“Viking” or the art of pretending to be what you are not
Inspired by Voyager probes
The Quebec director, who had not released a film since Tu dors Nicole (2014), explains that he was inspired by NASA's Voyager robotic exploration program, whose purpose was to study the outer planets of the solar system.
“I came across a documentary that talked about the Voyager 1 and 2 probes, which we sent into the solar system in the 1970s to photograph all the planets. Then the NASA people would explain that they had kept a third probe in the lab to fix technical problems remotely and that they had indeed managed to fix things remotely. So, I wondered what would happen if we applied this concept to humans,” says Stéphane Lafleur, who wrote the screenplay with Eric K. Boulianne.
But the very “first spark” of the film came to him before he saw the documentary, some 12 years ago, when he visited an exhibition by French photographer Vincent Fournier in New York.
“It was large format photos of astronauts in the desert. This image followed me for a long time. I knew I was going towards that, but I didn't know in what form”, continues the director of Continental, a film without a gun and En terrainsconnus.
A film that takes itself for another
Like its five protagonists, Vikingis also disguised as something it is not. “It's a film that takes itself for a science fiction film but which is not quite one”, declares Stéphane Lafleur.
Because even if the scenario , the costumes and sets are reminiscent of this cinematographic genre, the work is above all a modern dramatic comedy about the discrepancies that exist between our aspirations and reality.
And the concept is very plausible , although wacky at first glance.
“I don't think I would have believed myself if I had made a film about this whole team embarking on a real mission to Mars, but whether it's people who are pretending, we say to ourselves: OK, that us looks a bit like”, underlines the one who is also the voice of the folk group With no headphones.
Absurd without being a parody
It was also important for the director that his story remain legitimate in the eyes of the public, and this, in the same way that the members of the B team take themselves seriously in their role of imitation astronauts. “We didn't want the film to look like a satire or a farce,” says Lafleur.
Which doesn't prevent either Viking to be completely absurd and funny. “It was on this discrepancy that I wanted to play”, he continues.
To avoid falling into parody, Stéphane Lafleur was able to rely on the excellent acting of actors, such as Steve Laplante, for whom the main role was written to measure. Other headliners in this film include Larissa Corriveau, Fabiola N. Aladin, Hamza Haq and Denis Houle.
There was also a lot of work to be done technically to bring the universe of the film to life. “Just the astronaut helmets, it was such a complex file, says the director. You had to have five of them, not just one. You can't find that at the flea market, so you had to have them made. It remains modest means compared to the big American productions.”
Besides, the influence of the United States is also approached in Viking while the five Canadians. ne.s are recruited to meet the needs of an American team.
“American culture, of course, invades us in what we watch, in what we listen to , in how we dress. It has an influence. Our relationship with the United States is clearly present in the film”, confirms Stéphane Lafleur.
The film Viking, which has already received a special mention from the jury which designates the best Canadian film at the Toronto International Film Festival, hits theaters September 30.