Roman Coppola

CQ - Edinburgh International Film Festival

Interviewed by James Mottram

You were relatively young in the 1960s, when "CQ" is set. What do you like about that era?

I think it relates to three things: I was born in 1965, and so it was a time when I had my first memories. There's something really evocative about the time when you first become conscious of the world around you. Secondly, the movie has a theme that relates to the ultimate coming-of-age story; there's this notion of revolution, the turning over of a new generation, the changing of the guard - which is why I set the film in '69, when there was so much of that in the air. Thirdly, this movie is my 60s movie - the "Barbarella" kitsch-stuff on the one hand, and then Godard and Antonioni on the other, where film makers were making uncompromising, personal expressions. Hopefully, the fun of the movie is putting those two extremes against each other.

The story of the American in Paris is an oft-told tale.

I was actually born in Paris, so I have a weird connection to the city. I never lived there though. It's a sort of cliché that I was happily referencing. Historically, people go there to find themselves.

Did your father come on set at all?

No, he never did. We shot in Luxembourg, which was a little off the beaten track. My sister Sofia came out, and my mom came out. Jason Schwarzman, my cousin, is in the film. There's a tradition in my family to help out. When Sofia did "The Virgin Suicides", I went along to lend a hand. Growing up in my family we were always around film sets.

The film received mixed reviews in Cannes. Did it hurt your film that the re-issue of your father's film "Apocalypse Now" overshadowed the festival?

I don't have any other experience to gauge it against. It probably, in retrospect, didn't help my movie because people like to react and compare. People inevitably compare my movie but it's the total opposite to "Apocalypse Now". I know what my movie is, and when I show it to my friends they know where I'm coming from, but it's hard to know what critics think of it. That's why it's important for me to communicate the spirit in which it was made, which is just this love-letter to the 60s.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from 12-27th August. Visit the official website.