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"Continuer" - "Keep Going" Film - Interview with Joachim Lafosse

by Emilia Ippolito

The UK French Film Festival- currently on in several UK cities (7-15 November) shows a wide variety of relevant and valuable films from French speaking countries

One of them is certainly Continuer - Keep Going (2018), directed by Belgian Joachim Lafosse

It portrays a mother-son relationship on a difficult ‘reconciliation trip’ through supposedly Central Asian harsh landscapes, on horses. We are rather used to watch/read stories about father-son or mother-daughter Oedipal roller coaster, and this one is unusual, short (86 minutes) and with a sharp, poignant script, at times very intimate and moving. The final few minutes definitely strike an emotional chord, via a no-nonsense, to the point, realistic and human end

We have met Lafosse at Cine Lumiere - the official venue of the Festival in London, a renowned hub for French movie aficionados

EI: Joachim, why did you decide to portray a mother-son relationship: an unusual choice, since we normally hear about same gender parent/child relationship? Any personal experience involved ?
JL: After twenty years of analysis I read the book the film is adapted from : Laurent Mauvignier’s ‘Continuer’ and thought it deserves to be brought onto the big screen.

EI: The book is very different from your film. What were you drawn to in particular?
JL: The mystery about mothers and sons. What do mothers dream about- concerning their sons? How are their dreams and expectations perceived and lived by their sons?
I tried to look into it via the novel and share it, making it somehow plausible

EI: The Book is set in Kyrgyzstan for example, but you shot it entirely in Morocco. What are the reasons of your choice ?
JL: Mainly logistics and commercial. I knew the Moroccan desert and remote areas pretty well. The insurance company already objected to this setting, never mind Kyrgyzstan... you have to be pragmatic when making a movie !

EI: Did Laurent agree with your choices?
JL: Absolutely- he gave me free hand: much appreciated!

EI: Your cast is small and excellent: Virginie Efira and Kacey Mottet-Klein; the latter is one of the emerging stars of French cinema. Were there any odds working with them?
JL: I chose them on the basis of age difference: I was looking for a bossy mother in her early forties and a son half her age, as in the book. The main odd was the fact that Virginie ended up also producing the film: it was quite difficult at times. I could have done without the power relation that resulted from this : never again will I work with a protagonist-producer!

EI: The Film has been reviewed and defined as ‘modern Western’: I cannot see any resemblance to that genre : what did you make of that ?
JL: Well, what can I say..?!? Critics saw horses, tough landscapes and a gun.. and there you go: they found a label for it! It’s definitely not a modern western

EI: What are your projects for the future?
JL: I’m starting to shoot my new film in a few months: I’m looking forward to it!

EI: What is it about?
JL: It’s about fathers and sons; I was eager to explore the other side of the story ... the film is due in 2021 and no more adaptations ! I much prefer writing my own script

You should not miss this film: it’s a real treat, not only to the aficionados of twisted Oedipal narratives


Sybille, a divorced mother, can't stand watching her teenage son Samuel slip into a violent and meaningless life. She is also struggling with her own demons, past and present. As a last report, she takes Samuel on a long journey across Kyrgyztan. Accompanied only by their two horses, mother and son face the magnificent yet hostile natural environment, its dangers, its rewards, its people... and above all each other.

Directed by:  Joachim Lafosse

Cast: Virginie Efira, Kacey Mottet Klein, Diego Martín




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