Fanny Ardant spends three happy days in Minsk, presenting Obsessive Rhythms at Listapad Film Festival

Sincere revelations by Fanny Ardant

Fanny Ardant spends three happy days in Minsk, presenting Obsessive Rhythms at Listapad Film Festival

Fanny Ardant spends three happy days in Minsk, presenting Obsessive Rhythms at Listapad Film Festival

At her press conference, actress Fanny answered questions freely, chatting about ‘l’amour’ in her beautiful French accent.  All the men present fell a little in love with her. She adores Minsk and hopes to soon return. Fanny loves her work as a director and enjoys Russian literature and music. She also appreciates men’s ability to love.

Fanny Ardant at Listapad Festival

Answering the question as to whether her name helps her to find finances for her directorial experiments, Fanny smiled and spoke in Russian — for the first time during the conference: ‘No’.

She gestured coquettishly and everyone accepted that as a negation, “You know, this was tricky, as I’m not a salesperson. When, for the first time, I had to negotiate with rich people to fund my picture, I was asked: ‘What’s the age of your film’s audience?’ I was embarrassed, as I had no answer. With this in mind, I shoot my films with modest budgets; each member of our production team —actors, operators and decorators — views this as magic. Like craftsmen, they try to do their job perfectly. My films are hand made.”

Why did you decide to shoot a story about unhappy love? Margo — in Obsessive Rhythms — loves, but is unhappy.

Margo doesn’t notice that her love is dying. My first work as a director, ‘Ashes and Blood’, narrated the start of her love. Now, ‘Obsessive Rhythms’ details its end. The beginning of a love story is always blindly passionate. Our eyes only open when the feeling fades. I’ve always been fond of love stories in books. As a teenager, I read almost all works of Russian literature on the theme of unhappy love. I’ve always loved Anna Karenina more than Madame Bovary.

Is it coincidental that Margo is played by Asia Argento, who resembles you?

It’s most probably a subconscious choice. I’m rather insistent and probably dwell on certain ideas. The single conclusion I’ve come to is that there are no answers as to why love comes and leaves.

As an actress, you worked with such giants as Francois Truffaut, Alain Resnais, Franco Zeffirelli and Francois Ozon. Have they pushed you as a director?

Probably, the greatest influence they’ve had on me has been their enthusiasm and energy; I’ve learnt from them. Each has their own unique style and particular view of the world and cinema. However, they’re also united by passion and a strong desire to work. I’ve always thought it a blessing to work as an actress or a director. It’s a divine gift to be cherished and enjoyed.

Why does Obsessive Rhythms take place in Italy rather than France?

I wanted to tell this story without any relation to a certain city. The film features few city views (streets or cars). When people are unhappy, they fail to notice such elements. Moreover, I’ve always loved how foreigners speak French with an accent. Words gain a unique melody. Among the actors, there is only one who is French — Gérard Depardieu. One of the major metaphors of the film is ‘to find oneself between a wolf and a dog’. In France, this phrase indicates twilight: the time when daylight ends and night has not yet fallen. It’s impossible to distinguish a dog from a wolf at this time. We each face a similar twilight when we lose something important in our pursuit of a mirage. Interestingly, French historians describe Stalin’s years with this metaphor.

Is Margo a sister of Truffaut’s The Woman Next Door?

Both burn their lives, being in love with love. They lack wisdom or a strategy to withstand reality. Only literary characters can live for love alone, such as Romeo and Juliet. In real life, love tends to pass — as in Pushkin’s ‘Eugene Onegin’. In ‘Anna Karenina’, when Vronsky is informed of Anna’s suicide, he’s sitting on a warm train, with terrible toothache, which matters more to him than the tragedy.

Do you love to write scripts?

Yes. I’m inclined to enjoy my own company, rather than seeking out the high life. I have only a few friends. Staying home alone, with my notebook, in which I write about my characters, is a true pleasure: like dating myself.

One thing I love about being a playwright and director is that you can inspire people to leave a film or a performance arguing as much as they do after a football match. I adore this.

By Victoria Popova
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