Close-up: An Interview With Delfine Bafort

In Dimitri de Clercq’s award-winning psychological thriller You Go To My Head, Delfine Bafort gives a masterful performance as a woman in search of her memories following a car accident.

Taken in by a stranger (played by Svetozar Cvetković) who claims to be her husband, Bafort’s character must search to find her identity and the truth about her past. It is an engrossing journey, largely set within a white house in the Sahara desert, that sees Bafort’s character morph from a figure of vulnerability into something unexpectedly different.

Close-up Culture’s James Prestridge spoke to Delfine about being the inspiration for You Go To My Head, working in the Sahara, her intimate performance, and more.

Q: Dimitri says you were very much the starting point for this project. What was your response to hearing that?

A: At first, I felt confused. Dimitri’s feelings for me made things too personal… complicated…

In fact, when he first showed me the script, I told him he was so crazy. Originally, Dimitri was going to play the lead. There was even a moment just before shooting when I wanted to get out. But then, when the shoot was postponed due to extreme heat conditions in Morocco, I asked Dimitri to find an actor to play the role of Jake. That’s when my co-star, Svetozar Cvetković, came on-board, which was a turning point for me.

Now I can laugh about what Dimitri calls his “film Taj Mahal for Delfine”. I also better understand the feelings he was trying to recreate through the film.

Q: This looks to be a gripping tale about a love story based on a huge lie. What grabbed you about this story?

A: Love stories are often based on huge lies. But this lie goes beyond everything. How far can you go to be with, and keep someone? I think what fascinated me most about the story is that you can never tell who the bad guy is. Is it Jake or is it Kitty? Jake lies to Kitty to keep his story alive, and Kitty stays with him even though she feels like something isn’t quite right.

Who is using whom? It’s open. Like the white house and the desert.

Q: You play Dafne/Kitty. How did you approach playing a character who is missing her memory?

A: By letting myself be guided by the moment. I experienced every day of shooting as a new day in my life. Of course, it helped that the film was shot in mesmerizing Morocco. Many places were new to me. I was guided by the new surroundings: the desert, the white house, the sand dunes.

I met my co-star Svetozar for the first time on location in the Sahara. That helped too. He was still a stranger to me, which made it easier to find my character. What is life like with memory loss? I found Kitty by being immersed in new impressions.

YOU GO TO MY HEAD 8 (Behind the scene photo of filmmaker Dimitri de Clercq directing actress Delfine Bafort) - Photo by Laurence Trémolet - Copyright © CRM-114 - The Terminal
Dimitri and Delfine on set

Q: What was Svetozar like to work with? How did the two of you interact on set?

A: Svetozar was great. We started to get to know each other while shooting the film. He is a charismatic actor, always looking for new perspectives and never afraid to by guided by the moment. Our rapport grew stronger over the course of the shoot, every day – that was needed for the essence of the film to work.

We had some intimate scenes, but Svetozar made me feel at ease; it was never awkward or uncomfortable.

Q: This appears to be a quiet role that requires lots of physical acting and nudity. What challenges did this role bring?

A: In my nudity, I wanted to feel free. I imagined the sun was my protection. After a while, shame disappears. It wasn’t easy, but I felt more and more connected to nature. In order to find my character, I tried to see and experience my surroundings as if for the first time.

Q: I know you have worked previously with Dimitri, in a film that he produced. What was it like to work with him as a director, and how does he compare to others you have worked with?

A: Dimitri is a strange kind of human being. He is intelligent and funny, but very, very stubborn. Yet the most important thing to me is that Dimitri feels an overwhelming need to create something. And not a lot of people in the industry are feeling that urge. Or have that talent. He gave his life on set and to the making of the film. He knew what he wanted. He also has a very good eye for natural light and architecture.

We have had words from time to time, but also laughed a lot. Some memories will forever rest in the Sahara. It is difficult to compare people but I have always tried to work with filmmakers who feel a huge need to create, regardless of the outcome.

Q: You have brought up the impact of the Sahara a few times. How did you find the location and how did it impact your performance?

A: The Sahara was beautiful but so, so hot. And so, so cold during the nights. You feel incredibly small in the Sahara Desert, and very disorientated. This was impactful in helping me to interpret Kitty’s state of being. Dimitri knows Morocco and the Sahara well. He and local guides found the various locations where we stayed and filmed.

YOU GO TO MY HEAD 7 (Behind the scene Photo of filmmaker Dimitri de Clercq with actress Delfine Bafort) - Photo by Laurence Trémolet - Copyright © CRM-114 - The Terminal
Delfine and Dimitri on set

Q: You started off as a model, but you have lots of experience as an actor now. What do you love about the art form?

A: Everything. That you create a new life with a crew and then lose yourself in it. It can become extremely addictive. Acting is something strange. On the one hand, you’re distancing yourself from who you are, and on the other hand, you’re getting closer to your inner self.

Q: What are your ambitions for the future? Would you like more roles like this and/or have you thought about doing work behind the camera as well? What is next for you?

A: At the moment, I’m on tour with a theatre company, in Lies Pauwels’ Truth or Dare, Britney or Goofy, Nacht und Nebel, Jesus Christ or Superstar. And I recently finished a Belgian film, All Of Us, which is coming out in 2019.

I wrote a short film, Happy Universe, which I would like to direct, but I still feel too insecure. I think I will content myself with being in front of the camera for quite some time. I will see what the future brings. I am currently looking forward to some quiet time together with my family.

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