Crazy on M6: Marie Gillain under the influence of a narcissistic pervert in a TV movie…

Andréa Bescond and Eric Métayer (“Les Chatouilles”) deliver with the shock unit “À la folie” a crude illustration of the mechanisms of influence within a couple, in which Alexis Michalik and Marie Gillain are simply stunning.

Co-written with Guillaume Labbe (I promise you), To insanityinspired by the own experience of the actress and screenwriter Eleanor Bauerrecounts the psychological shift of Anna, a photographer and accomplished mother, as she gradually falls under the psychological influence of Damien, an attractive man in all respects who turns out to be a formidable narcissistic pervert.

Winner of the Best Screenplay prize at the La Rochelle Festival last year, À la Folie tackles the theme of control within the couple, detailing all the mechanisms of oppression and control even in intimacy with chilling accuracy. . The luminous Marie Gillain, crowned with the prize for Best Actress, gives herself up completely in the role of Anna in the face of an Alexis Michalik as chilling as he is seductive in the role of her executioner.

It all started when Julie Coudry, producer of Golden Network, approached Andrea Bescond and Eric Metayeractors, screenwriters and directors in theater and cinema, as they have just released their first feature film, Tickles – adapted from the eponymous piece by Andréa Bescond – to suggest that they adapt this project as a unit.

Reading it clicks“says the director, who was then in the process of tackling their second feature film, When you are older. “We rediscovered something of the tone we had in Les Chatouilles, which is the tone of life“, completes his sidekick.

Fiction as a political weapon

We’ve been involved in this activism around violence against children and women for years. We know these control mechanisms well, we have studied them. And we see that Eléonore has this distance from the story she lived, where she describes the humiliations, the contradictory injunctions, the isolation… With the association of our various acquaintances, we all went together come up with something great” she continues. “The writing also helped because Eleonore and Guillaume are funny. We said to ourselves that we would be able to add many other things on top“completes Eric Métayer.

Since the release of Les Chatouilles, the filmmakers have remained in contact with associations that work on violence against children. “Everything is connected“explains Andréa Bescond, “violence against women and within the family. We get a lot of testimonials. All these mechanisms, we know them by heart. And we tell ourselves that fiction is our weapon. It’s a political weapon.”

Crazy on M6 Marie Gillain under the influence of a

Directors Andréa Bescond and Eric Metayer alongside Marie Gillain and Alexis Michalik.

When the duo accepts this project, some are surprised to see them moving towards television after having been extolled in the cinema. “We don’t care about the shape“, retorts Andréa Bescond. “What is important is the subject, what we are going to defend together. We tell them ok (at M6, editor’s note)but that we are going to be very demanding: we want to do our staging, have control over the script, and if there are things that don’t suit us, we can rework them.

To their surprise, the channel does not impose specifications on them given the TV movie format. “They could have been surprised by certain biases in our cinema, and they were. But for all that, they never countered us” admits Andréa Bescond. “We like the public to be able to walk around in the image, explore the setting… We trust him.

A strong collective work then begins, with a very condensed number of days of shooting, facilitated by extremely rigorous upstream preparation. Part of the film crew, referred to as “praetorian guard” of the two directors, was from Les Chatouilles and knew exactly how the duo worked.

A rigor also linked to their experience in the theater, according to Eric Métayer. “The galley, the difficulty of the theater and to do with very few days. Because we don’t come from the subsidized, we come from the private theater where we are told that we have a month to do rehearsals and basta, that we won’t have the set because there is another show being played out.”Constraints drive us to be efficient“, summarizes Andréa Bescond.

Concrete actors

On the casting side, the duo wanted to have “rolls” on the tray. Concrete actors, whether from the first to the last role. Both quickly thought of the Belgian actress Marie Gillain for the role of Anna, on a suggestion from their casting director. “It was so obvious that we didn’t see any actresses after!” laughs Andréa Bescond.

As for the role of Damien, Eric Métayer and she knew Alexis Michalik in the theater as a playwright, but had never worked with him before, who is becoming rarer on the screen as an actor. “We turned around, we respected each other a lot, but for him it was important that we wanted to work with him before his great recognition after the public, to show that it was not an interested relationship on our part“, explains Eric Métayer.

We realize that to play this type of character, we will often be offered the same actors. We wanted someone different and who brings a dose of sensitivity, and Alexis has this charisma tinged with coldness“adds Andréa Bescond.

1662442964 771 Crazy on M6 Marie Gillain under the influence of a

The two actors describe a feeling of symbiosis during the first readings of the script. “It’s great fun to play the bastards, especially when they are so well written. But if we do it with someone who doesn’t accompany us at all, it’s very hard“, jokes to our microphone Alexis Michalik. “The danger in these kinds of proposals is when the subject is so strong that it completely overshadows the story. Here, in this case, it is above all a film, powerful enough to talk about a very strong subject without being demagogic.

Reading the script, the actor himself deeply questioned these mechanisms of psychological torture put in place by Damien. “He has this desire to put the other in a state of psychological instability. He goes looking for people who are a little vulnerable, who need love, and rushes into a breach. I questioned myself: have I ever made people suffer like this? Do I already have these mechanisms in place?

These are all our little flaws, which are part of our inner beauty, in which these individuals interfere.

For Marie Gillain, it is not immediately obvious to the viewer that Anna is a vulnerable person. “She is in place, well in her life, she has a good relationship with her ex, but she will be very sensitive to the way Damien looks at her. And then, we all dream of living a beautiful and great love story.

One of the characteristic predatory patterns of narcissistic perverts is to prey on single women who have already had children. This is where Anna’s flaw lies, according to the actress. “For having spoken with a woman who was under the influence of one of them, it can be at the start very sunny, luminous women, who have a real entourage, capture attention… In fact, they don’t ‘m able to exercise their power only by feeding and removing all their share of light from these women. These are all our little flaws, which are part of our inner beauty, in which these individuals interfere.

Throughout the story, the metaphor of the matador and the bull in the arena punctuates the scenes of psychological influence that Damien subjects Anna to. “I think Damien is a bit of both, part matador and part bull. He’s a victim of his own system: I don’t think he’s happy. Its goal is to lock up its victim in an arena and to play with it until total exhaustion, until it feels like a kill itself.“ analyzes Alexis Michalik.

For Marie Gillain, À la folie is an essential tool for romantic relationships, even without having been confronted in her life with this type of narcissistic profile. To keep its base and its anchorage, that’s the most difficult thing in a relationship, and to see how far it can go when you fall into the hands of individuals who are so neurotic that they become executioners, it can help“.

The TV movie ends with an incriminating reply, delivered by an examining magistrate, added to the script by Andréa Bescond and Eric Métayer. “It wasn’t in the script but we really wanted to put it because it was important to say that there are men who are angry about that, to say that in no case is it a story misandre, and that the law is made by a system and by men who protect themselves“concludes the director.

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