The fifth feature film by actress and director Maïwenn, entitled “ADN”, in theaters from October 28, 2020, raises the question of origins and follows a quest for identity in a chaotic family context. Meet.
With DNA, Maïwenn, who is directing her fifth film, continues her journey into intimacy and into so complex family relationships. The story tells how Neige – interpreted by the filmmaker -, a divorced mother, decides to overcome the death of her grandfather, a real pillar in her life, by plunging into the search for her origins. Through this existential exploration, the heroine confronts her family, but also finds the strength to rebuild herself by demonstrating that the loss of a loved one can mark the beginning of a new beginning. DNA is a artwork on death, but the director absolutely insisted on “avoid the pitfall of the morbid“.”It was essential to sprinkle the film with airings, breathing, knowing how to laugh at death“, she explains.
To constitute this family, more poisonous than warm, it calls on Fanny Ardant, Louis Garrel, Marine Vacth, Dylan Robert, Caroline Chaniolleau, Alain Françon, Florent Lacger, Henri-Noël Tabary and Omar Marwan in the skin of the grandfather. The latter tells how, on the set, this fictional role encroached on reality: “I had a lot of trouble because my experience brought back many memories. It was hard not to let myself be overwhelmed. I had to remain the actor, but the emotion being natural, it was delicate. ”
Free as air
On the set, Maïwenn is well known for leaving great freedom to her actors with, for only guide, a “Bible“on their respective character.”They can read what they listen to as music, learn more about their schooling, sex and intimate life, she specifies. It’s not necessarily something that appears in the film, but it can reassure the performer and during improvisation, he can go on all terrains.“
On the side of the first concerned, it is “extraordinary strength“that the director instills in the whole team that makes the magic of her films.”The natural, the instantaneous, the intimate, she shares that with the spectators, but also the actors, confides Henri-Noël Tabary, who plays one of the brothers of the family. What was new was to create, at the time, an atmosphere, an experience. Each brought his stone to the building. “For Omar Marwan, the presence of Maïwenn”irradiates everyone“.”She is a lioness and a doe at the same time. And this double animal worked“, he continues.
It’s hard to say “I love you” to someone in your family
When she looks back on her own filming experience, the filmmaker admits to having encountered a lot of uncertainties: “I didn’t like what I had shot. I went through a very painful shoot, where I didn’t have confidence in myself, where I found everything bad, where we did not understand each other with the technicians etc.“It’s in the editing room, in the hands of Laure Gardette (the editor of the film, Editor’s note), than DNA found his spine.
After a tour of cinemas, which extended to several cities in France, with a view to presenting the film, the filmmaker felt a different energy from the audience: “Usually, in every debate there is a lot of spontaneity, and there it was much more spiritual questions. They had entered into a process of questioning.” DNA leads viewers to reconsider many themes, such as that of modesty alongside his own. “It’s hard to say “I love you” to someone in your family“, admits Henri-Noël Tabary.”This film raises the problem of loneliness, immigration, mourning, death, concludes Omar Marwan. It is heavy and immense at the same time.“
Interview by Thomas Desroches, in Paris, October 21, 2020.
Editing: Constance Mathews
Check out the “DNA” trailer …:
and the soundtrack composed by Stephen Warbeck: