“Drops of God” series: “Wine and Japan take me back to my own youth,” explains Fleur Geffrier

“Drops of God” series: “Wine and Japan take me back to my own youth,” explains Fleur Geffrier
“Drops of God” series: “Wine and Japan take me back to my own youth,” explains Fleur Geffrier

As a child, Camille Léger (Fleur Geffrier) was very close to her father, Alexandre (Stanley Weber), a demanding and renowned oenologist. Her father, when she was a child, introduced her to flavors, smells and tastes. But Camille had a serious accident, drinking wine too young. Since then, she can’t stand the smell of alcohol and has to eat rice and green beans. She has not seen her father since that day. His mother Marianne (Cécile Bois) took him away from his father.

When Alexandre dies, at the head of an immense fortune, in Japan, the notary, Talion (Antoine Chappey) tells Camille that there are two in line for the inheritance: her, and Tomine Issei. They are the same age. One is the legal daughter, the other the spiritual son. They will have to compete on wine, in three events. Despite her problems, Camille, passionate, will take up the challenge. Issei (Tomohisa Yamashita), from a very conservative diamond family, accepts despite pressure from his family. In eight episodes, “Drops of God”, adapted from a manga in 44 volumes, recounts these two trajectories and speaks of transmission, fraternity, and liberation from the family shackles. A look back at this wonderful series, whether you like wine or not, with Fleur Geffrier, one of its main performers.

What did you like about the character of Camille?

I was immediately hooked on reading the scenarios, because the plot takes place partly in Japan, it talks about wine, and it is adapted from a manga. I became attached to the character of Camille, who resembles me in certain aspects. I identified with her quite quickly through her passionate, sensitive, rough side. I found it touching.

You didn’t know this manga series, “Drops of God”, but it seems that you are a fan of this type of literature?

I was immersed in these worlds when I was a teenager, and even a little later. My brothers still read a lot of manga. I also watched a lot of anime (Japanese animated feature films). I started with feature films like “Akira” or “Perfect Blue”, true masterpieces.

I then turned to Studios Ghibli and saw every Miyazaki film at least twice. That this series was based on a manga immediately captured my interest. I started reading “Drops of God” before filming.

I realized that the manga was very different from the television adaptation: they put wine in the foreground. We probably talk more about the characters’ quest for identity. The quest for wine is the backdrop, even if it is very present. But I preferred to stop so as not to have too much contradictory and different information when it came time to shoot.

Did your curiosity about Japan come from your anime culture?

No, I think it goes back further. As a little girl, I remember Japanese prints: my parents must have had books with images, which I found fascinating. When I was younger, I read a lot of French expatriate blogs. This mix between tradition and modernity has appealed to me for a long time.

Do you master wine culture?

I have a fairly epicurean family: my grandmother ran a hotel-restaurant for a long time, my father was a cook before his retirement, and I grew up in the South-West, in the Tarn, in a place surrounded by vineyards. . When I was little, my father took us to the vineyards, we went to the cellars… The smell of decanting wine is familiar to me. But I really learned about the subject with the series: I think it can appeal to both those who know nothing about wine, as well as those who know a little about it or even experts.

The two mother characters, that of Camille, Marianne (Cécile Bois), and that of Issei (Makiko Watanabe), are quite toxic, right?

They both have, to varying degrees, control over their children’s lives. Camille’s mother made radical choices for her daughter: she wrote, taking her identity, a filial break-up letter to Alexandre, for example. She also wants to control everything, and asks incessant questions. Camille is forced to move away from her.

For Issei, it’s even more complicated, because the grandfather puts pressure on the mother to “hold” her son. This is a big cultural difference between our two countries: in Japan, respect for elders is very anchored in society.

Especially since we understand straight away that the character of Issei comes from a very powerful and very traditionalist family. The story of Issei’s mother is very sad. What brings these two mothers together, in the end, is that they experienced strong trauma, linked to their children and to Alexandre, and that they decided to fight, to keep face, and to regain control. on their lives.

Throughout this adventure, Camille is very surrounded by her father’s friends…

They are all very caring, touched by his story and that of Issei. There is a beautiful humanity that emerges from the characters.

The manga is Japanese. Why did the Franco-Japanese co-production choose to adapt it across two countries, two continents, two stories?

France is the leading consumer of manga after Japan. It says a lot about our common imaginations, even though we are geographically far apart and in our lifestyles. But we are two countries with a very strong history and imagination: knights for us, samurai for them, for example.

There are obviously the arts of cooking, very developed in our two countries, with the added bonus of sake in Japan and wine in France. But we are also very different. The Japanese have an elegance and purity in their craftsmanship that I find remarkable, a deep respect for life, for nature, for what is around them.

But with another side of the coin: we know that there are a lot of suicides in Japan, this code of honor, arranged marriages… Perhaps we are, in a way, distant cousins.

Did the international co-production force you to perform in four languages?

It was great to be able to speak several languages, it’s an extraordinary asset. I was happy to be able to speak English and Japanese while playing. I didn’t take lessons, they sent me vocals with my lines. But since my ear heard a lot of Japanese during my youth, through movies and anime, I recognized a few words right away.

When we arrived in Japan, I realized that I could communicate on basic things, make myself understood and understand a little. Everything I had stored away in my youth remained somewhere in the corner of my head and, when it came time to restore it, it wasn’t so complicated for me. I loved this experience.

The series has already been released on Apple TV in 2023. When was it filmed?

We filmed from August 2021 to June 2022. We were in the middle of Covid, we had to cut for five months: the borders were closed, while we had to film in Japan. That said, Apple asked for a sequel. So we’re going back to filming this summer, with the same team.

Drops of Godseries broadcast on France 2, Monday May 27 at 9:10 p.m.

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