"The right is only interested in personal gain. The left wants to share what it has"
Isabel Nanti, the veteran French actress who starred in "Emily", among others, now stars alongside Gerard Depardieu in "The Wonder of Paris."
In an interview, she explains why the film is related to the left and the right and recalls the filming of the film that became a cult
Avner Shavit, Paris
Thursday, 23 June 2022, 00:03
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Trailer for the movie "Wonder of Paris" (Red Cape)
The public in the country loves the French capital, and the local distributors know it.
Thus, this weekend, no less than two films with "Paris" in their title will be released in Israel, even though it is not necessarily committed to reality.
One of them is the Israeli film "Paris Boutique", which generally takes place in Jerusalem, and the other is the French film "Wonder of Paris", which takes place in the City of Lights, but was originally called "Fahim".
None of the names are misleading.
The film is based on the story of Fahim Muhammad, a prodigy who fled with his father from Bangladesh to Paris, and although he never learned to play chess in an orderly fashion, he turned out to have a unique talent in the field.
Although the French authorities persecuted his family, he found the strength to cultivate his unique talent, compete in the French Chess Championship and become one of the best in the world for his age.
The film was directed by Pierre-François Marten-Lowell, inspired by a book written about the affair, and as usual in such films, there are characters of "white saviors" who take the child under their care and redeem him.
This time it is a veteran chess teacher, played by Gerard Depardieu, and the director of the chess club where the two train, played by Isabel Nanti.
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To the full article
"I do not like chess, because I am not competitive. I am not interested in winning forever."
Isabel Nanti in "The Wonder of Paris" (Photo: Red Cape)
Nanti is known to the international audience for many hits, chiefly of course from Jean-Pierre Jeanne's "Emily," in which she played the character of the hypochondriac Georgette.
She recently joined forces with the director on "BigBug," which aired directly on Netflix.
She has dozens of films on her resume, some also as a director, but "The Wonder of Paris" is a special film for her because of its political baggage.
France is now torn around the question of how asylum seekers should be treated, and this film takes an unequivocal position: they should be embraced and integrated into local society.
The actress fully identifies with this position.
"I am very sensitive to human rights," Nanti said in an interview with Walla!
Culture ahead of the release of the film in Israel.
"I am a woman on the left. For me, the right is interested in personal gain, and being on the left means you want to share what you have. Asylum seekers who come to France want to survive, but also want to live, live like everyone else. We must not forget that, and we must help They have to do it.
The left is not just theoretical ideas.
It is also a way of life. "
"France is built on three values - equality, liberty and fraternity. These words are written at the entrance of every official institution in France. To me, the most important value is 'fraternity', because if there is fraternity between us, it will also bring equality and freedom. I hope human rights are not just "On paper. We have to fight for it. The war is also against people who take advantage of the public's distress, and in the name of slogans about law and order try to convince them not to respect rights."
"He's a planet."
Isabel Nanti with Gerard Depardieu in "The Wonder of Paris" (Photo: Red Cape)
Fahim is played by Assad Ahmad, who himself would have sought refuge during the filming of the film, in his first major film appearance.
He arrived in France just three months before the filming, when he did not know a French word.
"Playing in front of a kid like that is something that fills you with humility," Nanti says.
"Actually, I can not say that I played against him. I listened to him, reacted to him, I was with him. This is not a situation where I find it appropriate to come as an actress and do some numbering."
And what was it like collaborating with Depardieu?
"Depardieu is the person who impresses me the most in our profession. Maybe not only in France, but in the whole world. He can play anything. He can play verb and he can play king. He is a chameleon. He is a world in its entirety. He is a planet. You can not lie to him, "And you can't lie to him. He does everything honestly and with a lot of suffering. I think he suffered quite a bit in his life, because he absorbs everything that happens around him
Do you like to play chess yourself?
"No, I do not like board games, because I like to move. In fact, I do not like games at all. I do not have a competitive instinct. I am not interested in winning."
"We knew there was something special here."
Isabel Nanti in "Emily" (Photo: Screenshot, Screenshot from the movie "Emily")
Although the conversation takes place on the occasion of "The Wonder of Paris", it is impossible not to return to "Emily" starring Nanti, which of course also takes place in the City of Lights.
Last year, we celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the release of the film, which has become a cultural and cult phenomenon.
"It is impossible to predict such success, but already when I read the script, I realized that there is something special here," she says.
"To me, Jean-Pierre Jeanne is a rare director, one who invented cinema for him. There are not many such directors - he, Buzz Lorman, Wes Anderson, Tim Burton and that's it. Fellini was like that too, but he's not with us for a long time." .
And it may be that there is no longer room for such a cinema, unfortunately.
"Probably not, that's why Jean was unable to find cinematic funding for the new film I made with him, and created it directly for Netflix."