Excess Will Save Us

Family, Life and Excess

“Family Is Family”. A family can be a source of inspiration for artists. Morgane Dziurla-Petit’s family inspired work Excess Will Save Us is an examination of close relationship and manipulations. From a small French Village Petit points a lens at inhabitants whipped up by paranoia by far off event. However, in this story, who are the true nemeses?

An interview with Morgane Dziurla-Petit from the International Film Festival Rotterdam


Congratulations! You shattered illusions about French Sophistication. How has your view changed now as compared to when you started this film?
“Well I never had an illusion that French people were particularly sophisticated, growing up in a working class family. But I had the belief that sophistication was needed to change social class which felt important to me when I was younger. This is the kind of things that transforms your heritage into shame.

Making Excess Will Save Us was definitely a work on stopping the shame and creating a dialogue. I do not idealise countryside or working class because I find that there can be a lot of violence – afflicted and inflicted – but making the film made me grow so much more love and understanding for where I come from.”

These types of feelings, manipulations and reactions to events one would expect from perhaps Middle or Rural America, not a few hours drive from Paris. Are you saying emotions are universal?
“I think that anyone who makes films has the belief that emotions are universal. And with globalisation, the systems that influence us – even if you are a 93 year old man – are becoming more and more similar. But I am also in a particular situation as a French filmmaker because I live in Sweden – a country that is very much influenced by the US, much more so than France. I can see that it has sometimes influenced my choices.

Even though I work with a multiplication of small stories happening in the village of my family, I wanted them to be understood by an international audience. For example, there is that story about my grandfather believing that the tombstone of my grandmother has a strange smell. One of the versions of the edit went to the point where he shared that it maybe had something to do with Xavier Dupont de Ligonnès, a French man famous because he has killed his family and has never been found by the police. Though hilarious for a French person, I could see that this would not land on an international audience so it was removed.”

Comedy Is Love

Excess Will Save Us

The dysfunctional relationships were central. As a director was it hard to get the talent to be exposed in this manner on camera?
“Comedy is the love language in my family so it was hard with the people I am the closest to – especially my dad – to sometimes go out of that. I wanted the film to operate movements between comedy and drama and my father could be anxious about that. He likes to have a direct answer about what people think of him and there is nothing more direct than a laugh. It is part of his character though and I love that look he has in the film where he is always trying to be seen by the audience. That’s what makes me laugh but that’s also what makes me love his character despite the terrible things he does. All in all each of the non professionals have an opinion on how they want to be seen in the family and it is extremely similar to the way they want the camera to see them.”

The Source of Inspiration

You drew inspiration from your family and community, how did they react to the film?
“Amazingly, I really could not have hoped for better. They see the film as something very true to who they are even in the more fictional parts. And I was surprised to see a difference from showing the short film I had made about them where most of their comments back then were on details like the clothes they wore or the cleaning they should have done better. This time they did not speak about that and enjoyed the story… and also understood my job much better going through the emotional journey that they know is a construction of a whole team of people.”

Excess Will Save Us

As a filmmaker, are you drawn to more farcical situations?
“My next project is a drama so it could be weird to answer yes even though it is something I obviously love. I think that in general I am drawn towards quidproquo, cringe and meta. And these are things that can be worked on in both the context of comedy and drama. They have the power to make you feel intimately close to characters and again… work on our own shames.”

Excess Will Save Us All was screened at International Film Festival Rotterdam in January.

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