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Reunion / L'ami retrouvé (1989) Jerry Schatzberg

Par Jerry Schatzberg
Publié par Clifford Armion le 15/11/2013
Jerry Schatzberg started his career as a photographer and made his debut as a film director with Puzzle of a Downfall Child in 1970. Three years later he won the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix for Scarecrow with Gene Hackman and Al Pacino. He was invited by the Festival Lumière to present Reunion (1989) which was screened in Lyon on 18 october 2013.

Jerry Schatzberg started his career as a photographer and made his debut as a film director with Puzzle of a Downfall Child in 1970. Three years later he won the Cannes Film Festival Grand Prix for Scarecrow with Gene Hackman and Al Pacino. He was invited by the Festival Lumière to present Reunion (1989) which was screened in Lyon on 18 october 2013.
 
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Jerry Schatzberg:
I’m not going to tell you about the film but I’ll tell you a little bit about the making of the film. As you all know, making a film is always a work of collaboration and you can see by the end-credits how many people took part in the making of the film. To me the most important part is the script, the story. When the story was presented to me by the producer, Anne François, she asked me if I had ever read the book by Fred Uhlman and I said no. She gave me the book and I read it and I loved it. I was a little hesitant because I had never made a film out of the United States and so I had to think about it for a while. I thought that I would use a European cast. I didn’t want to make an American film but I wanted to speak English so I decided to have British actors and a spattering of German actors in smaller parts and then some pieces on television that are in German too.

I wanted to have a British writer and the producers came back to me saying Harold Pinter was interested. The idea of having Harold Pinter was wonderful but also very intimidating to me and I wasn’t sure that he was right for the story. I said I would like to talk to him and after talking to him on the telephone I knew he was just what I wanted and we started to collaborate. He was very open-minded. When he wrote the first draft I was very intimidated about telling him what changes I wanted. But I felt I had to and he was very much open to changes.

After the first draft we went to Germany to look for locations and I presented him with my ideas and my changes. He loved about 70 or 80% of these and worked and made them even better than what I said. Through the whole collaboration we had just one disagreement which was about the end of the film. I liked the end of the book very much and I thought of a cinematic ending. He had a different ending and I told him that if he wrote the two endings I would shoot them both and then we would keep the one that worked the best. I had an advantage because I was editing the film, so I used my ending first. I invited him and I was so nervous that I couldn’t even sit in the screening room. He saw the film, came out and said ‘I love it’. His wife who was with him asked him ‘which ending did he use?’ and Harold said ‘his, his was right’ and I really appreciated that. Harold really loved the film and to the day he died, every time he’d see the film, he would call me to tell me how much he loved it.

Pour citer cette ressource :

Jerry Schatzberg, "Reunion / L'ami retrouvé (1989) Jerry Schatzberg", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), novembre 2013. Consulté le 25/04/2018. URL: http://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/arts/cinema/reunion-l-ami-retrouve-1989-jerry-schatzberg