Leo Lebesgue's Morituri stirs souls and this conversation
Morituri is a beautiful short with a brilliant narrative. We were moved by it and decided to chat up with its creator, Leo Lebesgue. He opened up with us and talked about the film and his perspectives a creative person.
After Hour : Morituri is a soul stirring short. How did you come up with the idea behind it?
Leo : I came up with the Idea of Morituri when my father suddenly passed away in 2018. While facing denial, with all its panic attacks, I wanted to put down to paper everything that I was feeling, in order to externalize it all so that it wouldn’t burn inside. When I got better, I took everything I wrote and tried to give it a frame. Before my father’s passing, I was writing something called « Arrêt », a story about two people meeting at a bus stop. So I took this, gave my feelings to Marie, and the role of my father to Marie’s brother, Max. It took some time, but after a few weeks of rewriting, the actors came in, the shoot happened, and the film was already done. It’s funny how once you finish writing a story, it can go so fast.
After Hour : You are a writer, producer and director. Which hat do you find most difficult to wear and why?
Leo : Morituri is the first short-movie I wrote, directed and produced ! And I didn’t go to cinema school. So you can say that every role was quite a challenge for me ! But for this particular project, the toughest hat to wear had to be Producer. I had to discover by myself what I needed to prepare to shoot the way I wanted in pre-production, and I didn’t know anything about post-production. I had the chance to be really well surrounded by friends who helped me out, either in sound mixing or color-grading for example. Without them, I think Morituri would have been an entirely different movie!
After Hour : How do you perceive cinema as an art?
Leo : I think an Art is a way for a soul to express itself. Whichever way you decide to express yourself, as long as it’s true to what you’re feeling deep inside, you sublimate it through this « way » and it becomes an Art. Cinema is a particular way to express oneself. Some use it to tell stories, some use it to denounce something… You have to find what’s your own way to shoot your stories, your rhythm in your edit, your colors - and this will make your cinema Art. It’s tough because sometimes, as a director, you don’t have enough space to create. I think it should be the role of a producer towards a director to help him express himself in his own way. But I tend to be a little bit idealistic..!
After Hour : Tell us a bit about your other projects.
Leo : I’ve been writing an experimental short about a Photographer getting lost in his memories when his girlfriend left him. Not a lot of spoken-words in this one, we’re trying to create a whole mind in the country, in the south of France, so that means a lot of lights, make-up and costumes creating. Also, a few short mockumentaries we’ve been writing with my associate James Gentry. And we are trying to produce a few shorts too from other directors, in order to get more funding. It’s so interesting, I’m discovering my life as a new film-maker and I love it !
After Hour : What keeps the artist in you alive?
Leo : Finding what lies inside of me. What is hiding. What is living there. And then express it in some way. Also, working with passionate people helps keeping the dream of being an artist alive. Because not a lot of people have the chance to be able to express themselves, so I’d say we’re lucky. Thank you !