Isabelle Huppert: "Destroying elitism is a fine utopia for a comedy"
by Fabien Lemercier
09/11/2011 - She is frigid, icy, snobbish and runs a contemporary art foundation. He is an effusive, vulgar drinker who lives in a van. Another film in the vein of "they’re diametrical opposites, and yet…" is hitting theatres today: Anne Fontaine’s comedy My Worst Nightmare [trailer] (see news), unveiled at Toronto, launched by Pathé Films on 421 prints and well-served by its two lead actors: Isabelle Huppert and Benoît Poelvoorde.
According to Huppert, "pitting comedy against drama is meaningless. People think, wrongly, that there is more variety and nuance in drama than in comedy. My Worst Nightmare belongs neither to burlesque, nor pure comedy. In American jargon, it’s what would be called "a romantic comedy", with all that it entails in terms of emotion and fragility of character."
The actress believes that comedy "can be used to shatter clichés and boundaries (…) At first glance, art embodies all that separates the two characters culturally, socially and financially. However, it’s thanks to art that they find some common ground. Art is no longer the mark of a separation or class war, but that of an emotional reconciliation. Destroying elitism is a fine utopia for a comedy".
Huppert also emphasises the originality of director Anne Fontaine: "Her approach has an Anglo-Saxon touch. Within each genre, she alters the codes." This analysis sheds light on the director’s next project: The Grandmothers. Adapted by Fontaine and Christopher Hampton from a short story by Doris Lessing, the film will start shooting in January in Australia with a cast headed by Naomi Watts and Robin Wright (French production by Ciné@, Mon Voisin Productions and Gaumont).
Also hitting theatres today is Philippe Lioret’s All Our Desires [trailer], starring Vincent Lindon and Marie Gillain (see news), unveiled in Venice Days (see review) and launched by Mars Distribution on a 249-print run.
Other noteworthy releases include Austrian helmer Markus Schleinzer’s chilling film Michael [trailer], unveiled in competition at Cannes (see review - Les Films du Losange on 10 prints); Cyril Tuschi’s German documentary Khodorkovsky (Happiness Distribution); and eight other French (co-)productions: Iranian director Reza Serkanian’s attention-grabbing Ephemeral Marriage [trailer] (Jupiter Communication); Sylvestre Amoussou’s One Step Forward: The Inside of Corruption (Tchoko Tchoko); Christian Clavier’s You Don’t Choose Your Family [trailer] (Universal Pictures); Jean-Louis Guillermou’s She Who Loved Richard Wagner [trailer]; Cristián Jiménez’s Bonsai (co-produced by Chile, France, Argentina and Portugal - UFO Distribution); and the documentaries Our Ancestors the Gauls by Christian Zerbib (NiZ !), Honk by Arnaud Gaillard (Shellac) and Zones d'Ombre by Mika Gianotti (Les Films d’un Jour).
(Translated from French)