Hotel Time | Ardisson talks to the dead

The universe of virtuality continues to grow in art and media. A hint of this is the new show presented by French presenter and producer Thierry Ardisson. After interviewing almost all the French personalities, the man in black now prefers to ask his questions to those who have died and whom he resurrects.

Posted at 06:00.

IN the hotel of the time, which aired Monday night in France 3, Ardisson creates the illusion of a lengthy documentary interview with legends the French public wants to see renewed. And who better to launch this concept than Dalida, the iconic icon, who died 35 years ago.

Thanks to technological skills, fans of the singer have seen and heard him answer the questions of the host who went to meet him in a room of this celebrity. hotel of the time, in fact Le Meurice, a luxury palace in Paris.

If the script and acting of the actress hiding under Dalida’s face are disappointing (the lack of naturalness in the question-answer is sometimes annoying), the technical aspect and the production of the program are absolutely impressive.

This process, based on the principle of deep forgery (video or audio recording modified using artificial intelligence), developed by Mac Guff studio. Named Face Retriever, she intertwined the face of a personality, in this case Dalida, with that of an actress.

In terms of sound, it was recreated by specialists from the Institute for Acoustic Research / Coordination / Music (IRCAM). The result is stunning. The sound of the voice was heard in Orlando, Dalida’s brother. This could not separate truth from falsehood.

If Dalida has been completely recreated, you should know that her words are authentic. We use the statements she has made during the thousands of interviews given during her career. In the end, Ardisson makes him recount his May 3, 1987 suicide from information gathered after the tragedy. Worrying moment …

So far three episodes have been shot. French viewers will soon see Coluche and Jean Gabin (who makes a brief appearance in the Dalida episode). Ardisson (renewed 20 years by Face Retriever for his meeting with the singer) hopes to create more episodes.


Thierry Ardisson was renewed 20 years by Face Retriever for his meeting with Dalida.

This emission, one suspects well, is too expensive to produce. For each episode, it takes a month of research, a month of writing, three days of filming, two weeks of editing and a final month for special effects.

There are no image rights for the dead. Even if he was not obliged to do so, Thierry Ardisson again sought permission from the heirs of his guests. Coluche Entourage rejected the first version of the script, but approved the second.

This is not the first time Ardisson has the fantasy of interviewing the dead. A few years ago, he had done the same with footage similar to John Lennon or Victor Hugo. But this time, he found time to develop a concept that is already making a lot of ink flow. The press coverage given to this program over the last few days has been great.

Described as “TV UFO” by chroniclers, this program fascinates as much as it disturbs. On Monday on social networks the comments were very numerous. The vast majority of people said they were fascinated by this concept. The term “bluff” appeared frequently. But some have expressed concern to see a dead woman being interviewed.

After the ghost of Elvis came to do a duet with Céline, after these Japanese stars offering concerts in the form of a hologram, after the “ABBAtars” tour of four ABBA members recreated in 3D (the shift should start on May 27 at London), here the guests who come to tell us what they have already said in a sublimated environment are missing.

You will tell me that virtual exploitation in the art world does not go back to yesterday. Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon have often used this in their creations. But this sophisticated use of deep forgery in a documentary interview opens up unprecedented opportunities for the film and television industry.

Why fight to find an actress who looks like Marilyn Monroe when you can recreate the real Marilyn Monroe? Why kill yourself to renew an actor for backward scenes when you can take 15 or 30 years away from him deep forgery ?

All this is very interesting. But there is a game with truth and lies that is scary.

A woman on Twitter asked this after watching the show yesterday: “So does that mean you can make anyone say anything? Yes, ma’am, we can do it! However I wanted to tell him that this has been possible for a long time. There is no need for it deep forgery for her.

I see these new phenomena emerging with a mixture of fascination and anxiety. I tell myself that it will be increasingly difficult to separate truth from falsehood. Or if you prefer: it will be easier to fake.

I am also afraid that over time we lose the pleasure of dreams and fantasies, the real ones.

But most of all, I always wonder about the good use we will make of these tools. Because for every creator who wants to blind, there will be an idiot who will deceive and mystify.

Ardisson wants to make people dream. He wants to have fun. At least with him the convention is clear.

However, I would have liked him to have asked Dalida, who was so close to Mitterrand, what he thought of the recent presidential election.

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