"Ludovic takes refuge in dreams and imagination. For him, it's like breathing. The older we get in life, the more barriers spring up, narrowing the range of possibilities. I see life as a kind of funnel," says Berliner. "That is why I make movies, so that I can go on inventing everything."
Eve Romboz, who has worked on special effects for Peter Greenaway's films and for Brian de Palma's "Mission Impossible," uses an advanced image composition to superimpose the "live" characters against the dolls and adds small animation episodes in synthetic images to create the world of magic from Ludovic's eyes. The film inhabits the technicolor world of dolls and shows how the colors in this world fade once the real world crashes in.
Michele Laroque, who plays Ludovic's mother Hanna, was "emotionally bowled over by the strength of the story, the mixture of humor and seriousness comments." For the less discernible role of Ludovic's father Pierre, Jean-Philippe Ecoffey was careful that his character not become a caricature. "Everything about Pierre's attitude is impulsive. At the beginning he's the least tolerant of all because he has everything on the line. However, he shows a great open-mindedness which is also the result of great weariness," Ecoffey says, "It's a story about family and human relationships. The film shows people wrestling with contradictions."
The seminal role of Elisabeth, Ludovic's grandmother, went to Helene Vincent, a veteran actress of French film. "She's a very positive female character," Vincent says of her character, "She's a woman who has lived and kept hold of her youth, and tries to help Ludovic live out his dreams. To me, the strength of the story is that it urges people to face up to difference without fear and with love."
Within their quiet suburb in Brussels, which engenders the fear of others, the utmost is done within the community to be rid of elements that appear to threaten its homogeny. The object of Ludovic's affection, Jerome, is a prisoner of his parent's authority but is attracted to Ludovic's personality. His parents, Albert and Lisette Brun, are uncompromising in their misguided principles and do the most to alienate and ostracize Ludovic's family with their hatred. Berliner explains, "The adults in the film react so strongly because there are other issues lurking behind the basic question of sexual identity: Where do I belong in the world? Who am I? The film offers no psychological explanations for Ludovic's behavior, because there are probably several explanations and the issues involved are not easy to pin down." In the end, Berliner marvels that in the idea of comedy, major disillusionment and conflict can be expressed ultimately, in optimistic terms.
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