One beautiful morning: how to film Léa Seydoux “without fantasy, like a real person” – Actus…

We interviewed her at the Cannes Film Festival where her moving film was presented and rewarded at the Directors’ Fortnight. On the occasion of the theatrical release of “Un beau matin”, meeting with the director Mia Hansen-Løve.

This week at the cinema, don’t miss Mia Hansen-Løve’s melancholy and sweet daily chronicle, A nice morning : the story of a young woman who endures the serious illness of her father suffering from neuro-degeneration, at the same time as she lives a passion that is both hindered and saving.

Unrecognizable in the skin of this woman of duty, torn apart by her contradictory feelings, and very far from the apparent object of desire that she often embodies in the cinema, Léa Seydoux is remarkable. By his side, pascal greggory is stunning, in the shoes of a diminished ex-philosopher, whose brain and then his body have let go.

A story of mourning, against a background of transmission and renewed awakening, which is inspired by the experience of the director. It was in Cannes that we met her.

This disease that my father had and from which he died took up too much space…

AlloCiné: Talking about the genesis of your films, you often mentioned the impression of not having a choice. As if their existence imposed itself on you. What was the need here at the origin of this film? Why this story at this time?

Mia Hansen-Løfri : It was more than ever true on this film, I would say. There are films that I chose more, wanted even if I always felt a form of necessity. But this one no, he imposed himself. I had to agree to take it. I couldn’t get away from it, yet I tried.

But this illness that my father had and from which he died took up too much space. He was still alive when I wrote the film. But I got to the point where it closed off the inspiration to something else, I needed to try to understand what I had been through and make sense of it too.

All my films have to do with a quest for meaning, for truth. I try to capture what life is for me, the experience I have of it as time passes, as I get older. Life changes and inspiration is renewed. I try in any case to convey the feeling that I have of life at a given time. At that time, I needed to confront myself with this illness in order to transcend it, to go beyond it.

One beautiful morning how to film Lea Seydoux without fantasy
Diamond Films

Is your heroine, embodied by Léa Seydoux, inspired by the experience you describe? How close is she to you?

It is both very close but I could also establish differences, oppositions. The characters in my films are always inspired by what I have experienced. Of course, I see myself a lot in her, there are commonalities but the differences make it possible to compose a resolutely fictional character.

That’s what appeals to me. I would never want to make a film which is the literal translation, point by point, of what I know. The part of the unknown in a fiction is exciting and is due to a thousand little things. The biggest of them being the meeting with the actors.

When you’re filming actors, you can’t completely cast pre-written characters on them, you have to adapt your sensitivity to theirs. The characters in the movies are always encounters even when extremely personal like mine. Encounter between the personality of a filmmaker and the presence of an actor.

The movement that excites me and gives meaning is what Léa, Pascal, Melvil (Poupaud)) do with the roles that I have written, but they are the ones who will give them life, bring nuances, a melody, a phrasing, a personality that will resemble them more than me.

This meeting will form a third character who will be neither me nor Léa, but Sandra. This is what is marvelous in the cinema and it is in this that it is consoling. It is the exact translation of a feeling of life which passes through the transformation in the representation. Through transposition, blurring, change, we can access an even greater truth.

I wasn’t in the fantasy, I wanted to film Léa like a real person, in a new light

You wrote for Léa Seydoux and yet from the foreground, we don’t recognize her as such, we don’t have before us the glamorous Léa Seydoux that we might a priori expect. What did you want to say about her?

What was exciting in the fact of working with her was precisely to strip her of all her attributes to which we are accustomed, even though I admired her in all her last films. I found her extraordinary, but it’s true that they were often more extravagant roles, far removed from everyday life, characters who basically had to do with fantasy in one way or another. I wasn’t in the fantasy, I wanted to film Léa like a real person, in a new light.

When you film an actor, you want to rediscover him, one way or another. The paradoxical fact of filming her in a more banal, everyday role, close to reality gave me the feeling that I could give access to a part of her humanity, which the cinema has not necessarily given us to see so far.

Particularly in the relationship she has to emotion, Léa has something very strong because it is not technical and at the same time, she has an ability to be in touch with the emotion that is staggering. Filming it, I was impressed by the way it showed a sadness that was never ordered, artificial but which arose from situations, scenes, which came on its own without ever having to ask for it.

She is the opposite of the actors studio, Léa, she is not aware of things. She is, she becomes the character, she lives the situation. If this situation makes his character cry, it makes her cry, but we are never in a technical relationship with the acting profession. Which is fine with me, because that’s how I work.

1664953134 261 One beautiful morning how to film Lea Seydoux without fantasy
Diamond Films

The heroine she embodies also experiences very contradictory emotions, mixing the mourning to be done and the love passion to be born, in other words mourning and rebirth at the same time…

The two things are organically linked in this film for me and of equal importance, even if the disease seems more spectacular. There is this rebirth, the rediscovery of her body, of her sensuality, of the love which is what keeps her going and is reinforced at the same time by this need.

When we are in contact with the disease, when we see death at work, when we experience mourning over a very long period of time for someone who is still there and no longer quite there at the same time, we have need to cling to life and for me this amorous encounter, because it happens at that moment, is even more necessary, of the order of vital momentum.

It interested me to show this coming and going between life and death, renunciation and hope at the same time. We go through moments in life when these two things mirror each other and there is a vertigo in that.

I wanted to try to make it feel, this vertigo which also sends us back to a cruelty of life, which saves it, which continues beyond the irremediable loneliness of this sick man. But life goes on, resumes for her with a possible happiness. It’s both comforting and painful, and my films often pinpoint these paradoxes.

It’s a moment that I knew well in the process of the disease and I wanted to amplify it and look at this character by taking the time to let him appear as much as possible, exist in these moments.

You stage, as if in mirror, a strong and comic maternal figure, embodied by Nicole Garcia, facing this fragile and moving father figure. All against a background of transmission materialized by the library, a very important theme of your cinema…

There are always two things at work in my cinema: one that goes in the direction of a form of melancholy and something that goes forward, the future. This duality is naturally distributed in this film between these two roles indeed: this sick character, fatally melancholy, who was already melancholy before and who is today in an infinite solitude. And the female character, more pragmatic, seemingly detached, but rather on the side of life. This duality reflects what is at the heart of my inspiration.

Finally, a word about the dialogues that this father has with his daughter: his thought is necessarily deconstructed and there is poetry in that. What is the place of exchange, of speech here?

I have given a lot of space to this word because it is that of a man who is sinking, who soon will no longer be able to speak. It’s these last words that are already on the verge of unintelligible and yet there is something happening. It was a question of catching up with something, on the edge, of keeping track of what it still is, of what is still passing from what it is through words that are already crumbling.

In each scene, we restore an intention on his part, something that he cannot formulate but which tells what he is. It’s a moment that I knew well in the process of the disease and I wanted to amplify it and look at this character by taking the time to let him appear as much as possible, exist in these moments.

And even if we can’t understand everything he says, there is indeed a poetry and something that shines through in moments of lucidity. Something fleeting that I wanted to try to capture.

How did you work with Pascal Greggory, who is incredible and unrecognizable also in this film?

He is exceptional and what made all this possible is above all his ability to listen. He has an abnegation, he got lost, erased in character. I no longer saw Pascal Greggory… I transmitted to him my knowledge or rather my intuitions on the expression of this disease.

He was very attentive, but above all it was something very internal, not very technical. It was like a thread that he was able to unwind very quickly. I found extraordinary the truth that he found and that he never left.

When Léa Seydoux commented on the desire of which she was the object:

Related Posts