About Joan: who plays young Isabelle Huppert?

On the occasion of the release of “A propos de Joan” by Laurent Larivière, here are five things to know about this sensitive romantic drama led by Isabelle Huppert.

About Joan of Laurent Lariviere

With Isabelle Huppert, Lars Eidinger, Freya Mavor

What is it about ? Joan Verra has always been an independent, loving woman with a free and adventurous spirit. When her first love returns without warning after years of absence, she decides not to tell him that they had a son together. This lie by omission is an opportunity for her to revisit her life: her youth in Ireland, her professional success, her loves and her relationship with her son. A fulfilled life. Ostensibly.

Birth of the project

About Joan who plays young Isabelle Huppert
Films, Gifted Films West and Blinder Films

About Joan was born from a multitude of questions and desires that arose at Laurent Larivière after the realization of I am a soldier (2015). The director recalls: “With Francois Decodts, my co-screenwriter, we wanted to write a portrait of a woman, in the form of a romantic film, which takes place over different periods, in several countries. A melodrama but which is crossed by comedy.”

“Above all, I wanted to portray her relationship not only to her son but to the world, with the freedom she has, the fantasy, the humor, the authority… A portrait carried by this desire to believe in stories that the cinema tells us. When Joan addresses the viewer head-on at the start of the film, she promises to take him on board with the memories of his life which are also made up of invention.”

Streamline the story

1663448455 692 About Joan who plays young Isabelle Huppert
Films, Gifted Films West and Blinder Films

If, a priori, this story could seem complicated given its different temporal levels, Laurent Larivière sought to make it as fluid as possible. With the editor Marie-Pierre Frappierhe found links between eras that were not necessarily written:

“I am thinking in particular of the connection where Doug takes Joan in his arms at the café. She closes her eyes and we find them young in an embrace… This connection is of the order of sensation. At other times, the connections are more humorous”, explains the director, continuing:

“Like when Joan says ‘Purity is all me’ and then we see her walking, dressed in leather, platinum blonde, to hard rock music… The sequences sometimes directly echo a question that we could arise, sometimes they are in a somewhat contradictory relationship…”

“We tried to diversify the back and forth, not to settle into a system. We wanted the viewer to be constantly surprised and to share various emotions.”

Soundtrack side

1663448455 925 About Joan who plays young Isabelle Huppert
Films, Gifted Films West and Blinder Films

The music of Jerome Rebotier aims to contribute to the romantic tone of the film. Laurent Larivière asked him to work on rather spirited scores, like the character of Joan. The director explains: “I find it very beautiful the way in which he succeeded in the end in mixing liveliness and melancholy, like the title of the film. “About” gives impetus to the sentence, something very alive, of the order of the conversation… Or of the story…”

British talent

1663448457 424 About Joan who plays young Isabelle Huppert
Films, Gifted Films West and Blinder Films

The Scottish Freya Mavor was chosen to play Joan (Isabelle Huppert) when she was young. Laurent Larivière specifies: “Her freckles could work with that of Isabelle Huppert. I also liked that she was bilingual and could thus have fun forcing her French accent. She brings a lot of joy and sensuality to Joan’s youth. .”

The filmmaker adds about the Irish actor Eanna Hardwickewho plays Doug (Stanley Townsend) young: “I didn’t know him. It was the Irish casting director who made me this proposal. Eanna has a light in her smile and her devastating charm makes you immediately understand why Joan falls in love with him .”

Contrasting aesthetics

1663448457 454 About Joan who plays young Isabelle Huppert
Films, Gifted Films West and Blinder Films

Director Laurent Larivière wanted to make a film with contrasting aesthetics so that the viewer could clearly identify the eras (but without being aesthetically pleasing). For this, he called on the director of photography Celine Bozon. The filmmaker recalls:

“I wanted us to slip from one era to another, without brutality. Regarding the color ranges, we adopted strong biases. In Ireland, we are in warm tones: brown, orange, gray… The atmosphere is colder in the German period, with this very bluish atmosphere.”

“And in Mariposa, the family home, we are in something more solar, with yellows, greens… And we worked on the texture, in particular by adding grain to the period in Ireland. The memory is a recreation. The image is not intended to be realistic.”

“I wanted this impurity to be found in our aesthetic choices. Beyond the anecdote of a situation, which can be funny or dramatic, what interests me is to film what cannot be seen, what that circulates between beings, what is under the story. I make cinema to film the invisible.”

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