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Noémie Merlant: “Bataclan was horrendous. The terror of not knowing if a member of your family or a friend was there cannot be described”

2023-03-29T05:14:03.918Z


French film fashion girl and star of 'One Year, One Night', she plans to revalidate her great streak of 2022 with the new film by Louis Garrel, 'The Innocent', which opens on April 5


There is a turning point in the career of Noémie Merlant (Paris, 34 years old) after starring in

Portrait of a Woman on Fire

(2019), the feature film by Céline Sciamma for which she obtained her second César Award nomination.

That lesbian drama slammed open the doors of French cinema for her and made her one of its fashionable interpreters.

"It changed my life, as a human being and as a woman," the actress now proclaims in the suite of a central Berlin hotel, where she has just returned after smoking an espresso cigarette, to undergo another interview.

There is a lot to talk about.

It comes from a full streak, composed of

One Year, One Night

(by Isaki Lacuesta, presented at the 2022 Berlinale);

Paris, 13th arrondissement

(by Jacques Audiard) and

Tár

(by Todd Field), which received six Oscar nominations, and where a whole Cate Blanchett is holding her own.

On April 5, he will premiere

El inocente

, the fourth film as director and scriptwriter by Louis Garrel (

Los dos amigos

,

Un hombre fiel

);

and throughout this year he is also expecting

Les Âmes sœurs

, by the French master André Téchiné.

Who said vertigo.

Merlant, who a few days ago won the César for Best Supporting Actress for her role in

The Innocent

(the third time's a charm, they say), joins this story about second chances that Garrel has put together.

A script that mixes the courtship between a prisoner who has just been released and a woman, with the doubts of the recently widowed son (she plays the young woman who encourages him).

It could go through the positive reverse of the darkness of Lacuesta's film.

A film that, according to her, "talks about coping with trauma, but also about love, communication and art."

It tells the story of a couple after suffering the Bataclan attack, in an adaptation of the book

Paz, amor y death metal

(Tusquets), by Ramón González, a Spanish witness to the Islamist massacre at the Parisian club on November 13, 2015. “When the attacks happened, I was at my house, in the 12th arrondissement, which is right next to the neighborhood where the room is located.

I did not understand anything, I could not believe what was happening.

I remember feeling very afraid”, recalls Merlant.

“And it had been only two days since I had been sitting on the terrace of Le Carillon, another of the cafes attacked,” she continues.

Bataclan is a very popular place, where Parisians and people from abroad usually go.

It is a symbol of music and art, a place where we share our lives.

Among the victims were 29 different nationalities, all kinds of religious beliefs, social strata and age groups.

Anyone can identify with the victims.

It was horrendous.

The terror of not knowing if a member of your family or a friend was there cannot be described”.

Now she only has words of gratitude for Lacuesta.

“He is an incredible filmmaker.

And a wonderful human being who seeks the truth of life, the small details and the complexity of emotions.

And he is able to reflect all this on screen.

For me he is a poet.

Also, on

set

he makes you feel very comfortable.

He cares about the team all the time.

She doesn't mind stopping shooting if she notices you're not feeling well, and that's rare among directors.

Many of them just want to keep going, whatever it takes."

The Catalan filmmaker, in a subsequent interview, returned the praise.

“When we started it was way beyond my expectations.

It's a shame the audience can't see what he's like in every shot.

It is always connected.

It's something implausible that I never saw before.

I remember that, in one of the first rehearsals, he began to cry in an impressive way and I started recording because I thought he had gotten into the role in a special way.

Then I realized that he could do it as many times as he wanted.

Working with her is one of the most beastly experiences I've had as a director."

Antonio Macarro

Born in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, Merlant spent her teenage years in Rezé, south of Nantes.

She studied classical and contemporary dance and received singing classes.

“As a child, she wanted to be a singer.

I was fascinated by Céline Dion ”, she confesses with a point of shame.

After high school she worked as a model, something she ended up disgusted with.

“When I was younger I thought about studying Business Administration, without being very clear about what that was about,” she says.

"My whole family works in the commercial sector, but I didn't know what to do."

At 18, her father convinced her to enter the Cours Florent acting school (just like Isabelle Adjani or Audrey Tautou) and she discovered her vocation.

“At first it was complicated, because she did not want to consider any other job option: either that or nothing.

When time went by and things did not turn out as I expected,

Fortunately it was not necessary to start selling other people's properties.

His opportunity came to him in 2019 with

Portrait of a Woman on Fire

.

“As a result of that, many more roles were proposed to me, something essential for an actress to be able to choose her own path.

I am aware that not everyone is this lucky, which is why I take all the offers that come to me very seriously, ”she explains.

“For me acting is a kind of continuous therapy.

It helps me understand myself and others better.

It's actually magical what happens to you when you get into a role.

Although the choice is not always easy and sometimes I make mistakes.

But acting has allowed me to meet incredible female filmmakers like Céline Sciamma or Mélanie Laurent, who are great role models for me as storytellers, which has given me the drive to become a director.”

He is referring to his debut feature,

My iubita, mon amour

, presented at Cannes in 2021, and to a

thriller

that he has in his portfolio.

Until then we can find her humming C. Tangana, who has a small cameo in

One Year, One Night

.

“I didn't know her, but I can't stop singing her songs anymore.

I love them!

Although, honestly, I have no idea what they say.

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Source: elparis

All news articles on 2023-03-29

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