John Hellberg, director of  MOUSSE .

John Hellberg, director of MOUSSE.

MOUSSE is both the character and the name of the film that closes this Friday’s “A Night of International Film”.  The eponymous protagonist of the film, a French robber, holds up a Swedish off-track betting establishment in some unidentified port town.  A silent alarm is tripped and the police show up.  The standoff between cops and crook starts a darkly comic tale that will delight lucky viewers who make it out to the Strand on Friday.  Match 4th.  Starts at 7.  Be there…

The director of MOUSSE is John Hellberg.  We conducted a short interview over email about the film.


LCIFF:  Where did the idea for MOUSSE come from?

JH:  The idea to MOUSSE is sprung out of a combination of a enormous hangover and a re-run of an old Swedish television show heard called “har du hört den förut” (Have you that one before). The concept of that show was a bunch of people hanging out in a bar, drinking beer and telling bad jokes to each other. 

Stéphane Bertola as Mousse.

Stéphane Bertola as Mousse.

LCIFF:  Wonderful attention is paid to the nationalities of the characters.  Mousse seems French.  The humor of the policemen seemed authentic.  How did you navigate this notion of nationality in your film?

JH:  I wanted to sidestep everything that could bind the story in time and space. The different nationalities are there (as with the backgrounds and surroundings) to release the story from preconceived [notions]. I have always felt a strong need for this in order to tell a story without presumptions. MOUSSE is set in an undefined city in an undefined time. I wanted as few references to time and space as possible. 


LCIFF: Did any other films or filmmakers influence your work on MOUSSE?  

JH:  I am partly inspired by some of the works of Swedish director Roy Andersson. The Coen brothers are also a reference when I am making films. Besides this I really think I find most of my inspiration outside the film industry. 

Tensions and jokes mount in  MOUSSE .

Tensions and jokes mount in MOUSSE.

LCIFF:  Were there any funny anecdotes making the film?

JH:  When we were shooting MOUSSE we were entering winter in Sweden and had around 32 degrees Fahrenheit and below. It was the opposite of a funny anecdote at the time. Now it seems a bit funny when watching the film. 


LCIFF:  What are you working on now?

JH:  Right now I am working as an editor and I am also developing a feature film project.