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“I wanted to make a film about childhood,” recalls Richard Linklater talking about the inception of Boyhood, his groundbreaking opus nominated this year for four Golden Globes. I’d been a parent for a while and when you have a child it makes you think of childhood in general.”His intent? To follow his protagonist from early childhood to his late teenage years, from age 7 to 18. With the same actor that would grow in front of the camera…It seemed an impossible endeavor. Twelve years to complete a movie. It had never been done before. “Suffice to say it is a crazy idea,” admits the director cheerfully in retrospect. “It’s insane.”Yet such was the start of the project that would allow the filmmaker to photograph the maelstrom of life and hopefully capture the elusive and kaleidoscopic passing of time.Boyhood would chronicle the coming of age of young Mason, his life with his elder sister and their divorced parents. “If cinema was sculpture, film would be clay,” Linklater adds. “I wanted to make an intimate and simple epic story which would allow the audience to relate and recognize themselves. At the beginning I wanted to tell many stories but finally the rule of the film was to only see things from the point of view of the kid, and less tell a story than evoke a feeling, how it is to be a child, to grow from child to teenager to young adult…I wanted the movie to seem like the memory of a young life, just rolling through time.”The 54 year old director remembers what it was like for him, back then in Texas where he grew up. “When I started school in the first grade I knew it would be twelve years and it felt very long.”Key to Boyhood was finding the right boy to play Mason, and Ellar Coltrane proved to be the ideal choice. “He is the same kid I met at age six, this kind of ethereal, mysterious young man, who feels like a family member and it was fun to work with him all these years.” From the start, Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke, who play Mason’s divorced parents, were game for the artistic gamble and excited to be part of such a visionary project. And for Mason’s spunky sister, the director did not procrastinate long before choosing his own daughter Lorelei. “In that sort of undertaking you have to sort of give yourself over to the unknown, explains Linklater. It is an unknown future. Who knows what they are going to be doing 12 years from now. What was exciting was that you would deal with the world and your people as they incrementally changed over the years, that was the fun part and the volatile part.”Filming started in July 2002 and finished in October 2013 for a grand total of thirty-nine days. Every year, cast and crew would reunite to shoot a few sequences. Every year, the changes in the characters would be captured. Every year some fugitive moments of the zeitgeist of that particular time would also be recorded. Specific music and songs were also a major element, chosen to translate accordingly the ever-changing tastes and moods of the protagonists. “It was basically like a great acting camp,” sums up Patricia Arquette of the experience. The result achieved was a special kind of naturalism. What Lorelei Linklater calls “the fictional reality”.Linklater knows it would be easy to compare Boyhood to the four movies François Truffaut did over twenty years ago with Jean-Pierre Léaud as his alter ego Antoine Doinel starting with the 400 Blows in 1959. But it would also be too simplistically reductive. And so would underlining the similarities with the Michael Apted Up series, but those were documentaries. He sees Boyhood closer to his Before trilogy. And the repeated pairing of Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, first in 1995 Before Sunrise, reunited nine years later in 2004 for Before Sunset, and again after the same interval for its (perhaps only provisional) conclusion last year in Before Midnight.In his twenty-six year career, Linklater has proven his constant versatility. From Slacker to the cult Dazed and Confused, and School of Rock, Fast Food Nation, Bernie or Me And Orson Welles…With a meager budget of 4 millions dollars, Boyhood has so far earned slightly more than ten times that amount at the worldwide box office.What might have sounded like a concept, worse, a gimmick, turned out to be a movie with no cinematic precedent, embraced like none other this year. After premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, Boyhood went on to win Linklater the Silver Bear for best director at the Berlinale and to become the best reviewed picture of 2014 with a 99% positive rating.“I wonder how it will feel twelve years from now, when the movie has moved farther and farther from the present,” wonders Linklater. Only time will tell for sure…. Would he be ready to renew a similar experience and spend such an amount of time on another project? “No”, he admits. “ I look forward to my next regular scheduled movie.”Jean-Paul Chaillet