News from the Locarno Festival

Interview with Emmanuelle Devos

Piazza Grande – Moka

Foto di Alessio Pizzicannella


Moka is the second Frédéric Mermoud's movie you appear in. How does the relationship between director and actress change when they work together again?

Shooting again with Frédéric was amazing and different, because after the previous movie Complices – Concorso internazionale at Locarno in 2009 – we created this project together. I read the screenplay several times, and had the chance to build my character with the director. It’s a movie we really built together.


In several scenes Diane is alone on screen, split between her son’s memory and the plan she has in mind…

I love being alone, in those moments I have a direct communication with who stands behind the camera. And I love to receive strong feedback: when I act, I expose myself. I become vulnerable, like a child, I enjoy having everyone’s attention. And then I start desiring having other people in the scene, and this time I was waiting for a great actress like Nathalie Baye.


You and Nathalie Baye play two opposite characters, in your relationship as well as your role as mothers.

We talked a lot with Nathalie, but we didn’t discuss maternity. We focused specifically on our relationship with our partners and the physical aspect. Nathalie created a unique character, totally vivacious and bizarre, with bleached hair and weird make-up!


The movie is about the journey in mourning for a son’s loss, highlighted with make-up and costume changes: Diane from pure soul becomes again “flesh”. How did you work on this process?

That was the heart of the movie, being able to show this transformation. Diane had been hospitalized because of the pain caused by her son’s death, this boy is present only in a dreamlike dimension, the movie starts at a specific point in time, when this woman needs to keep together herself and let her son’s ghost go. It’s the only way she can put him in her memory.


You also played a mother’s role in Fai bei sogni by Marco Bellocchio. Directors often project this strong and regal idea of maternal instinct on your beauty. How do you deal with that?

Actually no one asked me to play a mother for a long time, even if I have two daughters and enjoy my role as a mother very much. I only got this kind of role recently, and I think bringing maternal instinct onto the big screen is a really complex thing, you need a certain maturity to accomplish it.


Daniela Persico

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