Below the Line continued its Screening Series with a presentation of Rust and Bone. Starring Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts, Rust and Bone is the uncommon romance of Stephanie and Ali. Each of these characters is in a new and unexpected place in their respective lives when they come together. As their stories intersect and diverge, they navigate a world where strength, beauty, youth and blood are commodities – but where trust, loyalty and love cannot be bought or sold, and courage comes in many forms.
Nearly every seat in the theater was filled for the screening. After the film, there was a Q&A session with the film’s director and producer, Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain, who co-wrote the film with Audiard.
After their previous collaboration on A Prophet, which took place in the dark, confined space of a prison, Audiard and Bidegain had decided they wanted to make their next project open and spacious. “Out of this frustration we got the desire to make a love story, a film with a strong female character, with space, with light,” Bidegain said, translating the words of Audiard. “That is what we had in mind.”
The filmmakers decided to change things up in another way, by shooting the film in digital. “We made the decision to film using an EPIC camera,” Bidegan said. “And it was epic.”
Audiard said that he found shooting with digital equipment “heavy” compared to the smaller, light 35mm and that the one thing he might have done differently would have been to film the daylight scenes using 35mm and the night scenes digitally.
The filmmakers recounted their shared writing duties for the film, including some of the adaptation for film. They made it clear that the film’s lead characters, Ali and Stéphanie, did not appear in Davidson’s stories. “We changed a male character into a female, and actually, it was the story of a guy who loses one leg, working in that environment, with an orca,” Bigedain said. “When we transformed that character into a woman, immediately we thought that she must lose both (legs). Because then it would become an erotic proposition.”