By Crash redaction

After winning the Albert-Londres prize in the audiovisual category back in 2015, Delphine Deloget presented her debut film « Rien à perdre » (All to play for) this week at the Cannes Film Festival. A great debut as the film is nominated in the « un certain regard » category.

We follow the story of Sylvie, who resides in Brest with her two children, Sofiane and Jean-Jacques. Together they form a close-knit family. One night, Sofiane gets injured while alone in the apartment as his mother is at work. A report is made, and Sofiane is placed in a foster home. With the support of a lawyer, her brothers, and the love of her children, Sylvie remains confident, believing she is stronger than the bureaucratic and judicial machinery.

Playing in the movie is the talented young actor Félix Lefebvre, in the role of Jean-Jacques. On the occasion of the release of the movie, re-discover the interview he did with CRASH in September 2021 :

2020 was a paradoxical year for you: it marked both the release of your first big movie, as well as a rough year for French film! What was it like for you?


It’s true that 2020 was a tough year for the movies in France. I even thought my film was going to come out later, and then it was decided that it would come out between the two lockdowns – even though we had no idea a second lockdown would soon follow! I felt lucky and proud to be in a film shown in theaters at a time when we all needed to go to the movies, to go out, to watch films that make us feel good and offer some comfort. That is definitely true of Summer of 85. Though there was still the frustration of capacity limitations, and many people were still too « afraid » to go to the movies, people still saw the movie and it got good reviews. The most frustrating part was not getting to go to Cannes, even though our film was part of the selection. But I’m lucky enough to go this year!


What do you think about your selection following the postponement of the 2020 Cannes Festival?

The film was selected last year, but as we know the Festival did not take place. This year, the selection is completely different, but I’ll be going to Cannes to represent another film. It’s called Suprêmes, a biopic about NTM, which will come out in theaters on November 24. It will give me the opportunity to finally discover the Cannes Festival, and I’ll take the opportunity to see François Ozon who is in the official selection. Even though the Festival is postponed to July, it will be like Cannes every day for me since it’s my first time!


We first discovered you in François Ozon’s Summer of 85, which is set in the 80s but tells a universal love story. How would you describe the film?

The most interesting part for me as an actor was being able to focus only on the human aspect of Alexis and what he was going through. All the aesthetic and visual context was conveyed by the other aspects: sets, costumes, hairstyles, image, music… I just had to embody the character within this context. Though the story takes place in the 80s, François managed to take a contemporary look at his characters and the way homosexuality is presented. At no point do the two characters see their love as a problem, and that’s what makes it a universal love story. It is nothing more than a love story between two young people, and above all a story of first love for Alexis.


How did you prepare for the role? Did you turn to any influences from the 80s (movies, music, etc.)?

I asked François for movie and music suggestions, and so I watched My Own Private Idaho, Stand by Me… I mostly watched movies from the 80s that Alexis might have liked. I started reading books about death that he might have read so I could adopt his vision and perspective on the world. I also listened to a lot of 80s music to get into the mood, because music from that decade has a very distinctive identity. The songs also show you why people danced like that back then. I worked closely with François and Benjamin Voisin and we spent a lot of time together. We talked a lot about the characters and got to know each other so that once we arrived on set, it was pure fun.


It seems like there was a strong connection not only between the actors but also with François Ozon while filming. How did you meet him and what was casting like for you?

It started out just like any other casting. I didn’t know much about it, and I wasn’t familiar with François’ work. He liked my audition so I was able to meet with him afterwards, and he picked me for the part. François takes a very caring and sincere approach to directing. He doesn’t just want to see his actors only when we’re working. He creates very healthy and generous bonds of friendship. He’s now become a friend, someone I can talk to freely and go to for advice, and we hang out from time to time. It’s great considering that he’s a very talented person who makes incredible films. He never seems to take himself too seriously. He is very serious about his work, but he does it with a lot of distance and self-deprecation. That’s what makes him so brilliant. I didn’t know Benjamin either and we first met at casting. But we got along well right away and we had a great connection.


You mentioned that you weren’t familiar with François Ozon’s films before shooting with him. So you didn’t go to the casting session saying, « I absolutely must shoot with Ozon », as a career goal.

Kind of like Alexis when he falls in love in the movie, the best things in life happen to us when we least expect them. I think when we want something too much, like in an obsessive way, that may actually keep it from happening. Things happen in a random way and they depend on more than just ourselves. You just have to stay open to new opportunities, enjoy the casting sessions, do your best and work with the directors who are available to you. François wasn’t someone I had in mind particularly or absolutely dreamed of working with, but now I’m like, « OK, I achieved one of my dreams: working with François Ozon! » That’s the paradox!


As an actor, which directors and films influenced you the most throughout your life?

My favorite movies are mostly ones by directors I can only dream of working with. In France, we are lucky to have an extraordinary diversity in film and a lot of incredibly interesting directors. Even among the young directors doing their first films, there is a ton of creativity. I admire directors like Francis Ford Coppola and Stanley Kubrick. But of course it’s not just those two – not just the big ones. There are also some young directors who are making more intimate and truly beautiful films. I just did La Passagère, the first film by a young director named Héloïse Pelloquet, together with Cécile de France. It was so nice to work with someone on their first film and really feel all their sensibility and talent. I’m not really looking for any director in particular, but rather a story that moves me and that I think needs to be told.


Did you grow up in a family that loved movies?

Apart from my cousin who went to film school, no one in my family is from the film world. We like movies, but like most people we’re not huge film buffs. I didn’t grow up watching Godard or Truffaut. Those are things I learned to love later on. My first passion was theater. I signed up for a class in high school and it was a revelation. I wanted to be a stage actor, and still do. But one day my cousin told me about a casting for a short film. I got the part and when I discovered the sets, I knew I really wanted to make movies. I watched a lot of movies and TV series with my family in the evening. When I realized I could combine my passion for acting with my love of movies, it was perfect!


The character of Alexis in Summer of 85 is your first lead role. What was it like filming this movie? Did you feel any pressure to « carry » the film, especially since your character is the narrator?

A lot of people ask me that question. But François is a great director, and he made it so that everything was easy. The scripts were well written, the characters were smartly constructed, my acting partners were excellent, his acting direction was great, the sets and the costumes really immersed me in the role… All that combined with my preparation meant that I just had to show up and live out each scene. I never felt any difficult or high-pressure moments. I was definitely able to just enjoy the shoot and have fun.


You shot in Normandy, in Le Tréport. While watching the film, I had the impression that the landscapes, the sea and the cliffs, played an important role in the romance between the two characters. I’m thinking in particular of the motorcycle rides, the sunsets…

Yes, that’s true. In fact, those were my favorite scenes to shoot, all those moments in those massive landscapes. We shot on the edge of the cliffs, which are known as the « cliffs of death » because so many people end their lives there. What’s interesting is the impression it makes on Alexis, who is kind of on edge all throughout the film. The sets really gave the movie all its romance and power. It’s the esthetic that makes their love story so romantic, very « Ozonian »!


What is your relationship to nature and environmental issues, especially in comparison with the more carefree youth of the 80s depicted in the film, as well as your personal experience as a young adult born in the late 90s? Do you identify with the environmental concerns of your generation?

Of course. I live in the city, and today it’s almost impossible for people not to be in contact with nature. You can feel the difference between the air in the city and the air in the country… It’s something we need to preserve. I’ve seen a lot of people litter and say their actions won’t change anything. Today I think we’re coming to a kind of collective awareness that will only make a difference if we all do our part. Protecting nature is up to us, and I’m all for it.


Let’s talk about your next film in theaters, Suprêmes!

It’s coming out on November 24 and will be screened out of competition at Cannes. It kicks ass! It’s a great big American movie, in the best sense of the word, with a tremendous energy that I think will make everyone feel good. I play Sebastien Farran, who at 19 became the manager of the group NTM and made them famous.


What was it like shooting this movie compared to working with François Ozon?

It was completely different, like night and day. It was interesting for me to see that there can be so many different worlds, energies and ways of doing things within the same movie business. I liked having to adapt and find my place in to two completely different worlds. I also had the chance to talk with Joey Starr and ask him about my character.


At the end of Summer of 85, your character says, « The important thing is to escape your story. » That line can be interpreted in many ways. What does it mean to you?

It’s true that it’s kind of an odd line! We even talked about it with François and no one agreed on what it meant. For me, wanting to escape your history corresponds to a desire or need to live in the present and not like a ghost of the past. It’s about being open to new encounters and new experiences…

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