15. What are the 3 best European films you have seen in the last year?
12 Jours (Raymond Depardon, 2017), FR
Aquarius (Kleber Mendonça Filho, 2016), BR
La mort de Louis XIV (Albert Serra, 2016), FR.
16. Which film character do you most identify with?
Bruno Gassman in Il Sorpasso (Dino Risi, 1962, IT). Well, he’s more my alter ego; he’s everything that I’m not and that I would like to be!
17. Your favorite soundtrack or song?
Neil Young’s soundtrack of Dead Man (Jim Jarmusch, 1995, US) is the one that comes to mind first.
18. If you had to live in a movie, which one would you like it to be?
That would mean having the possibility to time travel? I don’t know if I would survive long, but living in Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty, 1922, US) would be pretty cool.
19. Your life becomes a bio-pic. Who plays the role of you?
There needs to be a degree of resemblance, which excludes many from the start. Only two seem to stand out as obvious choices: Louis Garrel and Pierre Niney.
20. Which talent would you most like to have?
An extensive memory to memorize well the films I see.
21. What is your most treasured possession?
A coin used for the subway in New York back in the 1980s. It’s been in the family since and I always wear it as a necklace.
22. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being able to do interesting work within the film industry, which is what I really wanted to do.
23. What is your motto?
“This is the water, and this is the well. Drink full, and descend. The horse is the white of the eye, and dark within”.