“This isn’t necessarily a different film from my previous ones”
by David González
- BERLIN 2016: French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Løve talked to the press at the Berlinale about her inspiring new slice of life, Things to Come. Silver Bear for Best Director
It is safe to say that Mia Hansen-Løve is one of the most exciting and talented auteurs in current French cinema. From her debut, All Is Forgiven [+see also:
interview: David Thion
interview: Mia Hansen-Löve
film profile], to her previous film, Eden [+see also:
interview: Charles Gillibert
interview: Mia Hansen-Løve
film profile], she has always latched onto tribulations regarding time and youth, and she’s now taking a leap forward in the timeline of life: in Things to Come [+see also:
Q&A: Mia Hansen-Løve
film profile], it is now a middle-aged woman who has to deal with changes and, of course, the passing of time. The film, starring the always-excellent Isabelle Huppert, is competing for the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlinale, and Hansen-Løve talked about the movie during a Q&A session with the international press.
Your other movies are about young people in search of things. This one is about a woman in the prime of her life going through change. Where does this change come from?
Mia Hansen-Løve: This isn’t necessarily a different film from my previous ones, although I think the protagonist is different because, as you said, the previous ones were young. But the source is the same: time is running through our hands, which is true for all of us, and I identify very strongly with these characters in my films, be they women or men... Afterwards, with perspective, it’s about how they control that. But first and foremost, the film is about the meaning of life, and also looking back, having a kind of retrospective of what’s happened.
Where do these details you portray in the film come from? Is it something that is based on someone’s life?
It’s quite difficult for me not to reveal the source of this, because my two parents are philosophy teachers. I imagine that this has indeed influenced some details in terms of the writing. Now I am really stunned at the fact that I have waited ten years to turn to this topic and put it into a film. People say my films are autobiographical, and perhaps you could say that here as well. It is a film about the world I was born into and raised in: two parents who were philosophy teachers – that is where I always felt at home. All of this philosophical thinking and debating – that was always what my home was like.
The film wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t lived through the period of feminist philosophy led by Simone de Beauvoir, but this is never referred to specifically in the movie.
I think the main character is the embodiment of freedom, of female emancipation. The achievements in the late 1960s and early 1970s were remarkable, but I never thought about having to bring up these historical moments individually during the whole course of the film, because the movie is about her personality, her freedom – the character’s evolution, both emotionally and psychologically.
Was Éric Rohmer an inspiration for you?
I would never expect to be an heir to Rohmer… I think the film is really about finding your own path, and that surely has things in common with his filmography. But of course, he is very important; The Green Ray and A Winter’s Tale have definitely influenced me, as for me he was the most important director when I started my career.
At what point in the writing of the screenplay did Isabelle Huppert join forces with you?
Right from the start; I wouldn’t have been able to write the screenplay if I hadn’t known right from the beginning that Isabelle was going to be in it, if I hadn’t had her in the back of my mind. In the past, I had never written a screenplay being sure of who was going to play which role. I have even made films with non-professional actors already. That can become a bit difficult, even if the film seems quite easy-going and relaxing; you need to have a relaxed atmosphere to be able to deal with these kinds of strong emotions to be shown in the film, so when you have someone like Isabelle to play this role, it is a wonderful opportunity to move it forward. She’s incredibly intelligent and has a great sense of humour. The character was definitely not an easy one, and having her on board really gave me the chance to spread my wings.