Marion Cotillard Says Male Director Manipulated Her – Cannes Interview

In one scene in Mona Achache’s “Little Girl Blue,” which world premiered on the Cannes Film Festival within the Special Screenings part, the director is seen insisting that lead actor Marion Cotillard stays in character even on her tea break, to the extent that she should drink tea noisily as her character, Carole – based mostly on the French filmmaker’s personal mom – used to do. Does this counsel a manipulative relationship between director and actor? Cotillard disagrees.

“I don’t see a director and an actor as being in relationships of manipulation. It’s more a collaboration,” she tells Variety. “It happened to me only once where I felt that I was being manipulated by a director, and I really didn’t like that.”

Although the male director, whom she doesn’t identify, had led her to consider that it will be “a process of working together with a collaborative connection,” she says, she quickly realized he was trying to govern her.

“I thought: ‘Is he manipulating me because he thinks that I’m going to be unable to give him what he needs, what he wants, if he doesn’t act this way? And I felt like an object, and I really hated it,” Cotillard stated.

“And the thing is, I saw right away all the manipulation, and I had the judgement that it was kind of dumb that you can’t ask me to do things without trying to use ways of manipulation that really don’t work with me, with my personality as a woman, I mean, as a human being, and as an actress,” she added. “I need to work hand in hand [with the director].”

Marion Cotillard and Mona Achache, director of “Little Girl Blue,” on the movie’s photocall on the Cannes Film Festival.

She attracts a distinction between what may very well be described as “manipulation” and an “experience of surrender,” in her phrases, that an actor has to undergo as a way to embody a personality. “I think surrender is something that you really need to go through when you’re an actor,” she explains. “You surrender to the character, you surrender to the story, and you surrender to the creator, the director. But it needs to have, for me, a harmony that I don’t think you can find in manipulation.”

At the beginning of “Little Girl Blue,” we see Mona Achache provoke the method by which Cotillard metamorphizes into the director’s mom, photographer and author Carole Achache. The actor strips to her underwear after which the filmmaker fingers Cotillard her mom’s garments, jewelry and glasses, after which offers her contact lenses to alter her eyes to the proper coloration and a wig to finish the transformation. She even asks the actor to spray herself together with her mom’s fragrance.

Then Cotillard is seen listening to audio recordings and mimicking the voice of Carole. From there she begins to impersonate Carole in conferences with former pals and associates. Until out of the blue she transforms utterly into the lady, with a fierce depth.

Marion Cotillard as Carole Achache in Mona Achache’s “Little Girl Blue.”

The course of, we’re knowledgeable originally of the movie, is an try by Mona to grasp why her mom dedicated suicide, on the age of 63, and discover out who she actually was as an individual.

When Carole died on March 1, 2016, she left no notice, however in her cellar she had saved 25 plastic crates with 1000’s of letters and pictures, audio recordings, notebooks, and annotated diaries. Using these, and by using Cotillard to play her mom, the filmmaker makes an attempt to deliver her mom again to life and retrace her journey by means of life.

By doing so, she scrutinizes Carole’s relationship together with her personal mom, novelist and screenwriter Monique Lange, whom Carole had written about in her 2011 e-book titled “Fille De” (“Daughter Of”), in an try to grasp their pathological relationship.

It is sort of like a technique of psychological archaeology, piecing collectively fragments of recollections, written contemplation about and justifications of selections and habits, and the examination of recorded conversations and images, positioned alongside the filmed conversations between Cotillard, enjoying Carole, with pals of her mom’s about previous occasions, a few of which have been traumatic, describing the manipulation of women and younger girls by morally corrupt males and the warped logic of moms who failed to guard their daughters from abuse.

Marion Cotillard performs photographer and author Carole Achache in “Little Girl Blue.”

Cotillard tells Variety: “There was something very deep and very touching about this lineage of women, and Mona’s quest to understand her mother through a process of sort of bringing her back to life. And I thought that was very touching and very interesting, and I was just very deeply moved by the character of Carole.”

Talking in regards to the relationship between daughters and moms, and the previous and the current, Cotillard says: “I think that if a pathology has been in a family for a long time, and you don’t put your energy into cleaning it up, to look at the trauma and the fear in the eyes in order to say: ‘Stop! I don’t want this to happen anymore,’ it will reproduce itself.”

“And I thought it was very interesting that, in a way, Carole did that with her mother by writing a book about her, because she wanted to put an end to something that is not a curse but is something that goes on and on because it’s not taken care of.”

The movie, Cotillard says, addresses the “very complex and twisted relationship that this lineage of women has with men, either very powerful men, and in a way harmful, or, on the other side, very weak men who are overwhelmed by the power of these women. And I think it’s beautiful the way Mona is trying, as her mother did too, to face things, and try to understand them; to face the trauma and the fear to put an end to it. Carole wrote a book and Mona is making a film, and I think it’s a beautiful process of reconciliation and hopefully healing.”

As she units about recreating the character of Carole within the movie, Cotillard speaks at size with Mona about her childhood, and the “twisted relationship” between the mom and her daughter. This was vital, Cotillard says, as a result of “childhood is the base of every person’s construction,” and this explains “how Mona was destroyed as a kid” as a consequence of her personal expertise of sexual abuse.

However, she provides: “I’d see issues in Carole that Mona had issue seeing due to this very particular relationship between a mom and a daughter. I’d see a variety of love being proven by Carole to her children, when Mona had a tough time seeing her mother giving her love when she was a child.

“So, it was really interesting for Mona to have this person she didn’t really know taking on her mother’s personality, and having another vision, another understanding of who this person was.”

A pivotal scene within the movie is when Carole has intercourse with the proprietor of a restaurant in New York, after which takes $20 from him. She realizes {that a} line has been crossed, morally, and that her self-respect has been compromised by this transaction.

“When no person teaches you respect, and, to begin with, the respect for your self, and while you’re raised by a mom who will push you into the arms of older males if you end up 11, 13, the respect and the self-respect is completely disrupted, twisted. It’s actually laborious for an individual to construct a character and attain the respect of oneself when the connection is perverted.

“Carole’s mom liked her, she wished the very best for her, however she had her personal points. She didn’t see that what she did to her, to her personal daughter, was actually, actually incorrect. In a manner she provided her daughter to this well-known author [Jean Genet] and his lover, and it destroyed Carole.

“But what was very ambiguous is that it was explained to her [by her mother] that it was a chance for her to be in this environment of great artists and great thinkers, and Carole came to believe it. She believed that Jean Genet built her personality, but at the same time he destroyed her. So how can you respect yourself when there was a lack of respect from your mother, while [the relationship] is presented in the shape of love. It’s really hard to build yourself and evolve with that twisted double message: This is a chance for you to be there [with these intellectual icons], and at the same time, this is where you’re going to be destroyed, and nobody tells you that is wrong. And especially your mother who should be the one to protect you, but instead puts you in that position where you lose something that is essential for your self-esteem, and your sexual journey in life.”

When watching the movie, the viewer is left with the sensation that tough conversations needs to be had with one’s dad and mom whereas they’re nonetheless alive, however for Mona this selection was taken from her by her mom’s suicide. Instead, she contrives a gathering between her and her mom, performed by Cotillard, the place she quizzes her mom about her personal childhood trauma. “Mona was molested, and Carole was not there to protect her, which is a very heavy guilt that she has,” Cotillard explains.

“The question that came to my mind is: Is there a good way to love and a bad way to love? And how can you show your love when you haven’t overcome your own issues, and you reproduce a pattern of sexual assault. I think it takes a long time for a person to understand the anger, and understand that one needs to express the anger towards someone who is a sweet person and a very loving person. It took Carole a very long time for her to come to the point that she could actually blame her own mother.”

The silence that typically surrounds an abuse can be discovered in lots of different social teams, whether or not it’s a household, a neighborhood or a gaggle of pals, she says. “But you don’t want to talk about it because it will destroy a family, it will destroy a group of people. It will shake to destruction a lot of relationships that are constructed around the fact that you’re not saying anything about just one person being destroyed by sexual assault. And it’s unfortunately a very common process.”

“Little Girl Blue” was produced by Laetitia Gonzalez and Yaël Fogiel for Les Films du Poisson. International gross sales are being dealt with by Carole Baraton and Sena Cilingiroglu at Charades.

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