Vicky Krieps talks with us about her “very special, intuitive, hard and beautiful” work in front of Mathieu Amalric’s camera, for the needs of the very moving “Serre Moi Fort”, presented at the last Cannes Film Festival.
Revealed by the poisonous Phantom Thread by Paul Thomas Anderson in 2017, Vicky Krieps is everywhere today. And in particular in Cannes where she presented two feature films: Bergman Island by Mia Hansen-Love, then Serre Moi Fort, a new production by Mathieu Amalric.
An intense and moving drama that the actress told us about the day after her official screening. Sometimes with a lot of emotion in his voice. In view of the understanding that she has developed with Mathieu Amalric, it would also not be surprising that she will work again for him in the future.
ATTENTION – The story of “Serre Moi Fort” is based on a mystery and revelations that we had to discuss with VIcky Krieps to evoke some aspects of his role. The interview below therefore contains spoilers and we advise you, if you do not want to know anything before having seen the feature film, to go your way (or to stop very quickly), to better come back later.
AlloCiné: Did you already know the play from which the film is adapted? Or was it Mathieu Amalric who made you discover it?
Vicky Krieps : No, he wanted to meet me to introduce her to me. He called my agency and I knew I was going to meet Mathieu Amalric, whom I didn’t know as a director. Just as an actor. But I immediately felt a connection. A similarity in the way of thinking from our first conversation.
And there he gave me a play telling me: “I’d love for you to read this. And if you like it, I’ll send you a script because I want a movie. I couldn’t find who could play this. It was a little hard to write and since thinking of you i have been able to write better and wish it was you, but read the play first. “ And that’s the first thing I did.
Did you like a particular aspect of the project?
As a woman, I really liked it. The idea of a woman’s flight. Because at first glance, it is a woman who flees her family, her life, her reality. And that touched me a lot because I often wanted to flee, to go far and to find a truth perhaps. Because if you live with children and a small family, things can become quite rigid, settled. And you may lose your life in yourself. We want to go find it elsewhere, and I recognize it very well.
This is, I think, the first thing that touched me. Then there is the whole journey that this woman really takes, and the flight which is different. But it remains an escape to flee a reality which has become too painful to live in his case. And to save herself, she flees to an imaginary world. Or maybe madness, so as not to go mad with pain.
Going into this woman’s universe was very painful
You speak of imagination and I have the feeling that we can see “Serre Moi Fort” as a film about the staging but also as a metaphor for the work of the actors, who manage to project themselves by imagining a situation or a situation. pass.
Yes, and it parallels Mia Hansen-Love’s film [Bergman Island, également présenté à Cannes en 2021, ndlr]. It’s very interesting, in their construction and what they tell. These are two films that I made around the same time, and which were shot over long periods of time. And I understood that I was actually telling a very personal thing about it. As an actress, at some point after Phantom Thread and when I hadn’t done a lot of films, I had to understand things because accompanying her into the world had been dizzying.
And these two films have helped me realize that the answer is actually letting it go. You have to build to find. Then deconstruct. You also have to let go of the idea that there is a reality as to who I am. But also a reality as an actress, on the way I do my job. From that moment, I let things go and get mixed up. My private life, my roles … Before, I thought a lot more that these would be things that should be separated. Control. In fact, you have to let go of control: for creativity but also in life.
Did the fact that the shoot was long and cut into three distinct parts give you any difficulties in building your character? Or did the different breaks allow you to take a step back and bring new things?
I never brought new things because I didn’t invent anything. It’s a job that was very intuitive: Mathieu and I have a very, very close vision of things. We are both in chaos rather than order, but we find order in chaos, eventually. It was completely intuitive, so there wasn’t really that kind of preparation. But it was nice to find people every time, to find the team.
We really almost became a little family that came together. But I made a different trip than the others: going into this woman’s universe was very painful. And you never knew what movie we were making. Because Mathieu works like this: in the morning, you receive a new scene at 7 a.m., and it has been rewritten, so you have to work intuitively. But he didn’t know what the film’s version would be either. Which reality he was going to choose.
I didn’t know that while filming either, so you had to keep a mystery, even within the character, while I was playing. I could never sell the character. It wasn’t like I could follow my emotions. The character has a lot of them, and some of them are very painful. But I was not allowed to take them out, to show them. And it was very, very tiring. So much so that, after the second part of the shoot, I got really sick. For the first time in my life, I was so mentally tired that the body followed and we couldn’t shoot on the last day.
Often times I wondered if I was going to make it because I didn’t know if I knew how to play this. For the scene at the end, which is the most painful, for example. Because these are such horrible things. I haven’t experienced it, I don’t know what the people are like who are going through it. Throughout the movie, I was super focused and intuitive to try to be as real as possible with one thing, when I didn’t know how to find that truth.
What is difficult with your role is that you have little interaction with the other actors. You are often isolated in the shots and it is a film where things go through a lot of looks and silences. I imagine that must have added to the difficulty you are talking about.
Yes exactly. That and to be the only one to carry the secret, because the others were playing this other reality. The idea was to play this other warm reality, and I was the only one who, every morning, arrived with like an inner burden. It showed. There was the crew with the other actors, and there was me. With Mathieu.
We had to carry all the time knowing the truth, what’s really going on with this woman. Even without having to show it in every scene, because there are some where I am happy, I had to carry the knowledge of the true emotional landscape. So there were plenty of times when, with Mathieu, we cried because we saw things. And I also discovered that intuition can guide us to places of truth, even beyond what we can imagine, like in the end scene. It was really a very special, intuitive, hard and beautiful job.
Interview by Maximilien Pierrette in Cannes on July 15, 2021