Siddig Finds Himself in 'Un Homme Perdu'By Michelle
May 29, 2007 - 7:00 PM
Alexander Siddig (Bashir) was at the Cannes Film Festival last week to discuss Un Homme Perdu, a film by Danielle Arbid in which he plays an amnesiac who vanished from Lebanon, only to be discovered by a French photographer.
"In real life, I don't think this story happened," Siddig told MK2 (via Sid City). "The story is a figment of Danielle's imagination." Asked about his relationship with Melvil Poupaud, who plays the photographer who discovers the amnesiac character, Siddig said, "We spent all our time together. We stayed in the same hotel in rooms next door to each other."
Like their characters, Poupaud and Siddig found themselves "immersed in each other's world all the time...and we liked each other, which was the most important thing." They had met before the film began shooting, staying up at a London bar until 3 a.m. "I liked the way his mind works and I guess he liked the way mine works," Siddig said. "We really just became very, very close, very quickly. Actors are good at making relationships very quickly, so you always hear about actors marrying someone after two weeks because that's what they do...they get very deep very quick, and we did that."
Siddig's character, however, does not share the same warmth for Poupaud's. "He's very suspicious," noted the actor. "What does this guy want him for? Does he want him for sex? That was an important aspect of the film, and I think it has an interesting mirror in the attitude of the Arab world to the Western world."
In Un Homme Perdu, the photographer hires the amnesiac as an interpreter as he seeks out erotic subjects for both his images and his private satisfaction. "I think there's an interesting mirror," Siddig explained. "The Western world comes to the Arab world and takes oil, takes mineral wealth and money, and the Arab world is a little bit concerned...by the time they make a relationship, by the time the French world understands the Arab world, the Arabs have run." The film, he added, offers no solution to this dilemma.
Arbid was inspired to make the film by the life of Antoine d'Agata, a set consultant and photographer. In the SidCity Forum, she is quoted as saying that she wished to make "an honest film" and admitted that the film might be perceived as provocative, particularly in its sexual explicitness, but for her "the provocation is only superficial and is only used to make people react instantly."