By Kim Boram
BUSAN, Oct. 10 (Yonhap) -- French director Leos Carax said during a press conference at the Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) Sunday his latest fantasy musical film "Annette" is about a "very bad father" and casts unanswerable questions about paternity.
Starring American actor Adam Driver and French actress Marion Cotillard, "Annette" is the story of a malevolent stand-up comedian, Henry McHenry, who falls in love with a famous opera singer and has a daughter named Annette. After his wife's death, he exploits the preternatural singing talent of his infant daughter to make a great fortune.
The film opened this year's Cannes Film Festival and earned him best director. It is Carax's first work in nine years since his critically acclaimed fantasy "Holy Motors" (2012).
At this year's BIFF, which opened last Wednesday, "Annette" was screened on the prestigious Gala Presentation section.
Carax said he has been mindful of being a father while working on projects, especially in his two latest films, "Holy Motors" and "Anette."
"'Annette' is about a very bad father. These two films are the ones I've made since I became a father," he told reporters. "I thought, if you do a film about a father or anything, you would put questions and doubts with no answers or with fears into the film."
In order to assure himself of those things, he made himself appear in the two films with his daughter, Nastya Golubeva Carax.
"I dedicate this film about a father to my daughter," he said, adding he tattooed his daughter's name in Russian on the back of his right hand.
In the film, the role of Henry's daughter, Annette, who is five years old at most, is very important because she is the only one who points the finger at his father, who has committed crimes but has never been punished.
But the director admitted he could not find the best child actor to take the part, which requires the actor to act and sing well. So he decided to use a wooden puppet, instead, although employing a computer-generated character was one of the possible options.
"I didn't want 3D imagery, because everything should be in post-production, and I want Annette to be on the set," he said. "I want to be able to connect with her, and I wanted actors to be able to connect with her."
Based on music composed by American pop and rock duo Sparks, "Annette" is Carax's first musical film and his first English-language project. The director said the American rock band had first suggested making a musical together.
"I always wanted to work with music before starting cinema. I always wanted work with the best musicians, composers or singers," he said in a press conference during BIFF. "I was lucky with Sparks, because I felt at home when listening to their music. I have known their music since childhood."
Carax said he is pleased to re-visit Busan, the host city of BIFF, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic after a near 24-hour journey from France to South Korea. His schedule was delayed for one day due to some quarantine issues.
"I just arrived here after 24 hours of plane, train and taxi," he said, having visited the South Korean city in 2015 for a special program called "My French Cinema." "I'm happy to be here."