"How do we say hello?
Our two fists collide gently.
She notices that we both have a skull ring.
His is much more imposing.
We smile under our masks.
For a first one-on-one with Mylène Farmer, we would have preferred the coronavirus not to come to our table.
But it's been more than twenty years that Le Parisien - Today in France did not interview the singer, who cultivates more and more scarcity in the media, so we are not choosy.
The star of French singers, who has just celebrated his 59th birthday, unveils this Friday on the Amazon Prime Video platform his “Ultime Création”, a behind-the-scenes documentary of his last show.
To talk about this film which is close to her heart, Mylène Farmer gives us an appointment on Monday on the terrace of one of her favorite restaurants, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris.
Concert by Mylène Farmer: an XXL show in front of 27,000 people
She is easy to access, warm, laughing, but also sometimes shy, even a little fearful.
“I have had bad experiences and I am very emotional,” she apologizes.
When asked if she would rather take off her mask for the photo, she smiles.
“No, that suits me.
We spend an hour and a half discussing everything, but in its own way.
And according to its rules.
She gives herself up, but stealthily.
Every word is weighed.
Each question analyzed.
The most intimate are dismissed or eluded.
She warned us in her documentary: “I can only talk about myself in my songs.
“I wanted to offer those who follow me more intimate moments,” explains Mylène Farmer.
Amazon Prime Video
This documentary is like your last show: extraordinary.
Why show behind the scenes?
Because naturally it was the right time for me.
I wanted to capture all the magical moments shared on film and offer those who have been following me for a long time more intimate moments.
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You reveal yourself there as rarely, especially in voiceover ...
“I abandon myself because I am no longer afraid of being abandoned.
This is probably my most intimate confession in this documentary.
I felt sufficiently confident with Mathieu
(Editor's note: Spadaro, the director)
to agree to be followed so closely.
You are no longer afraid of being abandoned, but by whom?
One person, your audience, both?
It sends me back to a recurring nightmare.
I arrive on stage and the room is empty.
The visceral fear of abandonment has existed in me since my childhood.
What are you worried about?
The death of the people I love.
It is the ultimate surrender.
Animal suffering ...
Mylène Farmer with our reporter, with whom she shares a video that particularly touched her.
In the film, you say you have acquired a new form of freedom ...
This ultimate disobedience is above all a disobedience to myself, a desire to let go which is undoubtedly the fruit of time which inexorably passes.
Are you more comfortable with your image?
Not really, no… But once my decision was made, I had to be sincere.
Show myself often without artifice.
It is a necessary exposure.
Did you want to set the record straight?
It is just being "closer" that reveals who I am.
I'm someone who loves to laugh, who doesn't like to cry unless it's strong emotions.
You speak several times about the love given and received with your audience, which gives meaning to your life.
What would you do if you weren't an artist?
It's difficult to answer.
This exchange with the public is so vital.
In another life, I think my love of animals would win out.
Ideally I would be both a veterinarian and a refuge.
The unreleased song in the credits, "I have the soul in the water", is a cover of a little-known American title, "Ulay Oh".
How did you find out?
Thanks to a video that overwhelmed me
(she takes her smartphone and shows it)
It is shot at MoMA, New York.
Here, it's Marina Abramovic, an artist I really like, and the man who walks towards her, it's Ulay, the photographer with whom she worked and lived a great love story.
It is a suspended, painful and magnificent moment of emotion.
Dancing is a big part of your shows and the movie.
Do you know where your fascination comes from?
Yes I know
… I had the feeling until late that I was living more in a tomboy body.
The dance transports me because it taught me something fundamental: the body can replace words with the same force, the same emotion.
You quote and show your team a lot.
How do you choose the people you work with?
Instinct above all.
These are meetings, human stories.
Of course, they are all great professionals, but the choice also comes from the desire to share an extraordinary adventure.
Over the years, there are people I like to find but I also leave a part to the novelty.
I like to be surprised.
“I am a perfectionist and I calm my anxieties at work,” says Mylène Farmer.
Amazon Prime Video
"Madness appeals to me more than reason", you say.
Right now, reason and masks rule our lives.
Do you suffer from it?
This period is really frightening and painful for so many people… I often think of those whom the epidemic has isolated even more such as the sick, the elderly but also of those who have no other choice but to be in first line and dangerously exposed.
As far as I'm concerned, the disappearance and I often walk together.
And I don't see the mask really as a constraint, I can disappear underneath
How did you experience the confinement?
I stocked up on airtight food storage boxes because I hosted a family of voracious mice
I took care of my animals… I was patient, like everyone else.
Of course, I am aware that the conditions of my confinement allowed me to find the time shorter than others.
The violation of liberty nevertheless remains a painful experience even if it is necessary for health reasons.
Where does this “existential shyness” evoked in the documentary come from?
I do not know.
Someone close to me often says that I am the wolf, the one who lives in the depths of the woods, and when it's time to take the stage, I become a werewolf.
But I am not aware of this double movement.
You are present at all times of creation and rehearsal.
Have you always been so committed to a show?
Yes always !
That's the lesser of it.
I am a perfectionist and I calm my anxieties at work.
I wouldn't have so much fun on stage if I didn't get so involved in the creation, the rehearsals.
This allows me to be free when it comes time to go on stage.
You are the boss.
Is it more difficult to impose yourself when you are a woman?
I do not think so, no !
I feel responsible to my audience and, as such, I make the choices I want to defend in front of them.
The teams I work with know and understand it.
They naturally accept my choices.
The fact that I'm a woman doesn't change that.
Mylène Farmer remains faithful, for her costumes, to her accomplice Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Amazon Prime Video
We see you doing sports intensively to keep up on stage.
Do you do it normally?
Less assiduously, but I often find Hervé
(Editor's note: Lewis, his coach)
and we play ping-pong where we train… I also walk a lot in the forest with my dogs.
You pay tribute to your creative accomplice Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Why do you see yourself as two terrible children?
We have in common the desire to disobey.
I love his creative unreason, his enthusiasm and his attention to detail.
When we prepare the scene, we talk a lot about the creation of the costumes.
I feel very close to him.
And from Sting, who joined you on stage in Paris?
He is a huge author and composer.
Always curious, always wanting to be where you don't expect it.
The man is magnificent.
Do you think the new generation is disillusioned?
Yes, I am afraid.
I think today it is a much more real and more painful disenchantment.
I have the impression that the more the years pass, the more this world no longer offers us the possible hope of a re-enchantment.
By singing "Without counterfeit, I am a boy" and kissing a dancer in 1996 on television, you have helped a new generation of artists to feel freer with sexuality, with gender.
Is this important to you?
It was above all a spontaneous act.
I am happy if this could have contributed to shifting the lines of political correctness but I am not sure that a great wind of freedom is blowing in our time where everything is exposed, scrutinized, commented sometimes without filter or respect for the person ... transparency is a diktat.
Living your sexuality freely should unfortunately no longer be a subject.
Could you still release a song like “Libertine” today?
I don't know… But it would be interesting to list all the works that would never have seen the light of day if they had been conceived today.
The world has changed dreadfully.
You collaborated with the French DJ Feder on your last album.
Which young artists are you interested in?
I really like the universe of Billie Eilish.
His particular timbre of voice.
Mylène Farmer on the stage of her last show.
Amazon Prime Video
Coming off the stage, you say your first image is the face of your missing dad, mom, and brother.
Why do you speak little of them?
They are present despite their absence ... But they remain my secret page.
You are seen in your dressing room using a machine and swallowing water vapor.
Is it for your voice?
They are aerosols.
We inhale and this acts directly on the bronchi and upper airways.
You always dread the emptiness of the post-concert ...
How to pass from such a communion to an almost monastic silence?
The abyssal void of the post-concert returns to its own nothingness.
It takes time to begin to simply exist again, to resume the path of everyday life.
You lift part of the veil on you.
This is just the beginning ?
No, I won't do it again.
It's a one-act play.
But I will continue to write, of course.
You call this documentary “the Ultimate Creation”.
Could this show be your last creation?
God only knows
, French documentary series by Mathieu Spadaro in three parts, 2 hours, on Amazon Prime Video.