To celebrate the French and Belgian release of 1000 Cuts (original French title: Le Serpent Aux Mille Coupures), I invited French director Eric Valette to talk about the movies that inspired his film.
Based on the DOA novel Le Serpent Aux Mille Coupures and starring Tomer Sisley, Terence Yin, Erica Sainte, Pascal Greggory, Carlos Cabra, and Stéphane Debac, 1000 Cuts starts when a wounded fugitive takes a young family hostage in order to hide out in their isolated farmhouse. Meanwhile, both the criminal underworld and the police are hellbent on finding and neutralizing him. The mysterious, nameless fugitive creates a wave of violence that will leave no one unscathed.
Before 1000 Cuts, Eric Valette also helmed Maléfique, One Missed Call, Super-Hybrid, The Prey, and more. Now let's delve into Eric's main inspirations for his latest film.
High Plains Drifter
"Like Pale Rider, which is its more luminous and pure version, High Plains Drifter is the incarnation of the Western archetype of the Man With No Name, as defined in George Stevens' Shane and interpreted several times by Clint Eastwood, in silence and mystery. He arrives in a place, bringing along a multitude of problems, while also taking care of others... in a dramatic way. As a cinephile, it's hard to not think about this genre figure while reading DOA's novel. When talking with Tomer Sisley, I realized he also liked Clint Eastwood's movie (which is not among his best-known) and that it was part of our common references."
"This violent drama takes place in the heart of the English countryside and was filmed by an extremely inspired (and very delocalized) Peckinpah during his golden age. This 70s film with many rough edges is very disturbing, even if it doesn't strictly belong to the genre. I discovered Straw Dogs on VHS at my dad's when I was still very young, and it haunted my adolescence - the slow pacing, the nagging rise of the tension up into the final explosion of violence, the extreme ambiguity of the characters and situations... It's probable that the structure of Straw Dogs led me, more or less consciously, to tighten the ending of 1000 Cuts and the geographical situation at the farm – which isn't the case in the novel – and to enforce its narrative structure."
One False Move
"Here's a rather obscure film where the late Bill Paxton shines as the sheriff of a small village who has to deal with gangsters from Los Angeles. Yet again a solid structure - a slow-paced ensemble film that leads us to an abrupt and explosive final confrontation. Also, this contemporary Western in which urban violence is linked to drug trafficking takes place in a quiet, rural, and almost idyllic place. The themes and locations are therefore not unrelated to DOA's novel. Even if I didn't rewatch One False Move for a long time, I had certain images in mind while shooting 1000 Cuts."
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
"I could cite many other Korean movies, but this one was originally a shock for me. With the character of Tod, which is played by Hong Kong actor Terence Yin, I saw the extremely transgressive Asian cinema inviting itself in a French film noir and the Toulouse countryside. The idea of a clash of cultures is seductive and creatively exciting. To come back to Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance, the multitude of sub-plots and the way they motivate actions with increasingly catastrophic consequences resonated with me when I read DOA's novel. The stylistic minimalism of the film is unmatched, whereas eastern genre cinema has a tendency to overdo it. This was undoubtedly inspiring when I was looking to find a formal 'clear line' myself."
1000 Cuts is currently playing in cinemas in France and Belgium.
Will you be watching 1000 Cuts? Do you like the stories that inspired this film?