Let yourself go!
Nicolas Provost’s first feature film, The Invader, only came out last year. But Provost has been making waves internationally for years with work that builds bridges between the visual arts, cinema, and video. Argos is showing his Plot Point Trilogy, made up of three exceptionally fascinating short films.
In the first part, Plot Point (2007), Times Square is the dramatic backdrop for a thriller that Provost put together on the basis of surreptitiously filmed observations of the New York police. For Stardust (2010), too, he filmed people unnoticed, including stars like Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson. That time, he chose another setting to fire the imagination: Las Vegas. Both films have been seen all over the world. Tokyo Giants (2012), which is brand new, rounds off the triptych. “I picked New York, Las Vegas, and Tokyo because, from a cinematic point of view, they are three magical cities,” says Provost. “Magical because of the light and because you can wander around as if you were in a Hollywood studio.”
Looking around in the city, convinced that you have fetched up in the middle of a film: do you know that feeling?
Nicolas Provost: Of course! For me, cinema or audio-visual magic has become a religion. I was brought up on it. I constantly think in fictional fantasies and stories. I suspect that lots of people have that. After more than a hundred years of cinema, we in the West are completely indoctrinated. We have unconsciously learned all the codes of film. There are moments when the boundary between fiction and reality is blurred. Your first time in New York is like being in the cinema. I filmed the NYPD without them noticing. Those observations show that those cops all think they are acting in a film.
At the end of Tokyo Giants it turns out you have shown us actors. Is that not against the rules?
Provost: I didn’t want to make the same film three times. In Stardust I had already incorporated a few fictional elements in order to see what would happen. Within the concept that reality and fiction are becoming blurred, it seemed like a good idea to involve some genuine Hollywood stars. Some were staged, some weren’t. In the third film I wanted to see what happens when you place one or two actors in reality. The genre in Tokyo Giants switches pretty soon from thriller to manga and horror. The actor is a psychopath who penetrates the real people’s subconscious, their souls, and influences them.
How do you transform reality into fiction?
Provost: It is up to the viewers. I just stimulate their imaginations. The ingredients are very classic ones: juxtaposition, association, suggestion, music as emotional accompaniment, and leaving a lot of things open and abstract, so that the viewer’s imagination does the work. Like Stardust, Tokyo Giants begins with lots of intrigue: a murder has taken place, someone is raped, there is an Elvis cult leader running around, and that psychopath we were just talking about. The first half is plot- driven, but the second half is abstract.
On the one hand, you seem to encourage us to be critical of indoctrination by film codes; on the other hand, it is so enjoyable to let yourself be swept along.
Provost: And that’s the way I want it. I want you to let yourself go completely. I don’t want you to ask those critical questions. That is for afterwards, when you have seen the three films and you have grasped the idea behind them. During the film the viewer must be both emotionally and intellectually entertained.
Plot Point Trilogy
> 1/7 • wo/me/We > zo/di/Su 11 > 18.00, €3/5
Argos Werfstraat 13 rue du Chantier, Brussel/Bruxelles,