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La vie est Bulle

Bulle Ogier

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© Alessio Pizzicannella

Bulle Ogier, an award for a career is also a chance to look back on an artistic path. When and how did you develop your passion for theatre and film?

My passion for cinema was not born overnight, it grew a little at a time. I had no intention of becoming an actress, at age 20 I was already in the middle of a divorce, with a little girl to take care of, so I was more con- cerned about figuring out how to survive and raise my child. Then I met Marc’O. He took me to his atelier where 50 people were learning the craft of acting on stage, but the acting that Marc’O taught us was a bit diffe- rent from the traditional style. Then I met Pierre Clémenti, Michel Moretti and Jean-Pierre Kalfon, and we formed a group. That’s how it all started!

What was your relationship with Jacques Rivette like?

We did five years’ worth of plays on stage, and one day Rivette, who was another theatre director, showed up and chose to put Marc’O’s group in L’Amour fou. So it wasn’t that hard for us because we all knew each other really well.

And with Marguerite Duras?

That was a unique experience. I was very lucky to be close for years to a genius bursting with tenderness and love, lucidity and culture, which she gave to me as a gift. It was like a family. In terms of the craft, she taught me how to express words differently, to make each word be felt in an intense and precise manner.

When one thinks about you, one sees a season of cinema that corresponds roughly to the 1960s: the films you made with Barbet Schroeder, but also directors like Fassbinder and Buñuel, who repre- sent very different kinds of cinema and have ideas about filmmaking that one needs to access.

Fortunately, actors are flexible. We can enter the director’s world, that’s what we’re made for!

In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s there was the idea of belonging to a certain kind of cinema. How do you view that today?

I don’t think young people today can choose the same paths or have the same wishes as we did in 1968. Take a young fashionable actor everyone knows, like Louis Garrel, for example. I’ll always tell him: “If you’re going to make 800,000 Euros, do your commercial!” It would be ridiculous to turn it down today. Back then, however, we did not do such things.

In relation to Swiss cinema, your collaboration with Alain Tanner produced La Salamandre, one of the films you hold closest to your heart. It’s a wonderful film, and your character Rosemonde has made quite an impression.

Yes, Rosemonde has travelled all around the world. I always say there are three Swiss people in my heart: Barbet Schroeder, Daniel Schmid and Luc Bondy. But one shouldn’t forget I’ve also worked with Michel and Francis Reusser. And most recently I’ve worked with Lionel Baier as well. 

Carlo Chatrian
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