A Heart in Winter on Arte: how Claude Sautet had the idea of ​​bringing together Emmanuelle Béart and Daniel Auteuil

After “Love in the soft” and the diptych “Jean de Florette” and “Manon des sources”, Emmanuelle Béart and Daniel Auteuil met for “Un Coeur en hiver” broadcast this evening on Arte. How did Claude Sautet come up with the idea of ​​bringing them together again?

A Heart in Winter on Arte how Claude Sautet had
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Arte is showing this evening the penultimate feature film by Claude Sautet, Un coeur en hiver, carried by a trio Emmanuelle Béart, Daniel Auteuil, André Dussollier.

This film marks the 4th collaboration between Emmanuelle Béart and Daniel Auteuil, couple in the city, at the time of the shooting in 1992. It is precisely on a set that the two met, in 1985, for Love in the Soft by Edouard Molinaro. They will meet again shortly after for the diptych by Claude Berri, based on the work of Marcel Pagnol, Jean de Florette and Manon des sources.

How did Claude Sautet come up with the idea of ​​bringing them together? In the book “Conversations with Claude Sautet, by Michel Boujut, Institut Lumière / Actes Sud, 2014“, the filmmaker returns to the path that guided him towards this choice, which was neither intentional nor calculated.

I had already met Emmanuelle Béart. I had felt something stifled in her, a feeling that wanted to express itself, as if waiting. But I had not succeeded in grasping his character. And she didn’t stir anything up in me“, he remembers.”And then, one day, I saw her in a restaurant. She was standing very straight, her hair pulled back. She was a very student at the Conservatory. This image came back to me. I told him about the role, insisting that he would have to learn the violin for a year.

She answered me right away with a determination that convinced me. Suddenly, I found myself embarrassed. If I took her, I couldn’t take Daniel Auteuil, with whom she lived … In the meantime, Daniel reminded me that two years earlier, I had told him on a plane about the Heart in Winter! I said to myself: “Too bad or so much the better, I’ll take them both!”

Therefore, is it a difficulty or an ease to appeal to two actors who are really in a relationship, when they have to play a variation of the feeling of love? Claude Sautet thinks that on the contrary, this could have facilitated the interactions between the two partners, while nevertheless making a rather unexpected observation. “I think it freed Daniel to reveal to Emmanuelle hidden things, possibilities, as there are in all couples.. Through their characters, they could discover feelings in them that they were not necessarily aware of.“, he analyzed in this interview book.

For his part, Daniel Auteuil does not hide that he had “stage fright“to tour with Emmanuelle Béart.”I was impressed because our secret bet was to give the other nothing that he already knew. You had to surprise yourself. We were also so surprised that we did not know how to react to the game of the other! There was a fertile discomfort there“, he explains.

This is the first time that a director has taken away all protection, all possibility of hiding myself, confides Emmanuelle Béart. I had the impression of greater nudity in this film than in Rivette’s Belle Noiseuse! … At the beginning, we believe that Claude Sautet takes away all initiative. Then we realize that, having set the limits well, he leaves us totally free inside …

For the record, Un Coeur en hiver tells the story of a love triangle, between the expansive Maxime, luthier, his friend and colleague craftsman Stéphane, quite lonely. Maxime falls madly in love with a violinist, Camille. But while they are about to move in together, against all odds, Stéphane comes out of his den and decides to seduce the young woman, to the chagrin of his best friend …

Meeting with Emmanuelle Béart – career interview

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