Marie Grahtø • Réalisatrice de Psychosia
"Dire bonjour au passé"
par Marta Bałaga
- VENISE 2019 : Cineuropa a rencontré la réalisatrice Marie Grahtø pour parler de son premier long-métrage, Psychosia, actuellement au programme de la Semaine internationale de la critique vénitienne
Cet article est disponible en anglais.
Set in a psychiatric ward – run by Trine Dyrholm herself – Marie Grahtø’s Bergman-infused Psychosia [+lire aussi :
interview : Marie Grahtø
fiche film] sees researcher Viktoria (Lisa Carlehed) come over to help one of the suicidal patients, Jenny (Victoria Carmen Sonne). But it soon becomes apparent that the bond they form might culminate in some unexpected results. The film is screening in the International Film Critics’ Week of the Venice Film Festival.
Cineuropa: Your film feels like a period piece at times, because of the way it’s shot and the costumes, for example. When does it actually take place?
Marie Grahtø: I wanted to create my own time, if that makes any sense. The choice of Victorian-inspired clothes for the lead character came about because that’s when psychoanalysis was born. It’s a historical reference, but I wanted to update it, too, which is why she is also wearing a suit. This film dissolves the whole notion of the outside world, and gender isn’t really a part of the conversation. These characters are played by women who identify as women, but I concentrate on them as human beings. Viktoria, for me, is very androgynous. She is feminine, but also hard to read in that sense. All of these labels don’t matter – only what happens between them is really important. I also tried to have some visual references to other films, like Bergman’s Persona, and the use of the zoom comes straight from the cinema of the 1970s.
Persona certainly comes to mind, with two female faces merging together in one shot. It’s tricky to “quote” other filmmakers, but to pick up something that’s so iconic must have been even harder.
I chose to make such an explicit reference because Persona has been a huge inspiration for me in my life, but also for this film. I was a bit scared to do it, as I have such respect for his work. But I really believe it’s ok to, if you will, say hello to the past. And try to make it your own.
That golden age of psychoanalysis you mentioned is being questioned nowadays – especially when it comes to theories concerning female behaviour. What is your take on it?
This story is fictional, but it’s also based on my own personal experiences with psychosis and hospitalisation, which I endured in my youth. And because I had these experiences, I chose to explore them in order to find out more about myself. There are so many opinions about psychoanalysis, but it was interesting to discover that you could argue it was invented by a woman called Anna O [the pseudonym of a patient of Josef Breuer’s]. She guided him, and together, they discovered “the talking cure”. Freud was very inspired by their collaboration. He came to some problematic conclusions, but still, he was one of the first to show a scientific interest in women’s emotional life and put into words the reasons for women’s suffering. After his death, two of the most prominent figures in the field were Melanie Klein and Anna Freud. Trine’s character is called Anna Klein – I put these two names together, wanting to put psychoanalysis in the context of the female world.
In many films revolving around a similar topic, there is a person who cures and another that’s being cured. Here, it’s not the case – they are both struggling.
I tried to express this very Freudian idea that we all struggle with Ideal versus Desire. My characters represent that, and then I put them together to see what would happen: to see which one would eventually win. I wanted Jenny to be the Desire, to manipulate others or cross boundaries – in this case Viktoria’s. But I also wanted her to embody being a child because one of the problems in their dynamic is that Viktoria can’t embrace this side of herself. She is not able to play. I wanted to show the consequences of that. If we are not able to integrate these two sides of our lives, it can have fatal consequences.
With all of these philosophical questions, it’s still a very physical story. Did you want to make sure the body was always present? The pain it brings but also the pleasures?
Their bodies can’t get close, and yet they are constantly trying. Viktoria has such rigid boundaries, and then she meets Jenny – she is tempted to let go. I wanted to play with the different states of mind that one could experience there, because a psychiatric ward is a non-space. It’s a transit zone. You are not meant to be there for long, and you won’t stay there – you feel like you are in the middle of the universe, where there is no gravity. There are cracks in time, it becomes non-linear, and the laws of physics can change. Everything seems arbitrary, and I wanted to capture that feeling in cinema. We shot in a beautiful building; we lit it so brightly, and it feels almost like a spa sometimes, too good to be true. That’s why I chose the title Psychosia, because for me, it’s a reference to Persona and to Fantasia – we created a fantasy of how it could be. When I was asked about the genre of the film, I invented my own: psychotic realism. Because for someone who is suffering from psychosis, it all feels very real.
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