This is a subject for a film that the English will consider terribly French while the French, on the other hand, already find it typically English. Of course, ideally it should be both, English and French, on the border of what each country can bring to the other.
There's a strange vitality in English cinema - and television: a particularity, an attention to social reality, a brutality and at times a total lack of consideration for what people call good taste. I want to get the secret of all this from the English, to blend it with everything that could end up being merely French-style abstraction.
Thoughout my career, my work has been continually revived by the contributions and closeness of other European cultures. This was the case in the past in Italy, then more recently in Germany. By shooting this film in London, in English, by remaining faithful to the spirit of Hanif Kureishi's stories, by shooting in the very places that inspired them, I am declaring a deep personal conviction: of the need for a true European cinema.
Learning to get to know another culture and immersing oneself in it, knowing other actors - a whole new apprenticeship for me but that's something that I have always loved - it's what I did in Milan in 1970, in Beirut until 1980, two experiences that continue to fill my life and to which I now want to add London.
Patrice Chéreau, September 1999