St. Alban

Neel Sood

03 Sep 2020

A short French film about the joys and regrets of love and life. 

Creating is a bit like making a Horcrux: pouring a portion of your soul into something that will outlast you.

If we go by that definition, I don’t yet consider myself a creator. A creative, sure. But I haven’t yet written my magnum opus. I haven’t yet transcribed my entire being onto a page or canvas. I haven’t yet turned my experiences and memories into art.

I used to know a creator. A man who lived full-steam through the turbulences and excesses of 20th Century France and came out laughing. He was my grandmother’s husband: a man called Jean Le Corre. With a sharp tongue and sharper intellect, he tore down the hypocrisies of politics and powerful idiots. And he was bloody hilarious.

He passed away a few years ago, but left stacks and stacks of semi-autobiographical unpublished novels in French under the nom de plume of St. Alban. I remember flicking through them as a child and being a little perplexed by some of the more… adult passages.

My sister Tara and I rifled through them again after his funeral. We were touched by the fathomless depth and beauty of his writing. Although none of the names and events are real, everything was inspired by the exuberant beats of his life.

We decided to create a tribute to St. Alban: a film adaptation of one of his novels, (directed by Tara – credit where credit’s due!) in which this alter-ego of the man we knew reflects on the women he’s known and loved. Set in his heyday of post-war and 1960s France, this gentle period piece cuts between the past and the present, expressing what it’s like to be young, fall in and out of love, and grow old.

In the age of COVID-19, it’s an especially powerful message about living in the present and giving your everything to every single day. No matter the era of human history, the technology we use or the ‘big events’ that shape our generation, the fundamental experience of being human hasn’t changed. Life is still a big rubber-band ball of pain and happiness.

Jean would laugh at all this, make a rude joke and drink a big gulp of red wine.