In 2018, Romain Duris and Olga Kurylenko are reunited in a fantastic disaster film quite unprecedented in the landscape of French cinema: “In the mist”. A somewhat special story where a deadly mist invades Paris. The opportunity to come back behind the scenes of a rather special shoot.
In the fog: when French cinema renews itself
In 2018, Canadian filmmaker Daniel Roby makes a short detour to France to stage In the fog. A fantastic disaster thriller carried by Romain Duris and Olga Kurylenko takes place in the French capital. The pitch is simple and tells how a deadly mist overwhelms Paris. The story follows a group of Parisians, forced to change their way of life to survive in an extremely dangerous habitat. In the fog was the occasion for French cinema to renew itself, and to offer a new type of cinema in the French landscape. The film was primarily critically acclaimed.
How to deal with fog on set?
To stage In the fog, Daniel Roby tried to be as realistic as possible. He, therefore, recreated Parisian decorations faithful to the buildings that can be found in the capital. Arno Roth, the production designer, has built from scratch the apartments for Anna, pensioners, and Mr. Belkacem. Everything was created in the studio to facilitate working with smoke.
In effect, In the fog uses real smoke for its indoor footage. Thus, the technical team and the actors were obliged to cope with a thick and permanent fog that is difficult to dissipate. What makes a feature film one of Romain Duris’ most complicated shoots as he revealed around the time of the film’s release:
Technically, it was impossible to clear the fog between takes, so we had the feeling of being led into an airlock, in an indistinct atmosphere, where we guess things more than we see them. However, these sequences in the mist represent almost half of the film. We also had to learn to speak with a mask, which was all the more difficult as this device alters the way we hear each other. All these physical constraints really took me out of more traditional films that I shot.
A “realistic” method that allows gives more body and thickness to In the fog. A technique that also proves that using old-fashioned effects rather than CGI is risk-taking that can pay off!