ANAIS DEMOUSTIER ON CINEMA
By Crash redaction
FRESHNESS AND SIMPLICITY: TWO WORDS WHICH PERFECTLY DESCRIBE ANAIS DEMOUSTIER INTERVIEW , ONE OF THAT YOUNG GENERATION OF FRENCH ACTRESSES WHO LIGHT UP DARKENED AUDITORIA AND TURN THE HEADS OF COUNTLESS TALENTED DIRECTORS. SHE IS CURRENTLY ON CINEMA SCREENS IN BELLE EPINE AND D’AMOUR ET D’EAU FRAÎCHE (OF LOVE AND COOL WATER), AND WILL BE APPEARING SOON WITH JULIETTE BINOCHE, THEN ON STAGE. SHE WORKS TIRELESSLY AND CONSCIENTIOUSLY, MOTIVATED BY REAL PASSION FOR HER WORK, FAR FROM THE EMPTY DREAMS OF VAIN AND VACANT CELEBRITY. IT IS PURELY THE LOVE OF ACTING THAT HAS PERSUADED ANAÏS TO REVEAL SOMETHING OF HERSELF, WITH DISCRETION AND SINCERITY.
Interview by Armelle Leturcq
How did your career in cinema begin?
I had been doing after-school drama since i was little, and one day a casting director came into my class looking for children to act in a film he was directing in our area. So i did a scene with Michel Serrault in Le Monde de Marty, (Marty’s World). It was only half a day on set, but i loved it. So i signed up with a casting agency, and when i was thirteen, got two months’ work in Le Temps du Loup (Time of The Wolf) by Michael Haneke. This experience really confirmed my decision to make acting my career.
What exactly appealed to you during your first experience of filming?
It was simply my love of acting; i already thoroughly enjoyed my drama classes. I also loved the cinema for the technique, the relationship with the camera, the huge crew and the teamwork all combining to produce a film.
Do you still take lessons?
Not since arriving in Paris, because it would be difficult to take classes over a long period of time as my schedule is so busy. That’s why i do workshops when i have a month or two when i’m not filming. The last one was eighteen months ago in New York. It’s really interesting, because it’s an opportunity to get to grips with very precise methods, make new discoveries and work very intensively for a short time.
On which project(s) are you working at the moment?
I’ve just got back from filming sponsoring in Paris and Germany, a feature with Juliette Binoche. The director is a very talented and creative young polish woman. I have a rather demanding part – a parisian student who works as a prostitute to pay her rent and for her studies. The film shows how hard this is, even if it is the girls themselves who have chosen this way of life, and that they seem to have come to terms with it. Juliette binoche plays a journalist reporting on this subject, and there is a series of interviews with her. It’s pretty intense, but very rewarding. Now i’m starting work on a television drama in rouen, normandy; an adaptation of a Zola novel, La joie de vivre (The joy of living).
How do you prepare for each role?
I have a method which never really varies, even though i keep working on it, as i’m still pretty much starting out. I always try to act in the moment, in the present of the situation, and with my partner. In the cinema it’s easy to forget certain interactions with the other, as there are so many instances when you are off screen, but i think there is nothing more moving than seeing the actors, during a take, capture a moment on screen together. Otherwise, depending on what the role is, I do a lot of research, which then becomes an integral part of the character. For example, I consulted the internet sites on young women prostitutes and studied the accounts they gave when they agreed to be interviewed; and for other films, i met a teacher,and a woman suffering from multiple sclerosis.
What was it like making the film D’amour et d’eau fraîche?
I particularly like this film, as the character I play is a little different from my previous roles, and the young girl i’m playing is the same age as I am, twenty-two years old. Also, it was in Isabelle Czajka’s first feature film, the year after I got my first lead role, and it was a real pleasure working with her again. Right from the start, we had a kind of bond, a mutual understanding and sensibility which meant that suddenly everything fell into place faster, and was all the stronger for it. I liked the story immediately; a love-story about a young couple, who are a little wild, and who abruptly decide to leave paris, where it’s a real struggle to be a new graduate, suffering the humiliation of going from one temporary job to another. They leave to get away from the society which is traumatizing them. It was nice to work with the very talented pio marmaï. I’m very proud of this film.
What’s happening with Belle epine?
Belle epine is the first feature by the extremely gifted Rebecca Zlotowski, a graduate of la femis film school in Paris. The film is wonderful, but I have a smaller role, consequently the experience was a little less intense.
What is your view on the future of auteur cinema in France?
It’s what i love most in the cinema, both in terms of acting and watching, but nevertheless i get the impression that it’s becoming more and more difficult for these films to exist. I’ve made quite a few first features, and i’ve noticed that there is less and less money, and less willingness to take a risk. In fact, it’s the distribution which is trickiest: some directors manage to get something made with a much-reduced budget, but the hardest part is to get more or less decent visibility for the film. For example, Sois sage, directed by Juliette Garcias, which i really liked, was released in only four cinemas. Noone had the time to go and see it, let alone talk about it. The cast is very important, because there has to be at least one “name” for the project to materialise. It is practically impossible to shoot with someone who is thirtyish, and has no experience. However, i am optimistic; in my opinion there are a good number of very talented young people with something to say, and they are the ones who’ll make it. The main thing is that there are always people who are creative.
What are you passionate about apart from cinema?
I love listening to music, and so i often go to concerts; i also regularly visit exhibitions, because i think that is very important for an actor. There is a strong link with the image, with the emotion the instant it is painted or photographed. I went to Rouen to study the impressionist paintings there, and was struck dumb with admiration by Claude Monet’s representations of the cathedral.
What are your plans?
After the television drama, i start work on a film by Robert Guédiguian with Jean-Pierre Darroussin and Ariane
Ascaride, then a first feature by a young belgian director, based in the United States, whose creative world is particularly original and interesting. Then i’ll be working in the theatre. My first experience was with Christophe Honoré, who directed me in a play at the Festival of Avignon. This one is directed by François Bégaudeau, and I’ll be acting with Emmanuelle Devos and Jacques Bonnaffé. Rehearsals start at the end of November, and we’ll be taking over the théâtre du Rond-Point and the théâtre de Marigny, before a short tour of France. All that will keep me busy until May 2011.
Doesn’t the theatre make you more nervous?
The first time I was really scared, because conditions at Avignon are very specific, which means extra pressure. However, little by little I managed to enjoy myself, thanks to the spontaneous aspect, due to being on the boards, in direct contact with the public. We played to huge audiences, which won’t be the case for the next play, where we’ll be performing in a much more intimate environment. I can’t wait, even though it is indeed more stressful than the cinema!
Photography: Frank Perrin
Fashion: Armelle Leturcq
Hair: Frederic Birault @B4 Agency
Make-up: Go Miyuki
Interview from Crash #53