News from the Locarno Festival

Noémie Lvovsky: "Living, Not Acting"

Demain et tous les autres jours - Piazza Grande

Noémie Lvovsky: "Living, Not Acting"


© Alessio Pizzicannella


Noémie Lvovsky, how did you choose the story of Demain et tous les autres jours, which deals with a tragic subject but uses a lighter form?

I wanted to tell a story about childhood and about the love between a mother and her daughter: I don't know if this kind of relationship can be considered stronger than the one between a father and his son, or a mother and her son. But I know it is something particular, something else I wanted to focus on.

The film’s path is dictated by the recourse to fairy tales. Do you think that the fairy tale maintains all of its allegorical power when it comes to talking about the darkness and fear that encircles the modern world?

In the film the fairy tales are created by Mathilde and told by herself to her mother. What I found fascinating in this kind of storytelling is that fairy tales can contain new and wonderful elements, but can also hide disturbing and dangerous aspects. Which was perfect for the theme of the film.

A fundamental aspect of the film is the interweaving of relationships established by the various characters, especially Mathilde's one. How did you go about choosing Luce Rodriguez?

We were in contact with Luce Rodriguez for several months, asking her if she wanted to act in our movie. She has great presence and a brilliant intelligence, but we were not sure if she wanted to accept or not. And when she said yes, I asked her why. She answered: because I wanted to spend some time with you. And this is the answer I will from now on give as well when I am asked why I decided to be part of a certain film, definitely the most honest – the best reason that should drive people towards a set or another in the world of cinema.

In the film you last brought to Locarno, Camille redouble, you created a role of mother/child for yourself. Here, instead, you took on the challenge of actually directing children. What particular issues did you come across?

In the past I directed adults and teenagers, but working with children is something completely different. First of all, asking a child to work is not something normal, isn’t it? Secondly, I knew it would have taken much time to find the right actress and to create something special between her and the rest of the cast. This is why I took my time to talk with her, to get to know her. Sometimes children can feel the desire of the adults and the risk is having a child playing a child, because this is what they are being told to do, but the result is just horrible. We wanted instead to recreate something true, and when it happened on the set it was not like acting – it was like living.

You manage to move back and forth from behind the camera to in front of it with great agility. When is it important to have this crossover experience of being a director when you’re acting, and being an actor when you’re directing?

For me it is a way to take more part to the making of a movie. I was lucky to work with Arnaud Desplechin who can play several roles in the movie industry: director, actor, writer, cinematographer. I learned a lot from him and I am trying to take advantage of it covering not only the role of actress, but also the one of director.

Mattia Bertoldi

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