life lessons

l Acclaimed as the best movie about

3 childhood since Stand By Me. Cross My Heart is also set for a remake by Steven Spielberg. TrevorJohnston meets the quietly chuffed French writer/director. Jacques Fansten.

‘I thought I was making a little French movie and it ended up being shown all over the world.‘ enthuses Jacques Fansten. whose third feature ('ross My Heart has achieved international success that far surpasses its maker's initial aspirations. Starting life as a project for French television. the film's touching yet unsentimental story ofa gang of school chums banding together in adversity after the sudden death of their friends mum has proved almost universal in its appeal. Opening to particularly strong reviews in America. foremost among its admirers has been none other than Steven Spielberg. who almost immediately signed up to direct an American remake (scheduled to start shooting in late 1993) and recently went on French television to offer gushing praise. ‘I went 3 crazy for this movie.‘ he proclaimed. ‘What made me cry was that it was about lasting friendship. about putting everything at risk to help somebody.’

ln Cross My Heart. that particular somebody is twelve-year-old Martin - played with a welcome lack of precocity by newcomer Sylvain (‘opans whose mother passes away unexpectedly. leaving

him alone in the world and understandably wary of Cross My Heart: ‘not so much a children's movie as a movie aboutchildhood’ being taken into care by the social services. Gathering round him in his hour of need. his there's something ofa comic note to the in front of the cameras before. When I told some classmates hatch a plan to bury the body and cover proceedings. but Fansten is careful not to overplay of them them that they‘d got the parts. they were

3 up for him as if nothing at all had happened, a the dark humour or the sentiment (one doubts that absolutely convinced I was joking. I decided on

! deception which proves easier to pull off than they Spielberg‘s version will be quite so subtly drawn). children without movie experience because I

i might have imagined. Ironically. the entire group and the film is much the better for it. Even so. the wanted them to be constantly discovering things ends up doing much better in their studies than director did have his moments ofwondering just about the filmmaking process as we went along. before. and although the authorities can‘t be how the audience would react: ‘When we were That way they would forget they had all this acting duped forever. the bond that has grown between to do.‘

the children in the meantime is something the ‘Evemmng we mink about chi|dren usually The end result maybe fairly low-key. but it's one 333': turnsoutwbewrpna-cmwrenarenear'v 2:231:22}:2mattressmists:straits:

.NO‘ "is “01 “umbl‘lgmpthi‘L‘ ChUCleS a'ways more senoqs am! mature than we Like Rob Reiner‘s Stand [3v Meor Ann Turner's Fansten. a former assistant to Claude (‘habrol and tend i0 Imaglne. Celia, Cross My Heart isn‘t'so much a children‘s veteran of a string ofTV films and documentaries. movie as a movie about childhood. and that makes ‘norisit basedon actualevents. What I wastrying shootingthe funeralscene.all the children were a” the difft‘fcncc- AS Fansten himSL‘lffldmiI-S‘. to do was to tell a story about children's solidarity. having such a good time and I became slightly ‘evcrything WC think about Childrcn usually turns It seems to me that in France these days adults alarmed that viewers might think we were treating out to be Wrong. Children are nearly always more have become very relaxed in their attitudes to a very serious situation rather flippantlv, But serious and mature than we tend to imagine. In the 3 ideology and morality. which makes me wonder people have really taken the finisth film to their film. I‘ve tried to capture that feeling you have as a E how the next generation is going to develop its hearts because they accept that seeing things Child When ,VOU'fC really dctcrmim‘d 10 milkt‘ i outlook on life. The twelve-year-olds in the film through the eyes of the youngsters is just another things diffoCmWht‘n )1“!ng UP~ bCCilUSC l are at that point where everything about adult life way of looking at our values as grown-ups.~ adulthood can often stifle [hill Spiril- “‘5 "012!” i is a problem or a secret. Together they discover Marvellously fresh and totally natural, the gain. There are things that you lose when you get i things about themselves and learn how to live.‘ performances from the voung east have a lot to do older.‘ i Asthe young protagonists struggle to bundle the with the film’s success aiidentirelvjustifv the ("055' M." H"“”l”“."-" 1”" EdinburghFilm/101M corpse into an old grandfather clock for burial. director's decision not to use anyone who‘d been from/"0'11?- 0N FOLLOWING PAGES: FRIED GREEN TOMATOES C SHlNlNG THROUGH 0 JOHN CASSAVETES

The List 13 26 March 199215