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"A chapter of history"

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Charlotte Gainsbourg • Actress

- Extracts from an interview with the French actress, a rising star on the international scene, provided by the production

Charlotte Gainsbourg • Actress

What attracted you in the adventure of Golden Door [+see also:
film review
film focus
interview: Alexandre Mallet-Guy
interview: Charlotte Gainsbourg
interview: Emanuele Crialese
interview: Emanuele Crialese
interview: Fabrizio Mosca
film profile

Charlotte Gainsbourg: Respiro [+see also:
film profile
impressed me very much. When I met Emanuele Crialese he was literally possessed by his project: he has an incredible way of talking, mixing French and Italian with a communicative enthusiasm. The script was exciting and was accompanied by visual documents of magical scenes, places, faces, the boat… A chapter of history I didn’t know existed, the feeling of touching on a very real part of Italian culture. I didn’t hesitate for a second. I had an outsider’s view of the project, like a foreigner – which is what I also am in the film.

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How did you prepare your character?
The first step was making the costumes, which took place very early on in Rome. Emanuele was very open to my suggestions. He asked me: "What colour will your clothes be?" I found it interesting that she [the character] had a high, very rigid collar, which made her stand out from the other women, and that she later reveals a little more flesh on the boat.

We don’t really know who Lucy is, we only hear idle gossip about her. Do you know any more? I first based myself on a prostitute who had a very tough life. I wasn’t very sure. In fact, I stuck with my first idea because I wanted to base myself on something concrete. A real mystery always surrounded Lucy on the shoot. Emanuele wanted there to be a doubt. One day, he said to me that we could imagine something else, that she came from high society, that she was a fallen woman rejected by her husband. We invented several biographies that stood the test of time. This character also has a symbolic function: Lucy is a bridge between the old and the new world, she personifies a sort of modernity.

The shoot is different to many others.
Emanuele has his own special way of working, he uses a lot of improvisation and makes quite a few last minute changes to the scenes or dialogues. We started very physical rehearsals in Buenos Aries. In the storm scene, for example, a crowd learns to move together and then falls on top of each other like in a dance performance.

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