Normally in cinema, you’re trying to create something as realistic and comfortable as possible. We were working against that.
DAVID: Incognito is the name of a restaurant. We imagined it as a real place that would have opened somewhere, that burned down, that opened somewhere else, that disappeared for ten years… Like a legend, where the line between reality and the imagination is very thin.
ROB: The title also refers to the clients being out of the public eye; it’s a secret place. It is suggesting that you’re going there to be incognito, so you’re not recognized. Which even extends to the way in which we introduce our characters: the frames never reveal their eyes.
DAVID: It’s a way of framing the story so as not to give away all the information, so as not to reveal the entire character. At only one point is a face shown. It’s Sophie who reveals her identity at the door of the restaurant, like a toll, she then leaves it behind when the time comes to enter.
ROB: And it’s also a way of keeping a feeling of mystery and intrigue in the story. People’s faces are cropped, but also the story is cropped. We don’t see everything. We want to see around the edges but we can’t.
DAVID: Everything is not what it seems.
ROB: There are images that move, there are images that are static and together side by side they create a story that has holes in it so that the viewer can fill them with their imagination.
DAVID: I’d go so far to say that the camera isn’t the narrator. The camera is a spectator. It’s as if you were sitting next to a couple in a restaurant and you could hear snippets of their conversation. You understand they’re arguing but it’s none of your business and this is why there are details missing. You’re a witness who doesn’t have access to everything.
ROB: We studied classic films from Alfred Hitchcock from the 1950s and we looked at his technique. Sometimes he starts with what is called a master shot, but then you go to cut aways the small details here and there related to the scene but that are happening outside of the frame.
DAVID: It’s as if we wanted to adapt this classic technique. In fact in some parts, we don’t have a master shot, it’s like the camera is never wide enough, it’s never far away enough from the story to give you a vue d’ensemble on the storyline. It’s as if you have to build the story from its broken pieces. Almost the way the necklace is broken. Then we ask the viewer to help us piece it back together.
ROB: As a part of that relationship that we create with the viewer, we’re giving them the license to have their own interpretation of the gaps. Who’s the villain? Who’s the hero? What actually happened here?
DAVID: It could almost become a game! Take all of these pieces, as a cadavre exquis and tell the story in a completely different way. In one version he’s the thief, and in another she’s guilty; she started the fire, no here it’s him…
ROB: The final version is compiled from 2000 static photos stitched together to make a film. We’re very happy to have made a film that is both photographic and cinematographic. I’m proud of this because it’s compiled from many different mediums that come together to create a very rich whole.
DAVID: I think you just put your finger on it Rob, c’est un dialogue entre du storytelling cinématique et du storytelling photographique. I think that’s what this project is really about. We watch cinema differently from how we view photography and I think that you have to see this project from a photographic perspective. Incognito isn’t just a two-minute film, it’s one expression from within a greater ecosystem.
ROB: Even the look of the film reinforces this duality. It looks like stop motion but it’s actually live action with fewer frames per second. It’s a technique that draws attention to itself, it creates a visual tension. It makes you ask “how did they do that, is it a film, is it a photo, or is it both?”. These are the two sides to our work. We have a cinematographic approach for the photography and a very photographic approach for the film direction.
SOPHIE: AMPARO AGUADO
CHRISTOPHE: KREG WEISS
BARTENDER: SHANNON SAINTUS
CHEF: MEHDI BUSCAINO
WAITER: MICHAËL HO
STORY & PHOTOGRAPHY: LES GARÇONS
ART DIRECTION: AUDREY ST-LAURENT
MOTION DESIGN & EDITING: MAT & FAB, GERARDO ALCAINE
MUSIC: DORION PINTO
SOUND DESIGN: RÉMY SEALEY, AUDIO Z
COLOUR: BONESSO-DUMAS, CHARLIE ROBERTS
FOOD STYLING: MICHELLE DIAMOND
PRODUCTION DIRECTOR: JOHANNE RICHER
PRODUCTION CO-ORDINATOR: LAURA LLORENS, AVRIL TREMBLAY
KEY GAFFER: JEREMY BOBROW
DIGITECH: STÉPHANE LOSQ
PRODUCTION DESIGN ASSISTANT: MICHAËL HO
PAINTER: BENOIT BRÛLÉ
STYLIST: MARIANNE BLAIS
HAIR & MAKEUP ARTIST: CYNTHIA BOUCHARD
BTS: HUGUES BOUCHARD