Émilie Vandenameele on “Si t’as un coeur” / interview

The actor and director studied acting in Paris and then theatre and film at the Sorbonne. For almost ten years she was co-director of a theatre company where she wrote, performed in and directed 15 plays. Her collaboration with the playwright Hélène François won several awards at the 2018 Festival d’Anjou in France. “Si t’as un coeur” is her debut short film.

What was your starting point for “Si t’as un coeur”?


Few years ago I have been working in an high school with a group of teenagers. I made them work on scenes from the play ‚Spring awakening‘ written by Frank Wedekind in 1891. The play portraits the confusion of young people confronted to their first steps in adult life.
Despite the different time and context, the group felt very connected to the characters of the play. How hard it could be to recognize and understand your desire, or how the feeling of love can be confusing and challenging our minds and bodies.
I was standing by them on stage, observing very closely theirs breathes, chills, and hesitations as young hearts, but also as unexperienced actors. It was beautiful and very moving.
The idea of the film appeared to me clearly at this point. The camera allowing the proximity needed to catch the awakening of an emotion, trying to create something to feel, much more than to understand.

Do you have a favourite moment in the film? Which one and why this one?

One of my favourite moment in the film is when Lucie is alone in a field, changing her clothes. It is the first time that we discover the character and we don’t know wether she is lost or if she is just enjoying her freedom.
She appears as a beautiful woman magnified by the light and the next second as a young girl with braces on her teeth, a teddy bear in her bag.
I like the confusion in the scene.

What do you like about the short form?

I think I like the fact that short forms allow a lot of flexibility during the making of a film. Shooting with a small crew can be convenient : it is more simple to adjust the organisation to potentials opportunities and to welcome happy accidents. It also feels easier to get into some experimentations at any stage of the production.
Not being restrained by a precise duration format is a great comfort too.

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To find out more about Si t’as un coeur, go to 6:13 and 18:14 in the video.

photo © Daniel Seiffert

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