Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet & Anaïs Demoustier in “Anais in Love”

It is the first of the many disappointments of Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet’s wonderfully mischievous “Anaïs in love” that we discover its main character, embodied with boundless energy by Anaïs Demoustier, running fearlessly through the streets of Paris. The sight of the stubborn young woman in a hurry to get home is exhilarating, but little by little Bourgeois-Tacquet reveals that she is driven by a feeling that she needs to catch up, entering her thirties without a clear idea of ​​what she should make it. life or if there is someone she could spend it with, if that is even something she would want. A pregnancy with her newest partner Raoul (Christophe Montenez) is not the clarifying event it would be for many, not even thinking of becoming a mother as she goes through the excruciating pain of fearing her loved ones will soon die of death. cancer, and although she gives her love freely, the only commitment she is willing to make is to her treasured books, which is the only thing she insists on when she rents out her apartment to guests of AirBnB so they stay in the exact same place they were left.

A playful romantic comedy doesn’t often give as much soul-searching as Bourgeois-Tacquet inspires with her inspirational debut feature, but when Anaïs is always in a hurry despite not knowing where she wants to end up, the film sees her enter a intriguing story. stalled after embarking on the life of Daniel (Denis Podalydès) and Emilie (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi), a longtime couple who fell in love with her separately when they fuss in their own relationship, but who don’t want to sacrifice the stability they’ve built up over the years. A striking parallel is drawn between leading a life by following one’s passion wherever it leads or the comfort that once can take predictability and although the writer/director is careful not to be too explicit in taking sides in the story she recounts, the verve with which “Anais in Love” unfolds makes it clear that she believes in the former, avoiding any idea of ​​where you think things might go when Anais escapes town for a writers’ retreat in the countryside.

While the question is open whether Anais will end up with her soul mate, Bourgeois-Tacquet has found hers in Demoustier, who previously channeled all the energy of one of his love creations into the short film “Pauline Enslaved” by 2018 and has only built more steam over the years to put at the service of the force of nature in “Anais in Love”. Together the two are sure to send the mind racing as Anais quickly in and out of scenes from her hectic romantic life and after its first premiere last year at Cannes Critics’ Week, the film finds finally made its way to American shores this week and Bourgeois-Tacquet and Demoustier talked about their collaboration, keeping the film’s irresistibly relentless repartee and working when the heat was on.

After having done “Enslaved Pauline” together, was a meeting a no-brainer?

Charline Bourgeois Tacquet: After working with Anais on “Pauline”, we really felt that the meeting was something on which we were going to continue to collaborate and then I rewrote the feature film which already existed before we shot the short film with her in head, taking into account some things that worked well on the short.

Anais Demoustier: The intimacy I have with the character of Anais has a lot to do with meeting Charline because of the things we share and what she knew about me and also what she wrote in terms of overflows, so it was a very, very pleasant experience. When we act, we always bring something of ourselves and also want to be [dramatized] a bit, so it’s something that Charline’s writing really enabled.

One of the character’s most distinctive traits is how active she is, always on the run. Was the energy a challenge to transmit to the screen without being diluted?

Charline Bourgeois Tacquet: That’s something I think about a lot because my writing is so dialogue-based and I really don’t ever want to do a shot/reverse shot in a classic way of framing dialogue, so the movement has to come from there. inside. So the scenes are choreographed by me in advance where I [run through a scene] with my body and the [cinematographer and I] mark what the internal movement of a scene will be. It’s the only indication I give to my actors when I arrive on set.

Anais Demoustier: I think the physical requirement of this character was the key for her and also the gateway for me to get into it because there was a lot of text to learn and integrate. I came to realize that talking and thinking so much was a physical activity, so it was through her body and through my body guiding me that I was able to find that territory for her. And because the film is a film centered on desire, it is something that allowed me to have access to it in a complete way.

How has the environment fueled production? He goes from the city to the countryside.

Charlene Bourgeois-Tacquet: It was very important that it was shot in the summer and the roles that are shot in the country really contributed to a very important element of directing the theme of desire and sensuality because all of these things for me intersect. In terms of production itself, we started by shooting in Brittany for three weeks and everyone got to know each other and then we were all able to set up a certain rhythm of work at that time and then we went from there in Nantes to shoot all the Parisian apartments. It was a little more difficult. It was about 95 degrees Fahrenheit and that plus all the lights and all of those were conditions that we then had to readjust to.

One of my favorite scenes in the film takes place in an apartment where Anaïs tries to rent her place and she is able to confide her inner thoughts to an audience by only talking to herself about why she is leaving the house. town with the Asian couple who came look at the place none the wiser since she doesn’t speak their language. What was it like figuring it out when it’s such a hard shot to pull off, frantically moving around the apartment like she does?

Charline Bourgeois Tacquet: I’m very glad you enjoyed it because I think it’s also one of my favorite scenes. I don’t really remember how the idea came about, but when it comes to Anais’ character, it’s a big character trait that she sometimes speaks without paying so much attention to the person listening to her. , so it was something we were able to [have] here and there Anaïs Demoustier could tell you that she had concerns that it might seem artificial because it was such an extreme case of that where she really goes into it without paying attention to it. Then technically we had this challenge of making it a long shot and it’s a very small space. We had to do 17 or 18 takes until we got it and an added challenge was that the Korean actors that were there were non-professional actors so miraculously they got a good feel for how [the scene] worked and when they had to step away from the camera. They understood quite quickly, but it was difficult and we had to do it several times.

Anaïs, was it difficult to find the right tone for this character who expresses herself at such a fast and comical pace but who can sometimes be so bittersweet?

Anais Demoustier: I would say it was all there in the script. I don’t think finding that balance is a job. It’s part of life that everyone has in them – the comic and the tragic – and the situations that [Charline] put me in it, all I had to do was play it. What we needed to work on again was that when I read the script for the feature, I thought the character could be improved to be a bit more in the direction of the character of “Pauline Enslaved” in terms of its comedic [qualities]so i pulled the blanket a bit in that direction by adding excessive qualities to enhance the qualities but once that was done the back and forth or balance that we found was just organic and i just had to show up for this.

Charline has made no secret of all the personal touches of her life that have made their way into the film, from her past life in the book industry to the influences of “Opening Night” by Marguerite Duras and Cassavetes, who are part of the movie directly and indirectly. Is it interesting to step into this situation as an actress when the inspiration for the role is just a few feet away from you at all times?

Anais Demoustier: I would say that in any situation, even when a director isn’t writing the character so closely tied to himself, we as actors are stepping into the director’s life. It was a case where it was all the more so since Anais as a character was linked to Charline and there were similarities between Charline and me, there were all these ambiguities and all these ways of working from these areas of familiarity. It was great because in this case, I had Charline there as a model of something to work on, so sometimes I was inspired quite directly and quite concretely by her in the way she is in life, that’s is to say really physical and very concrete and very fast in the way it moves. I had the model for it right in front of my eyes, so it was always something between her, me and then that extra something, which was a lot of fun work.

“Anais in love” opens April 29 in Los Angeles at Pasadena Playhouse, Claremont 5, The Royal, NoHo 7 and Encino Town Center and becomes available on demand May 6.

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