Even in a country eminently focused on culture like France, Mélanie Laurent (Paris, 38 years old) has a difficult fit. At the age of 15, she began her acting career and has acted in all kinds of films from her beginnings in auteur cinema, until, thanks to her English, she played the role of the owner of the movie theater
Tarantino. She also participated in
No llores, vuela,
by Claudia Llosa, and in recent times she has become a science fiction and action heroine on platforms with
6 en la sombra.
In addition, as a director, she also plays ductility: with fictions such as
documentaries on climate change such as
or the adaptation of the novel by Nic Pizzolatto
"He is very intelligent, and above all, he maintains contact," recalls Claudia Llosa from the Colombian jungle, where she is filming a series.
“She is a great friend.
Not only does she not enter into the rivalry of actresses, she believes in sisterhood, ”says María Valverde.
When Llosa thought of Valverde for her new film,
Rescue Distance, she
called Laurent, who enthusiastically recommended it: the Frenchwoman had directed the Madrilenian in
'Tomorrow', the documentary that encourages us to change the world today
Mélanie Laurent: "My grandfather is very proud that he 'killed' Hitler"
Laurent responds warmly via Zoom.
"There are too many rivalries in the world for me to make them grow," he says.
And that is one of the themes of his film
El baile de las locas,
which opens tomorrow Friday on Amazon Prime Video.
It is an adaptation of the Victoria Mas novel that Laurent has directed, co-written with Mas, and played a supporting character.
The dance of the crazy
describes an all too common situation: at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, any woman who strayed from the path marked by patriarchy (behaving, marrying, becoming a mother and a housewife) ran the risk of ending up being admitted by her family in a psychiatric. They were described as hysterical and they were locked up in places like the one recreated in the film, the Parisian sanatorium Pitié-Salpêtrière. “That is the first reason why I decided to adapt this novel. I was looking for a book whose narrative engine was powerful female characters, and when I read it I admired its complexity wrapped in a glove of linguistic simplicity; I was fascinated by the work of Mas to tell things without you feeling that he was passing a message to you ”, remembers Laurent. “It was very easy to intern a woman at that time, and inside they recognized each other.They were the independents, the insubordinate, they ended up uniting ”.
But Laurent points out: “I did not care about the gender of the author, that the book was written by a woman, but the quality of the narration and the female protagonists.
Now, is the book better because it was written by a woman who may have felt what counts?
The disk of bitterness
Laurent was also attracted by the echo that reverberates today, "when women are pigeonholed in a section and we are not allowed, we are not allowed, to get out of the predetermined schemes".
It's unclear if she's talking about the characters, current examples, or even herself.
"Well, not everything has been easy," he begins to count.
And when the journalist shows him his only album,
published in 2011, it jumps: "Oops, oops, that's it."
When Laurent released the album, "people didn't get it."
And he explains: “Neither the public nor many media allowed me to get my head out of the audiovisual.
I remember that, curiously, I got lyrics, I wrote songs one after another.
I haven't heard it since.
Three years ago I tried to write more songs, and not a single one came out. "
Will it repeat itself?
"Ugh, I don't think so, it was very hard."
However, María Valverde points out: “It will repeat, because music lives in it.
The same is not an album, but another musical project, but something will do ”.
Mélanie Laurent, on the set of 'El baile de las locas', characterized by her character.
Laurent confesses himself "apostle of sisterhood", follower as director of Claudia Llosa, and admits that he was impressed by meeting Jodie Foster at the last Cannes festival, whom he remembers in his characterization in
El baile de las locas
[Foster received the Palm of Honor Gold, Laurent was part of the official jury that Spike Lee presided]: “Thank you, I appropriate the comparison”.
The dance of the crazy women
has been a long project, the shooting of which received the blow of the pandemic. “I grow in each project. In my early days I was very involved in making sure everyone on the set was happy. In
El baile de las locas,
since I was both in front of and behind the cameras, I focused much more on work. Let's say that, in my shootings, I resort to at least is more. And even though I didn't want to act, it was a suggestion from the producer. I did feel that being on set, on stage, with my actresses in front of the camera, helped me a lot. It focused me and made me forget that we were in the second wave of the coronavirus. And after a pause, he underlines: "I feel legitimized as a filmmaker."
The covid also took over her next project as a director,
with the Fanning sisters, which got to start filming. "The confinement ended everything, it was a great project ... Both Dakota and Elle have very tight schedules, and I think we will never return to it."