Legal battle between Netflix and director Vincent Dietschy over a killer fish in the Seine

Vincent Dietschy was 4 years old when he caught his first gudgeon, in l’Alene, in Burgundy, with his grandfather. Much later, in 1984, when the young Parisian had been admitted to the Institute of Advanced Cinematographic Studies (Idhec), the famous film school renamed Fémis in 1986, he continued to fish at the tip of Île Saint -Louis, at the foot of the apartment where Robert Bresson lived. “Two of my rods fished for carp – dried with boiled peanuts – and the third fished for catfish – baited with a mega boilie, cherry or crayfish flavor” , recounts with greedy precision the one who, acclaimed by the critics ( Julie is in love , 1998, and Didine , 2008), is, at the turn of the millennium, one of the rising promises of intimate cinema.

Catfish: largest freshwater fish – two years ago, in the Gard, we hooked one which measured 2.62 meters –, carnivorous, predatory, also called “catfish”, feeding on rivers and its banks: beware of unwary birds… Put Jaws (1975), by Steven Spielberg, as a universal cinephilic inspiration, add the fact that Vincent Dietschy’s maternal grandparents lived near the quays where the river brigade its premises and you have the matrix of a scenario, Catfish , which, from 2011, the director began to simmer.

“A young policewoman, a diver at the Paris river brigade, finds herself confronted with an unprecedented natural phenomenon, embodied by a gigantic catfish, terribly aggressive, and killer of human beings ,” we can read in the file submitted to the National Center of cinema and animated images for a request for writing assistance, February 3, 2014 . While the monster sows panic in the capital, threatening the mayor’s policies a few days before the choice of the city which will organize the Olympic Games, the heroine finds herself on the front line to face this figure of evil of a new kind. Helped in her fight by a young ichthyologist from the CNRS, she becomes closer at the same time to her hierarchical superior, the commander. »

What to attract producers? The project did not find any takers. “It’s complicated to be with me ,” agrees Vincent Dietschy, half-smiling. I have a reputation for making things cheaply . The producers know that with me there will be less money at stake, that I won’t agree on the casting, all that… For them, I can appear as a speed bump, a pain in the ass. But that’s why I haven’t given up on cinema: my voice is different, and I don’t want to bow to the industry,” explains the man who is preparing a series on the industry, Auteur , of which he has already written the first season. He spent years refining the film’s script and searching in vain for funding…

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