Interwiew s Davidem...

16. března 2008 v 15:23 | Loli |  Parkour
You reportedly founded 'le parkour' when you were only 15 years old. How did that come about?
Well, actually, I didn't really invent it. It came from my father. I learnt it from him. He was in a kids' troop in Vietnam when he was a child. These are little children who join the Army when they are really young. I was always trying to understand why he was so good at sport and by asking him over and over again I found out that it was because of his youth in Vietnam. He told me about parkour, how he trained himself in doing it and all that stuff. It really fed my curiosity and attracted me to it.
Did you want to follow in his footsteps?
Yes, I did. I never wanted to do it for film or to earn some money, or anything like that. The only reason I got moving was to amaze my dad. I wanted him to look at me and say, 'I like that. What you're doing is great!' I was bad at school. I mean, I actually couldn't find my way. Parkour really saved me.
So you decided to follow in his footsteps to endear yourself to him, as well as it being a kind of tribute?
Yes, exactly. Whereas my father learnt it in a military atmosphere, I turned it into a fun and enjoyable form. If you look at young people who go in for parkour nowadays, they go much more into freestyle, including acrobatics, and you can tell that they have fun, while I learnt it in a more serious, effective and 'survival' way.
At what point did parkour become more than just a daily means of getting from 'A' to 'B' or from one place to another?
It's definitely more than that. It's a way of getting yourself confident, of knowing that from any place you are, if there is a problem… It's not about the unreal or the virtual. It's about reality. You know immediately what's possible or not. Most of the time people say, 'Well, if a problem comes up, I can do this or I can do that, blah, blah, blah.' But they actually don't know because they never face those problems. With parkour, putting yourself in difficult situations makes you aware of what you are really capable of.
Is the growth of parkour is something that pleases you?
I am really happy about it. If people are doing parkour for the love of it and for the art, and not because they think it will get them into films, music videos, or anything else, then that's good. That's good because it's a healthy-spirit and a healthy motivation. It's not like a martial art in which you know that you will always have to confront someone and possibly hurt that person. This is fighting actually, but the only fighting in parkour is against yourself. You never have to hurt somebody else to prove that you are stronger. It is something that you only have to prove to yourself.
How would you sum up the philosophy of parkour?
Well, when you're doing parkour if you don't want to hurt yourself, you have to do it with the simplest spirit possible, not to presume your strength, and to go little by little. It's just like learning to walk again actually. What often happens in any sport is that there are lots of egos involved. I can also see it in parkour too. Some people are going to come jumping to show off and prove that they are able to do the same as the other, or trying to impress, while it's wrong to go in that direction.
Do you consider yourself a purist in regard to what parkour should be and how it should be developed or do you think that anyone can interpret it differently and take it in various directions?
Anyone can interpret it differently. If I am personally a purist in my own methods, that means that if I am at the level I am today, and if I haven't hurt myself badly yet then it's because I have been following my rules. Therefore when I teach, I am tough because I don't want my student to blame me or say, 'You haven't told me the right way to do it.' So while training other people, I am really strict and tough to make sure they… well, my personal philosophy is, 'Train yourself while crying, and you will win while laughing.' The point is to anticipate as much as you can in order to avoid injuries.
What do you tell your students? What do you try to teach them?
Well, when they do a jump, I often tell them that 'once is never enough.' That is to say that you have to wait for the third time to see the master. One time, everybody can have the chance to succeed something like this. So, to really feel as though you are in control or that you have mastered it, you have to repeat the action several times. That's what I say. The three first rules are to do. That means that it's not a matter of time. There is no rush. However, you keep seeing young people hurting themselves because they are not prepared enough. I think that you have less chance of hurting yourself if before jumping you think something like, 'I don't feel it today. I'd rather do it tomorrow or the day after tomorrow.' Nobody has ever pressured me into doing a jump because if I don't feel it, I just don't do it. I can tell that each time there is an accident, that's because, as they say, 'more haste, less speed.' Young people go for it straight away because it's easy. You just have to put some trainers on and you can jump. But you need a strong physical condition before doing some parkour, so the first thing, I say is 'You have to do it,' then, 'You have to do it well' and then, 'You have to do it well and fast.' This last rule is the important one when filming, for example. That is to say that lots of people are going to say, 'I can do that jump.' But the crew is working to tight deadlines on a shoot, so when you recce a location and say, 'This I can do, that I can do…' you have to be certain that you are capable of doing it on the shooting day. That requires you to be quite professional and you can't actually start working in show business or the film industry before you have reached this third level, which is 'to do it fast and well'.
How would you describe your character in District 13?
Well, he's a slighty rebellious character who would do anything to get through his situation and his condition because he believes, and keeps hoping, that some light can come back to his district.
Did you feel close to the character?
Well, not today as much as I used to in a time period when I was training a lot and was a bit more like a rebel myself. But you can tell in the movie that it works really well because I did it in a similar spirit and state of mind.
Your performance was obviously very physically demanding. Did it prove to be any more difficult performing for the camera, particulary because of some of the parkour moves that were involved?
Yeah, completely. The shooting experience was new and it took me… I spent much more energy acting than 'moving' actually. When I was filming before, I had previously done the recce location, planning what I would do. There is no camera when I 'move'. Well, at least I don't feel it. Acting is different. This is the first film in which I had to act and it wasn't easy to manage.
On average, for the key action sequences, how many takes were required to get the results required by the director and camera operator?
It depended on if it was short jumps and not dangerous stuff, for which you are allowed to repeat it several times. But if you have to deal with a tough and quite dangerous parkour move you have to make sure to get it on the first or second take.
Now you're a film star, would you like to work in Hollywood?
Well, I'll see. I don't have any plan. I think that things happen naturally. I don't like to make plans about the future because I get disappointed if they don't happen. After I have finished a film, I prefer to tell myself that nothing else will happen. If something finally does happen, that's great. If nothing happens, it's not a big deal.
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