First Look: Adèle Exarchopoulos in Ira Sachs ‘Passages’

The Sundance Film Festival 2023 is on the horizon next month, taking place between January 19 to 29, and we’re getting a heap of first-look images for their lineup of movies. […] Beloved indie filmmaker Ira Sach (Keep the Lights On, Love Is Strange) returns with Passages, starring Franz Rogowski, Ben Whishaw, and Adèle Exarchopoulos. It depicts a long-time male couple, one of whom has an affair with a woman.

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Les Cinq Diables (2022) – Official Poster + New Stills

Le Flambeau (2022) – Official Poster + First Stills

Adèle Exarchopoulos: “I dived into the underside of low-cost flights”

The actress, revelation of La vie d’Adèle, is dazzling in Rien à foutre, a film currently in theaters which tells the daily life of an airline flight attendant.

Nine years after her Palme d’or obtained at the Cannes Film Festival with Léa Seydoux for La vie d’Adèle, the only Palme d’or in the history of the festival awarded two actresses – and it was Steven Spielberg, then president of the jury, who had made a point of rewarding them -, Adèle Exarchopoulos finds in her latest film, Rien à foutre (currently in theaters), her most significant role. Totally moving and with phenomenal accuracy, it portrays a somewhat lost low-cost airline stewardess, who flees reality – in particular the death of her mother – by multiplying trips, parties and shots. one night.

By immersing us behind a fascinating backdrop, of which until now we only knew the tip of the iceberg, the film imposes itself as a Polaroid of the modern world, that of a certain youth. From Morocco, where she is recharging her batteries before preparing for the Cannes Film Festival, where she will present two new feature films, the actress tells us about the amazing shooting conditions of this film on the borders of the documentary.

We only see you in Rien à foutre. From the first to the last frame, you carry it admirably on your shoulders… Did you expect to have such a presence?
No not at all. For the simple and good reason that Emmanuel Marre, one of the two directors, whom I met first, had been very clear from the start: he did not want to follow a precise scenario but to reinvent everything according to the meetings, having total freedom during filming and improvising a lot… I had seen one of his short films which took a look full of humor and depth at our generation and I had total confidence in him. Just like Julie Lecoustre, her partner, whom I met later.

At first, both were considering giving the role to a real flight attendant. What made them change their tune?
I don’t really know… They actually met hundreds of flight attendants before we found each other. I had also been warned: “It is not certain that you will have the role, perhaps they will find the hostess of their dreams”. And then with Emmanuel, during this meeting, we liked each other… They still asked me to do some tests, in a small hotel room, on the Brussels side, all made up with a hostess costume, to be sure of their shot… He wanted to see how I carried the ritual of loneliness of an air hostess who gets up at dawn, unable to have an emotional life…

You then took training courses. How was this immersion phase?
I left with a low-cost company to do empty legs: Paris Madrid, Madrid London, London Paris… And I dived into the underside of these flights, in terms of preparation, security, pressure of numbers to sell as many products as possible for the passengers… That’s when I started to understand one of the essential elements of the character: this notion of having no hold on the present… One day, we were about to take off and I get a phone call from my young son’s school principal, who usually only calls me when there’s a problem. And there, for 3 hours, in full flight, I realized that I couldn’t do anything for him or for the people I love. I couldn’t talk to him, couldn’t act… We suddenly realize the constraints of this job, and the impact of these on their lives.

There is also this notion of the mask, very present in the film, that these hostesses must display, of perpetual representation… Is there a parallel to be drawn with what you sometimes experience as an actress?
A little yes. In the air, they must disconnect from reality, forget their problems and smile no matter what. Not to mention those passengers convinced that they will soon die and that you must reassure. And with the exception of this last point, when we actresses find ourselves on a promo, we are asked the same thing: to take a certain posture for the photos, to be pretty, with a smile on our lips and also to forget our worry. Moreover, to show you how important the notion of the mask is, I remember that when I became pregnant, after the Palme d’or at the Cannes Film Festival for La vie d’Adèle, I could not find no more roles and I went back to work in my father’s little sandwich stand, where I worked before breaking into the business. And for people, it was just inconceivable that the glamorous actress they knew would sell them popcorn. When they told me that I looked like him, no matter how much I told them that in fact it was me, they were convinced that I was telling them canards: “You say nonsense! Come on, put me some M&M’s with that…”.

The filmmakers mentioned filming sometimes hastily in airports… Concretely, how did it go?
We would arrive in the morning and I would go to the toilets to change and do my make-up… For certain airports, notably that of Dubai, we did not have authorization to shoot. So we pretended that we were doing scenes for a wedding between us. There were a lot of moments stolen or worked on in a hurry.

How does improvisation work?
Already, you need directors who know how to put you at ease enough so that you can completely abandon yourself. And it was. Afterwards, they asked a lot of hostesses or flight attendants to play their own role and it immediately creates something extremely natural. We also shot during real flights where the production had offered passengers to travel for free in exchange for being filmed. As for the party scenes, we were totally embedded in real fiestas. After all, not everything was improvised. We still had a script, with a few key scenes written that had to be respected.

Do you identify with this lost youth portrayed in the film, who only has Instagram or Tinder as a real landmark?
In part, yes, because I know how society works today, where everything is consumed very easily, where we constantly seek everyone’s approval. I practice social networks, Instagram often for my work, and it has very good sides. Afterwards, it’s already starting to scare me for my son. I don’t want him to fall into it too young. However, I am unable to do a Tinder. I’m not judging, I’m sure there are great love stories on that side too, but when it comes to feelings and encounters, networks, it’s not for me.

Last year, Rien à foutre was presented in the Critics’ Week selection at the Cannes Film Festival, where you will be present twice this year, with Fumer fait tousser, by Quentin Dupieux, in the Official Selection, and with Les cinq diables, by Léa Mysius, at the Directors’ Fortnight. Are you rejoicing? Can you tease these two films for us?
Cannes, it all depends on who you share it with. If my best friends are there, Leïla Bekhti, Tahar Rahim, Géraldine Nakache or Jonathan Cohen, I know I’m going to have fun, yes. Afterwards, for the films, I have not yet seen Fumer fait tousser. I only want a small role in it, but it’s still a very wacky film, with a team of fallen superheroes who must go green to tame their fears by telling stories. And Les cinq diables is a fantastic film where I play a young woman who lives with her husband and daughter in a village. And this child has powers allowing her to go back in time through smells and she will notably revisit her mother’s past…

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Adèle Exarchopoulos: “I had not experienced such freedom since ‘La Vie d’Adèle'”

On the occasion of the release of Rien à Foutre, meeting with Adèle Exarchopoulos, an anti-star in burgundy Nike jogging accompanied by her couple of directors, Julie Lecoustre and Emmanuel Marre.

To what extent did you recognize yourself in the character of Cassandra?
Adèle Exarchopoulos – In a form of disenchantment with the fact that today everything is consumed very quickly, whether it is physical, feelings, work. We let ourselves go less, we look less for the meaning of things, it’s very chaotic. In Cassandra’s disenchantment and despite her desire for life following a bereavement, I was able to recognize my generation.

How did this filming, carried out almost in a hurry in the middle of Covid, go?
A.E. – For me, who is not very academic, the aviation probation was difficult, having to smoke in the toilets, eat the food from the plane. I was afraid that I would not pass the moment of the security demo. We didn’t really have filming authorization in the airports and stopovers we were going through, I sometimes had to change in the toilet between scenes. But even in difficult times we laughed, it was really a common adventure.

Julie Lecoustre – We shot both in very standardized framed places such as airports and planes. For the extras, we had offered a free round trip Paris/Barcelona to people. So they were real passengers in full flight.

Emmanuel Marre – In Dubai, we shot without authorization. Adele changed in airport toilets between shots sometimes to make plans in the middle of people. The party scenes are also very realistic. It creates an energy of acting that is not tenable throughout the film but which recalls at certain moments the necessary urgency of the state of play, which we find in real life.

This title Rien à Foutre, does it have to do with an anarchic gesture?
E.M. – For us, it has to do with freedom of expression. There is a total privatization of public space, through brands, advertising, sometimes architecture. If you start asking for permissions, you hardly have the right to film people’s lives anymore, or only from one angle. However, it must be remembered that freedom of expression gives us the right to legally film a brand, as long as it is not denigrated. In Dubai, we shot with a small camera, but there the bloggers or influencers were four times more professional than us! They had an impossible gear. He should therefore have no problem shooting with the means of the cinema.

In the film, Cassandra’s body is constantly checked, to conform to her job in the company. Would you draw a parallel with the place of women’s bodies in society today?
A.E. – Beyond the body, which I was not necessarily aware of, it was more the work on a form of mask that interested me. When we met flight attendants with Emmanuel and Julie, what came up a lot was the outfit, the diction, the posture, the make-up, the costume which becomes almost political. When you’re in the air as a passenger, you’re not really aware of it, but when it’s your job, to be in the air disconnected from reality and no longer have a hold on your present, and to have to often reassuring half of the passengers who are often very anxious since we still have a chance of dying, it is more the question of the mask that is essential. It’s something I can also feel with a smaller measure on sale, but not so much considering how I came dressed today! But here it is, it is true that we are constantly asked for a posture. Me, it’s going to bother me more in what I’m sometimes asked to answer in an interview than on a red carpet where it’s fun to play the game, I completely manage to have some distance with that. When I look at a Zendaya or a Jane Campion, they play along too. This mask still makes us look at each other without really asking ourselves what we are going through.

J.L. – Among air hostesses, the sexualization of the body is very marked. The uniforms, particularly in the low-cost companies, are super tight, they have to wear a certain shade of lipstick coordinated with the color of the nails, they have hairstyles, regulation earrings. There is a whole imagination around the air hostess, and at the same time it was also for us to show that in the character of Cassandre there is this duality of the mask as Adèle said, of the armor almost . We also see this implicitly, because apart from her job Cassandre does not wear makeup, appearance is not at all an immediate issue in her relationship with others. We worked with the costume designer on things that were quite vague, quite large outside of the hostess outfit. He is a character who has a sexuality but who we decided not to sexualize.

E.M. – In her personal life, Cassandre has freedom with her body. When she doesn’t want to wax, she doesn’t wax. But in the company, there, there is real violence. Our idea was to show that the uniform is violence. The real violence is when she goes to the job interview and is asked at the end what her reaction should be if a passenger behaves inappropriately. She knows that you should never say no, it’s almost like prostitution. That is a violence a thousand times greater than the question of representation.

The film is ultra-realistic. How much improvisation?
A.E. – The job interview was written and the narrative arcs too of course but everything else is improvisation. What I can say is the first time my parents have liked a movie I’m in and are proud of me. But there are as many things about me as there are not in Cassandra.

The end of the film switches to a somewhat difficult return to the family in a small town near Liège. Would you say that one of the common threads of the film is also the difficulty of attachment to others today?
E.M. – Cassandra’s attachment disorder is the heart of the film. This is what we discovered while making the film. What are we attached to? To his work, to his friends? The film explores places of attachment and detachment too. Cassandre must relearn how to attach herself. The return home is also a common place in cinema, in a place where we did not know if Cassandre was right to return or not. At the same time she finds something but when she comes back to it she discovers that she does not necessarily belong there. But in the world of airports that we describe, where everything is a bit of a non-place, it was important to echo a “super-place” that only those who live there know. The attachment is very strong between the father and his daughters, when he speaks to them about their birth it brings out something fundamental, it is what attaches us fundamentally.

In the film, Cassandre is very taken by social networks. What role do they play in your life Adele?
A.E. – I would be a huge liar to tell you that they have no role for me. Despite everything, it’s a game we’ve all fallen into either out of unhealthy curiosity or political conscience, there are a thousand reasons and I don’t even know if there are good ones or not. I practice the networks but it really scares me for my child, the fact of spying on people’s lives and thinking that it comes down to these beautiful moments on Instagram. I use it a lot for work and it has very good sides, freedom of speech, expression, images. To speak concretely, the images of the death of George Floyd have made police violence undeniable. There was no longer any doubt. Networks are therefore sometimes essential, but it is also a little destructive on private lives on a daily basis because it remains an illusion. I manage to have some distance because I am self-deprecating, but half of the photos I post where I am obviously made up, retouched, dressed in outfits that do not belong to me, I am well aware that I am in my bed awful and exhausted when I post them! It makes me laugh as much as it worries me.

You were born in the cinema in the film by Abdellatif Kechiche. Can we see a common thread between your character in La vie d’Adèle and that of Cassandre in Rien à Foutre?
A.E. – Adèle’s life is about discovering the first times, there is disenchantment but also an enormous attachment. When you love for the first time you really believe that you are going to die. The link I would make between the two films is the space of freedom on set. I had not experienced such freedom since the experience of La vie d’Adèle, thanks to this strength that Emmanuel and Julie have to put us in completely real conditions. Of course there was a script but they were only afraid that it would be fixed, conventional, they wanted to reinvent the script during filming.

How do you choose your roles Adele?
A.E. – There are no criteria but sometimes desires. For example the desire to make a comedy but it is rarely at these times that it falls. For me the choice is very instinctive. It is linked to a meeting, a reading. Choosing a film is a bit like a love story, I want to be part of the adventure. It may be an encounter with a role, a filmmaker, a scenario. To be honest, the few times I wanted to be strategic I very quickly regretted it. To be in the right place, you have to listen to yourself.

Did filming with a male-female director couple bring a form of equality to the set?
A.E. – There is never a complete tie on a set. Julie and Emmanuel are two very different animals even if their sensitivity is the same. It was the first time I worked with a duo, I loved it. But the real subject of the film is the question of the masks that we wear without knowing what the people behind them are really going through.

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‘Rien à foutre’ selected for Critics’ Week At Cannes Film Festival

Rien à foutre, Emmanuel Marre and Julie Lecoustre’s first feature film, was selected for Critics’ Week, the parallel section of the Cannes Film Festival, Wallonie Bruxelles Images announced on Monday.

Produced by Wrong Men, with the support of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation Cinema and Audiovisual Center, the film follows Cassandre, 26, a flight attendant for a low-cost company. Living from day to day, she goes on flights and parties without tomorrow, faithful to her nickname Tinder: Carpe Diem. An existence without ties, in the form of a headlong rush, which apparently fills her. Until some mishap forces him to reconnect with the world.

Cassandre is played by actress Adèle Exarchopoulos (La Vie d’Adèle, Mandibules). At his side are in particular Alexandre Perrier and the young Belgian actress Mara Taquin (Hors normes, Ennemi public).

Emmanuel Marre, a former student of the Institut des arts de diffusion (IAD), has directed several short and medium-length films which have had very successful festival careers in recent years: Le Petit Chevalier (2011), Le Film de l’été (2017) and especially D’un château l’autre which won the Pardino d’or for best short film at the Locarno Film Festival in 2018, recalls Wallonie Bruxelles Images.

His passage to feature film is done in pairs, with Julie Lecoustre, the script and the production being signed with four hands, underlines the official agency for the promotion of the audio-visual of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation abroad, specifying that Julie Lecoustre had also co-authored D’un château l’autre.

The Cannes Film Festival, canceled last year due to the pandemic and usually held in May, will run exceptionally from July 6 to 17. This is its 74th edition.

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BAC Nord (2021) – Poster + Stills

Mandibules (2020) – Movie Poster + Stills

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Sibyl (2019) – Official Poster & Stills

Sibyl, a jaded psychotherapist, returns to her first passion: writing. But her newest patient Margot, a troubled up-and-coming actress, proves to be a source of inspiration that is far too tempting. Fascinated almost to the point of obsession, Sibyl becomes more and more involved in Margot’s tumultuous life, reviving volatile memories that bring her face to face with her past.

The White Crow (2019) – Official Poster & Stills

Young prodigy of the famous Kirov ballet, Rudolf Nureyev is in Paris in June 1961 to perform on the stage of the Opera. Fascinated by the crazy Parisian nights and the artistic and cultural life of the capital, he became friends with Clara Saint, a young woman introduced to upscale circles. But the men of the KGB responsible for monitoring him do not look favorably at his “Western” associates and call him to order. Confronted with a terrible dilemma, Nureyev will have to make an irrevocable choice, which will upset his life forever. But who will get him into history?