Mr. Conform, owner of the photocopy shop “Conform Copy”, lives with the memory of a woman who vanished thirty years ago. Virginie, his assistant, takes things into her own hands and puts up posters of the missing woman throughout town. They depict the ins and outs of love, memory, and illusion, imaginatively explored in a totally original, offbeat musical.
- Short Golden Rail - Cannes FF
- Moulin d'Andé Writing Residency - La Semaine de la Critique
- Ellen Award - Aspen Shortfest
- Fuji Prize - Grenoble short film festival
- Serge Riaboukine
- Jeanne Cherhal
- Juliette Laurent
- Christine Brücher
- Jean-Pierre Gagnaire
- Nicolas Engel
- Lionel Perrin
- Nassim Gordji-Tehrani
- Philippe Poirier
Following my homage to Jacques Demy in my first short film, THE SAILBOATS OF THE LUXEMBOURG, with COPY OF CORALIE, I explore another direction of sung cinema and musical film. The music is here directly sourced from the sound environment of the shop, and the balance of the film depends entirely on the fragile blend of music and real sound. Little by little, the spoken voice slips into a sung voice, and the music emerges naturally, only when it becomes essential. We hence play on the passage from reality to the imaginary, the present being conveyed through stylised and rhythmic speech and past through song. The film was shot in direct sound without playback. This allowed me to great liberty during the shooting as well as for the actors in their engagement with the text: we were no longer obliged to match voices pre-recorded in the studio. With Philippe Poirier, we went back and forth between image and sound and developed the music in several stages. A first version was used for the shoot, with the actors, equipped with earphones, talking or singing to this draft. Following a first image cut, Philippe reworked his entire score and finalised the arrangement. Readjusting in each phase the balance as a whole and the dynamic of the film, allowed us to closely follow the rapport between music and image. The storyline of COPY OF CORALIE is intentionally simple in order to pay great attention to detail, which is essential to the offbeat humour of the film. Serge Riaboukine (Mr. Conform) creates an imposing and fragile character in the film. If the shop décor portrays the mindset of Conform, between present and souvenirs, he has no ties to the city of which we only see a building and a series of grey walls. It is the gaze of Virginie (Jeanne Cherhal), through whom all is channelled, that transforms the city and gives life to its grey walls. As a continuation of what I did with the street painter Némo in my previous film, with stencils created by Jef Aérosol, I wanted to explore the theme of the city and of its recurring signs, of walls as the bearers of memory. As for the character of Coralie (Juliette Laurent), it is like a reversed mirror of Conform through which he is finally confronted with the illusion in which he anchored his life.
- CRESCENDO FILMS
- LES FILMS DE L'ETRANGER
One can spot the influence of Demy and his charming universe.
Nicolas Engel grew up in Hong Kong and London, where he developed a taste for musicals. In 2005, he directed his first musical short, THE SAILBOATS OF THE LUXEMBOURG. He has taken his work in the musical genre to a new level with COPY OF CORALIE. Since this film, ARTE TV commissioned a Pocket film to him, UN PREMIER AMOUR (Prix de la Région Ile-de-France au festival Cinérail 2009). In 2010, he directed the short film LE CROCODILE DU DNIEPR, for the Collection "Ecrire pour..." by the TV Channel CANAL+, shot in Kiev (Ukraine) with Lou Doillon.