Competing at UniFrance’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, Clémence Demesme’s “Flesh and Volcanoes,” set in a small village in France’s Auvergne, delivers a decorous portrait of a 14-year-old going through puberty and facing the sadness of the recent loss of her mother.
The French director is now developing her first feature, family drama “L’Americaine” while still working for Paris’ photo studio Studio Rouchon.
A photographer and video artist, Demesme’s video, “Le cauchemar du poisson rouge,” made when she was 19, was selected for the Videoformes section at the Clermont-Ferrand Festival and won a Bronze Award at Cannes’ AVIFF Art Film Festival. Demesne was awarded an artistic residence in Brioude by Auvergne’s Directions Régionales Des Affaires Culturelles (DRAC), which provided the training and funding to write and direct “Volcanoes.”
“I think my interest in the work of Bill Viola and Alejandro Jodorowsky is evident. The way they place emotion and impressionistic imagery at the very heart of their work is something that’s always affected me,” Demesne said of influences on “Flesh and Volcanoes.”
Attracted now by fiction, Demesme is currently writing “L’Americaine.” Set in the eighties, the feature will follow Fleur who returns with her mother and brother to the family home in Southern France. There, they will discover that their mother is dying from AIDS. “Light and the landscape will shape a luminous but toxic world where the characters will have to find a way to love themselves and each other if this is at all possible for them,” Demesne explained.