On the eve of the 48e César ceremony, the director stages the class of 2023 of young actors and actresses in the running for the prize for the best hope of French cinema of the year. Interview.
With each new edition of the Césars, its share of young actors and actresses vying to become the two best hopes of French cinema of the year. The Academy of Cinema Arts and Techniques, in partnership with Chanel, has pre-selected 31 personalities who have marked the year 2022 and who could succeed last year’s two winners, Anamaria Vartolomei and Benjamin Voisin. First films for some, first major roles for others, the class of 2023 is distinguished by boundless energy – and great humility. Seduced by this generation, director Audrey Diwan, crowned with the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival in 2021 for her film The Event, featured around thirty actors in a short film and a series of previously unseen photos. For Madame Figaroshe confided in this exercise apart.
On video, The Event by Audrey Diwan – excerpt
Miss Figaro. – Why did you agree to make this Revelations film?
Audrey Diwan. – By nature, I like collective adventures. I also discovered with my film The Event an interest, an attraction for working with young actors. Some are very independent, proactive, others invite you to work hand in hand. You have to find a balance, that everyone finds their place in the film. It’s complex and interesting.
What does this short film look like?
I looked for a narration that allowed me to rely on each person’s identity and, if possible, to reveal a facet of it. This film describes the moment which precedes the entry into the light. The idea was to confront, to question what they are each in life and the way they present themselves in the image, exploring the whole range of feelings that go through them at this precise moment. Fear, excitement, tension and envy. Emotions beautifully translated to sound by Abd Al Malik, who composed a piece for the occasion. And then, along the way, I also wanted to see a group being built. That all these individualities blend into each other, that the supposed rivalry between actors turns into a common energy. When we play, we don’t play alone. Cinema is in essence an addition of talents.
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What memories do you keep of your beginnings?
I associate my beginnings with literature. I had been hired as a young editor at Denoël and I remember the first time I found myself at the round table where all the editors sat. Each in turn had to defend a text in front of the others with the conviction of those who think they are legitimate. I still remember the moment when it was necessary to find my voice and the need to believe in my speech to defend the work of an author and give him a chance. You suddenly had to have the courage to be yourself, even if it meant displeasing. A lesson I learned.
How do you view this new promotion of actors?
I feel like the mood is reflective and humble. These young people have a precise idea of their profession and a desire to practice it without necessarily seeking light elsewhere than in work. They have a form of asserted requirement and I would say that there was a very healthy emulation within this small group.
What helpful tips have you received that you would like to pass on?
Have I ever listened to the advice given to me? (Laughs.) I have long been obsessed with this sentence by François Mauriac: “I hastened to displease on purpose for fear of displeasing naturally.” I believe that for a long time I played the “hedgehog”, forced my nature. Today, I value my freedom by accepting the idea of making mistakes. There are no mistakes, only experiences. You have to know how to admit disappointment, take a step back, start over, change. In short, evolve, don’t stop at a few certainties and make it a style because it’s practical. I am against the idea of comfort in creation.
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Each year, the Revelations are each supported by a famous godfather or godmother, actor or actress. Who played this role for you?
There is something a bit tutelary, in the first sense of the term, in the idea of “godfather”, whereas I rather have the impression, myself, of being carried by a generation. I have female directors in my entourage whom I admire, Valerie Donzelli Where Rebecca Zlotowski. I have the feeling that they inspire me, I need these figures to move forward. There are also the actors and actresses I am very close to: Celine Sallette Where Gilles Lellouche.
“Girl’s Secret”, Rebecca Zlotowski’s short film for Fendi
What are your projects ?
Next September, I should start shooting my new film, Emmanuelle – carried by Léa Seydoux -, which I co-wrote with Rebecca Zlotowski. We started from Emmanuelle Arsan’s novel to keep only one question, an essence, a way of questioning eroticism in the image, what we show, what we hide, how we stimulate the imagination. . At the same time, I co-wrote Valérie Donzelli’s next film, Love and Forests, adapted from Éric Reinhardt’s book about a toxic romantic relationship. I worked on no waveby Teddy Lussi-Modeste, with François Civil and Shain Boumedine. Finally, I’m finishing the co-writing of Gilles Lellouche’s next film, which promises to be in his image, generous and oversized.