The Seattle International Film Festival has been a fun ride, but it is time to wrap up… until next year.
Before I hang up my movie critic hat, I would like to tell you about one last film.
What a delightful, heart-warming movie Low Profile is. The director is Cécilia Rouaud.
A modern romantic comedy, a “Rom-Com” as they say. But one that works.
First, a stellar cast, who clearly enjoyed themselves. Great chemistry between the lead actors, the beautiful and irresistible Vanessa Paradis, (award-winning actress, singer, model, French icon,) and the ruggedly handsome Denis Ménochet (you may remember Ménochet as the French farmer facing an impossible choice in the introductory scene of Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds.) Excellent supporting roles, Léa Drucker, Laurent Capelluto, and the adorable David Carvalho-Jorge, a little boy you won’t soon forget.
|Emmanuelle (Vanessa Paradis) meets Yvan (Denis Ménochet)|
|Leo (David Carvalho-Jorge,) the young boy who will teach Yvan how to become a father.|
Second, the touching, believable story of a modern family. A divorce. A broken heart. Challenging teenagers. A young child who will change the family’s lives forever. A complicated, surly, immature leading man who will learn to trust and love again. The adorable, klutzy, luminous young woman who enters his life at the worst possible time. A neurotic but loving sister and her supportive husband. Paris. The breathtaking Brittany coast.
|“Non smokers” Arianne (Léa Drucker,) and Emmanuelle (Vanessa Paradis) meet…|
Finally, a great story, written and directed by talented Cécilia Rouaud. This was her first movie, but she is no beginner. Cécilia has worked in the film industry for over ten years with more established directors, as second or first assistant. She learned her trade in the field.
|Cécilia Rouaud (left) with her lead actors, 2012|
Even though the movie came out in France last summer (with excellent reviews but a disappointing box office due to a limited distribution,) she came to Seattle last weekend to present Low Profile, because, she says: “That is why we make films; to meet and touch people.”
I was lucky enough to meet her privately after the projection and she answered a few questions for this budding movie critic. The conversation was en français, but I will try and do it justice.
Cécilia Rouaud –
Interview – by French Girl in Seattle
Sunday, June 9, Seattle, WA.
French Girl in Seattle:
Cécilia, bonjour. A central theme in your movie seems to be family; but a modern version of the family. People splitting up; starting new lives; children being torn apart; families brought together. This could have been a pretty depressing story.
I came from a stable family background. I always took it for granted. But one day, I had a child, and his father left me. A few years later, I met another man, who was already a father. We fell in love. Today, we are a family, and I love his child like my own. The message in the movie is that we can choose whom we love. We can choose our family. At first, when a family splits up, there is pain, and it appears to be a disaster. But down the road, it is also an opportunity, if you work at it. It can make your life richer. And that is what you see in the movie. Some good things can come out of difficult, painful situations. In that sense, the message is optimistic, I think.
The movie is also a romantic comedy, but not a traditional one. Many “Rom-Coms” fail. Yours does not. Why?
Merci. I tried to stay away from clichés. The story had to ring true. It had to be believable. My characters are messed up, but they are credible, I think. Vanessa, Denis, or Léa are established actors, yet they immediately came on board when I contacted them. They were very enthusiastic about the project, and loved working together. It shows on the screen. They were my characters, right from the start, and they were able to express the characters’ humanity and make us relate to them.
This was your first movie. You wrote and directed it. But you have been in the business for years. How challenging was it to direct those established actors?
Directing is finding a way to talk to different people. My actors all work differently. Vanessa [Paradis] occasionally asked me to demonstrate a scene for her. Then she gave it a try… and ended up being much better at it than I
[ed: she laughs.] Denis [Ménochet] always wanted to know every single detail about the character; what he thought; how he liked his coffee… Léa [Drucker] is a technician. All she needs is a word, (“slowly...”) and she gets it. For the child, because he was so young, I mostly wanted to avoid the mechanical recitation of the lines. So I gave no explanations to him; just brief directions: “Look to the right.” “Say these words…” – His face is so expressive. He was a natural.
Low Profile came out a year ago. How does it feel to be here and still talk about the movie? I assume you are already working on your next project? Can you talk about it or is it still confidential?
Low Profile is like my grown up child, who has moved out of the house already, but the movie was very important to me, obviously, as my first big project. I hope we find a distributor in the United States. I am not sure we have yet.
I am currently working on my next film. We have a cast lined up, and would like to start shooting at the beginning of next year. The producer still has to find the financing. It’s always about the money. “Le nerf de la guerre.” The lifeblood of movies.
The new movie is about families too. I think of it as a comedy, but people have told me they find the plot rather depressing [ed: She laughs.] A grandmother is about to die and asks her grandchildren (who do not get along) to take her to her final resting place. Vanessa Paradis and Denis Ménochet will return. [ed: established actor and director] Jean-Pierre Bacri, and Cécile Sallette will also join the cast.
The movie shows how family can destroy you or ultimately, save you. And how one must always remember where one came from.
I wish you the best of luck, Cécilia, and hope you find the financing for your project quickly. Maybe we will meet again here next year, or the following, to celebrate your new movie. Have you enjoyed your visit to Seattle?
Merci. I hope so too. This has been a short, but fun visit. Great city. I was amazed at how enthusiastic American audiences are, compared to the French public. They are not afraid to laugh (or cry,) while they are watching the movie… It is a great feeling for a director to see her audience so wrapped up in the story.
Merci, Seattle International Film Festival for showcasing American and international talent, once again.
Merci, Ryan E. for your encouragement and support.
|A bientôt, Cécilia. Bonne chance!|
Je me suis fait tout petit
Seattle readers of French Girl in Seattle:
Populaire, reviewed here a few days ago, will be playing once again on Friday June 14 at 7:00pm at the SIFF Cinema Uptown. Don’t miss it!
Sad to see this series come to it’s end. I’ve added this one to our list. Thanks for all these great reviews. This is going to make summer movie watching a lot more fun! ‘-)
Thank you for following this budding movie critic, Sarah 🙂 I hope you can get your hands on most of these over the next few months…
Veronique, this movie sounds so wonderful! It is so thrilling to hear your take and that you interviewed Cecilia!
Art by Karena
Giveaway from Splendid Sass
Merci Karen. The interviewing part was almost as much fun as watching the movie!
Fabulous interview! I may head into Paris and see the movie. 🙂 And I just loved the “non smoker” scene….
Bonjour Victoria. The only way you can catch the movie in France is on dvd (maybe) or on TV. It came out last summer… The “non smoking” scene was hilarious indeed. None of the character smokes, but they decide to “grill one” during their heart-to-heart chat 🙂
Bonjour ma chère amie,
Je suis heureuse de te lire et ce reportage est sensationnelle. Ce film que je n’ai pas encore vu mérite qu’il le soit… Un très certainement bon moment à passer et une autre leçon de vie.
Je te fais de gros bisous.
Bonjour Martine. Comment ça va? Une excellente leçon de vie en effet. Sous des allures de comédie, c’est un film avec un fond sèrieux, dont j’ai bien aimé le message. A bientôt et bisous à Leo le Toucan!
YOU ROCK. The French rock….comment dit-on ça…..VOUS TOUS, VOUS ÊTES FORMIDABLE? (or the more colloquial, vous êtes terrible? Somehow that seems difficult to accept!)
How I love a French film; there is always a twist, always a fresh way to see the usual, and with stellar actors, how can anyone go wrong, unless one is opposed to subtitles! I am so happy that I know the language so I can hear and feel all the nuances and enjoy the art of it all! Merci for the introduction to a new movie for me! Anita
Merci Anita. Formidable it is (but the English expression sounds better 🙂
I am betting you would really enjoy this movie. I am really hoping they find a distributor for the US market so everyone can catch it this summer or fall. Thank you for stopping by.
I would really enjoy this movie..certain of it:)
I think you are right, Nana. Three out of the four movies I reviewed could be considered comedies. This was my favorite one.
It looks brilliant Veronique – on my list now.
And aren’t you the professional journalist/interviewer? I’m VERY impressed! A new career awaits.
Maybe so, Craig, maybe so… 🙂 Thank you for the vote of confidence!
Thanks for the review and for sharing your interview with Cécilia. I hope I get to see it. Has it been released on DVD? Just got back from Provence last night so I will have to go back and read your earlier reviews so I don’t miss any good movies.
Bonjour Michel, and welcome back to this side of the pond.
I do not think the movie has found a distributor yet in the US, so no dvd so far, and “c’est dommage,” as the French say…
Looks wonderful What a great review Vanessa is quite a class act indeed Will have to see when it is available on DVD here in the USA. Thanx for the information
NYC Style and a little Cannoli
You’re welcome Rosemary. No news about a dvd yet. Wait and see…
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your little series and your stint as a movie critic. It’s wonderful to have been introduced to some films which might otherwise have passed me by and I would be happy to spend an evening watching this rom-com too. What an opportunity and an honour to have interviewed Cécilia – the ‘icing on the cake’ at the end of the Festival. My task now is to be able to watch these in the UK!
Bienvenue, miss b. Thank you for the vote of confidence! I did have fun for a couple of weeks and will be looking forward to writing a few more reviews next year. I need to do more interviews. It is not as easy as it seems 🙂 A bientôt.
Chere Veronique, what a terrific interview with this talented woman, and the film is one I know I would love. I truly hope they find their way in the States.
I have missed your series, but would love to backtrack to read more!
Enjoy your weekend!!
Please do backtrack… and let me know if you are able to find any of the movies in DVD…
I wish I could catch yr movies in Paris but when they are gone, they’re gone unless an all-time classic..
I know what you mean. By the time these movies found their way to Seattle, they were already on the dvd market in France, probably. Dommage… but maybe you can still find them!