Mia Hansen-Løve: ‘I’d rather not film sex scenes than have virtue police on set’
By Michael Hogan
The French director on making the closest thing to an autobiography, stripping Léa Seydoux of her glamour and dating fellow film-makers
French screenwriter and director Mia Hansen-Løve, 42, was born in Paris to parents who were both philosophy professors. She studied German at university, then had stints as an actor and film critic before making her directorial debut in 2007 with All Is Forgiven. Her subsequent films include Father of My Children, Goodbye First Love, Eden and Bergman Island. Her new film, One Fine Morning, is about a single mother caring for her ailing father while embarking upon a new romance. She lives near Paris with her partner, film-maker Laurent Perreau, and their children.
How closely was your new film, One Fine Morning, inspired by your own late father’s illness?
All my films, in one way or another, use autobiographical elements. Or I should say biographical, because the majority are not inspired by my own story but those of people dear to me. But this one is probably the closest to a self-portrait. The character of Georg has the same disease my father had – a rare degenerative condition called Benson’s syndrome. When I was writing the screenplay, he was still alive and I was visiting him, like Georg’s daughter Sandra in the film. So those scenes were inspired by very fresh memories. I had the intuition that if I didn’t write about it right now, I never would. If I’d waited, I wouldn’t find the courage to turn back and look at these painful moments. But that’s only half the inspiration. The other half is a new love, the rediscovery of happiness, and how to balance those simultaneous feelings of grief and joy.
You cast Pascal Greggory as Georg partly because of his physical resemblance to your father. Did that make it poignant at times during shooting?
It did, actually. I’d wanted to work with Pascal for a long time because he’s a delicate, elegant, smart actor. But by chance, there is something about him that very much reminds me of my father. Sometimes it was very poignant and not just because of the physical resemblance. He also got deep into the character of my father and the nature of the disease. I recorded my father speaking and played it to Pascal. He truly seemed to understand his personality – including the way he stayed polite, even when he was losing his mind. I always found that overwhelming about my father. The last thing that he managed to preserve was his politeness. Pascal captured the feeling of who my father was. It’s an extraordinary interpretation.
You wrote the role of Sandra with Léa Seydoux in mind, but wanted to strip her of glamour. Why?
She’s super-sexy with incredible magnetism, but I wanted to undo that image. I aimed to portray Léa as more real and raw, so we could see deep inside her, beneath her exterior. So she wore casual clothes and had short hair. At first, she’s a very regular person, then when she falls in love and starts this passionate relationship, we rediscover her femininity. I enjoyed the idea of a mature sensuality as she rediscovers her own body.
How has shooting sex scenes changed? Do you use intimacy coordinators now?
No, I don’t. As long as I’m not forced to, I won’t use them. I don’t think I need it. I’m extremely sensitive and pay lots of attention to the respect that the actors need to have for one another. I’ve never had any kind of problem. I’ve never forced any actor to do anything. Everything is discussed and happens in a very smooth way. So for me, intimacy coordinators aren’t necessary. If I was forced to have some kind of virtue police on set, I’d rather not film those scenes. I understand why some people might feel reassured, but it’s very far from the experience of my own film sets.
What would your father make of One Fine Morning, do you think?
He never got to see it and I cannot speak for him, but I can say that he was always very encouraging of my work. Very proud, I think. My father was a philosophy teacher but I always thought he should have been a writer. He had high standards, both morally and culturally. One thing he taught was the importance of clarity. As a film-maker, I’m always looking for clarity in my style. That really mattered to him and it’s partly what made his disease so tragic, because Benson’s syndrome destroys clarity of mind.
Was the process of making the film cathartic?
It certainly was. It’s consoling to preserve certain memories… things that were said, moments that I might have forgotten otherwise. It’s a way of remembering who my father was before he totally disappeared. His spirit slowly dimmed and faded away, but I’m glad I could capture those last moments of light. But actually, the most cathartic thing was turning a difficult, dark reality into something fun. Even though there were times when I got very emotional, I love my job. Ultimately it’s like playing a game. A way to bring some distance. The title of my film, Un Beau Matin, is like the beginning of a fairytale. It becomes something pretend. It’s almost childish, but most directors never really want to grow up. You see that in the films of Spielberg. Directors tend to be nostalgic and want to stay children for ever. The way I found was to turn my everyday life into some kind of fun.
Did it help you with your grief?
My father died during Covid. That period was tough for everybody, but losing somebody in those conditions was especially horrible. Many people, including me, weren’t able to properly grieve. They weren’t allowed to see the bodies of the people they loved. They were unable to hold their hands and say goodbye. The film helped me immensely to cope with that. It was a way to feel closer to him again.
How well does France support its film-makers?
In general, France is very supportive with directors. We shouldn’t complain too much because there is a lot of state support. There is a strong culture of cinema here, especially arthouse cinema, but of course commercial cinema is gaining more power. There will always be a tug-of-war between that and the more independent, fragile, vulnerable arthouse films. I fear that arthouse cinema, even in France, is in danger, but it’s a national treasure we need to preserve.
Your partner is a film-maker and you were previously in a relationship with director Olivier Assayas. Is it just easier to date fellow film-makers?
[Laughs] I guess it’s stimulating for me to be in a couple with somebody who is also a passionate film lover. It’s not a conscious choice, it’s just happened that way. I love to have discussions, to share my doubts and fears with the person closest to me. I have faith in cinema as an art form, maybe the greatest art form. Living with somebody who has the same belief feels less lonely, you know?
What’s the last film you saw?
Maybe this will sound surprising, but two or three days ago I watched [1927 silent romance] Sunrise by Murnau and loved it. I cried, but I cry easily. It was very powerful emotionally and the actress [Janet Gaynor] was incredible. She had an innocence and candour that is extremely modern.
Your 2014 feature, Eden, is perhaps the only good film about DJing. Do you still go out dancing?
You just pointed out a very painful thing about my life! Stop it! [Laughs] No, I don’t go out dancing that much any more. I’ve moved out to Montreuil in the suburbs of Paris in order to have more space for my kids, and a garden. I’m increasingly shy when it comes to dancing. Nowadays I dance with my kids in the living room more than in nightclubs.
What music are you into now?
At the moment I’m listening to Handel, which probably has to do with the new film I’m working on. But Thomas Bangalter, formerly half of Daft Punk, releases a new album this week [Mythologies], so I’ll be immersing myself in that. Apparently it’s less electronic and more like contemporary classical, very different to what he’s done before.
What can you tell us about the next film?
I’m only in the very early stages of writing, but it’s a period film, set in England actually. Hopefully I’ll make it in the UK. I can’t say more than that; not because I’m secretive, but out of superstition.
You directed Tim Roth in Bergman Island. Are there other British actors you’d love to work with?
Robert Pattinson! He’s a great actor, truly. But of course, there are tons of wonderful British actors.
How do you relax when you’re not working?
That’s the second time that you’ve pointed something very painful about my life! I’d love to have more time to relax. We’re very busy, my boyfriend and I, working and taking care of the kids. If I had time, I would read more. To me, reading is like a holiday. I have many unread books waiting for me.
Source: Mia Hansen-Løve: ‘I’d rather not film sex scenes than have virtue police on set’ | Movies | The Guardian
Longboard Dancing with Valeriya
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Watch the fabulous Juliette Greco in concert 1962
Musicprogramme in which one guest is at the center of each episode. A series of musical performances presented by Denise Maes in the context of AVRO’s “Club des Vedettes”. In this episode the French singer Juliette Gréco. Musical accompaniment by a band compromising of Deney Patterson, Joseph Rossie, Gérard Hurieux and René Duprat.
• Il n’y a plus d’après 05:33 – 08:47
• C’était bien le p’tit bal perdu 12:23 – 16:27
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• La famille Dupanard 27:17 – 28:49
• Si tu t’imagines 35:29 – 38:28
• Je hais les dimanches 39:28 – 42:33
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TopPop was the first regular dedicated pop music TV show in the Dutch language area. Dutch broadcaster AVRO aired the programme weekly, from 1970 to 1988. Presenter Ad Visser hosted the show for its first fifteen years.
World famous music artists performed on TopPop: ABBA, 10CC, Bee Gees, The Jacksons with Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Earth & Fire, Queen, Golden Earring, Boney M, KC & The Sunshine Band, Chic, Donna Summer and many many more
Cotillard, Pomme, Adjani, Binoche: artists cut their hair in support of Iranian women
Une cinquantaine d’artistes, chanteuses, actrices affichent leur soutien aux femmes Iraniennes dans une vidéo, en se coupant quelques mèches de cheveux.
It is a gesture that has become a symbol of support for Iranian women, who have been demonstrating for two weeks despite the repression: to cut locks of hair or shave their heads. In a video published Wednesday morning by a collective, around fifty actresses, comedians and singers film themselves, scissors in hand, cutting locks of hair. We recognize familiar faces: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Marion Cotillard, Pomme, Angèle, Juliette Binoche, Isabelle Carré, Yaël Naim, Muriel Robin, Alexandra Lamy, Isabelle Adjani, Juliette Armanet, or even Laure Calamy. The soundtrack is the interpretation in Farsi of the song of Italian partisan revolt Bella Ciao, which has become the anthem of protests.
hrough this video, all bring their solidarity to the Iranian women, two weeks after the death of Mahsa Amini . This 22-year-old young woman died on September 16, after being arrested by the morality police in Tehran. She had left hair sticking out of her veil . Since then, demonstrations have shaken the country, and nearly a hundred demonstrators have died .
“Silence can be the worst form of violence”
Three lawyers are at the initiative of this video: Richard Sédillot, specialized in the defense of human rights (he had already mobilized for the release of the Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh ), the president of Paris Julie Couturier, and the former president of the Conseil national des barreaux, Christiane Feral Schuhl. The actress Julie Gayet supported them. “Iranian women need to know that they are not alone” , explains Julie Gayet to France Inter. “Silence can be the worst form of violence” .
This video is a way of “showing solidarity” , adds the actress. “It was to send them a signal, to say ‘we’re here’. I hope they have a way of seeing it.” Lawyer Richard Sédillot hopes that this movement from France “will trigger an extremely strong political reaction” . “Condemnations should no longer be made in half-words, but with more vehemence.”
The video posted on social networks is accompanied by an explicit text: “ It is impossible not to denounce again and again this terrible repression. The dead and dead are already counted by the dozens, including children. only increase the number of prisoners already illegally detained and too often tortured. We have therefore decided to respond to the call that has been made to us by cutting, too, some of these locks.”
Protests continue in Iran
Since the arrest of Mahsa Amini, Iran has been hit by numerous demonstrations. New clashes took place in the night from Sunday to Monday between the police and students in Tehran, on the site of one of the most prestigious universities in the country .
In France, a minute of silence was observed in the National Assembly on Tuesday in honor of the “incredible courage” of the “women, men and all the youth of Iran” who “express their thirst for freedom” , in the words of the President of the National Assembly, Yaël Braun-Pivet.
In a column sent to AFP on Tuesday, nearly a thousand personalities of the French seventh art, including stars like Léa Seydoux, Isabelle Huppert and Dany Boon, renowned filmmakers or the boss of the Cannes Film Festival Thierry Frémaux called on Tuesday to “support the women’s revolt in Iran”.
More at Radio France: VIDEO – Cotillard, Pomme, Adjani, Binoche: artists cut their hair in support of Iranian women