• Interviews

Filmmakers Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch – Podcast Golden Globes Around The World


Belgian filmmakers Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch weren’t expecting to win the top Jury Prize when they showed their film, The Eight Mountains, at the Cannes Film Festival this year.

So much so, that the real-life couple had left France the day before the award ceremony and were hurriedly summoned back with only hours to spare before accepting the prize.

“It was a little bit absurd, but we didn’t expect it and we didn’t want to bet on it and stay around in Cannes,” co-writer and co-director Charlotte Vandermeersch tells HFPA Belgium journalist, Greet Ramaekers, in this episode of Golden Globes Around the World.

“So, we were just home and then we got the news and then getting to Cannes on very short notice; barely finding a flight; getting prepared at the airport; then on the plane doing some makeup; then straight to the red carpet for a beautiful night, because you’re sitting in this huge theater, and you know you’re going to get something, but you don’t know what,” she adds. “That it was the Jury Prize, we couldn’t have been happier.”

The Eight Mountains is based on the best-selling Italian novel by Paolo Cognetti and follows two boys who grow up as best friends in a small mountain village. One moves to the city while the other remains behind and through the twists and turns their lives take, they discover what it means to be true friends as their destinies unfold. 

Yes, not only did the real-life couple who co-wrote the 2012 Oscar-nominated film The Broken Circle Breakdown test their relationship by co-directing for the first time – a decision they confess in the podcast probably saved their relationship – but they chose a project in a language they didn’t even speak.

“When the book was presented to me, it was proposed as a possible international project to be done in English,” admits van Groeningen, who previously directed The Broken Circle Breakdown and the 2018 Beautiful Boy, starring Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell. “But I was really clear in my mind when I read the book that I wanted to do this film, but I had to do it in Italian even though we didn’t speak Italian. It just didn’t make sense for me to change it, because everything was so authentic about it, and it was incredible that the Italian producers gave us that trust and thought it made sense that Belgian directors could make a film in Italy in Italian with Italian actors.”