January 29, 2022

“’La Boum’, ‘L’Eté meurtrier’, ‘The Year of the Jellyfish’… these films in which young girls had a central place helped me to project myself”

“I am 9 years old in this photo, surely taken by my father, on the set of Exploits of a young Don Juan, by Gianfranco Mingozzi, taken from the novel by Apollinaire. At the time, I had already shot a few commercials and TV movies, but there I got my very first cinema film – my dream! On TV or in theaters, where my father took me a lot, I blocked on the actors and actresses, Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Adjani, Catherine Deneuve… And of course the heroines of The Boom, The Murderous Summer, The Public Woman, The Year of the Jellyfish… The films of those years in which young girls had a central place and which helped me to project myself.

“I don’t think much about the shoots of my youth. It’s when I play with children that flashes come back to me. “

This filming took place in the summer between CM1 and CM2, in a castle in Yvelines. I played the hero’s little sister, a naughty girl with a terrible first name: Berthe. I said to myself: “What a lack of pot to be called Berthe for a leading role!” I was the only child among adults, which I didn’t mind – I was already taking the metro on my own to get to the castings. Above all, that’s where I felt the pleasure of being on a film set. For TV, I was used to the SFP studios, whereas, there, everything seemed to me a discovery: the projectors, the cables, as we see in this photo, the movements of the camera, the sets, the gestures of the technicians, the concentration of actors to whom I was responding, Marina Vlady, François Perrot, Claudine Auger, whom I had seen in a James Bond …

The Taste of M

As I was forbidden to attend the filming of love scenes, I wandered alone in the castle, like a little spy. The rest of the year, I had my life as a schoolgirl in Aubervilliers, I went to the markets where my parents were traders. But, on this set, I suddenly had the impression of being at the heart of the cinema factory. Until I was 17, I took this filming activity as an infiltrator, without believing that it would become a profession. The seesaw was Cold water, by Olivier Assayas, where I understood that being an actress was not, as I naively thought, the hairstyle, the makeup, the costume, the well-said text, the character, but that it meant interpreting.

I don’t think much about the shoots of my youth. It’s when I play with children that flashes come back to me. In Nona and her daughters, In fact, Valérie Donzelli stuck me five to embody my sons, including hers, Gustave! Since the days of photography, the pleasure of being on the set has not diminished. To see this collective that makes together, these people dedicated to the same activity, these bodies, these energies in the same direction, in the early morning or at – 20 ° C, as if our lives depended on it… It amazes me with the same intensity that the little girl is spying on here in her period costume. “

Nona and her daughters, series by Valérie Donzelli (9 × 30 minutes). On Arte on Thursday at 8:55 p.m., from December 2 to 16. Available
in full until January 14, 2022 on arte.tv.