A story of love and regrets, a poignant melodrama that marks a total change in Stéphane Brizé’s cinema. Hors saison is presented today in competition at the Venice Film Festival. We talked about it with the protagonist, Alba Rohrwacher.
She arrives almost unnoticed, discreet and with the usual combination of shyness and curiosity in her eyes. Alba Rohrwacher met some Italian journalists to talk about his film as the protagonist of this Venice 80, which is a French film, Out of seasonis directed by an excellent director like Stéphane Brizé, but faces emotional and geographical territories unusual for him, those of the purest and most poignant melodrama. He therefore distances himself from the themes of work recounted in the social trilogy (The law of the market, At war e Another world) which made him establish himself between Cannes and Venice as one of the authors of European cinema.
The story is that of Mathieu (Guillaume Canet), who lives in Paris and of Alice (Alba Rohrwacher), at home in a small seaside town in western France. He is a famous actor who is about to turn fifty. She is a piano teacher in her forties. They were in love fifteen years ago and then they broke up. Has been a long time. Everyone went his way and slowly they healed. When Mathieu goes to a spa to try to overcome his melancholy, he runs into Alice. Out of season, against the backdrop of a darkened sea and a strong wind.
“My biggest concern was French, but that wasn’t a problem for him,” says Alba Rohrwacher, pointing to the director next to her. In reality, with great humility she underwent tests to verify that her knowledge of the language was up to the requirements, with a day of total immersion of the two, in Rome, in the splendid setting of the French Embassy in Palazzo Farnese. “The script involved me a lot, I felt in touch with what it described, not only with the character of Alice, but with everyone. I remember that reading it, while returning from Paris after meeting Stéphane, made me cry and laugh at the same time. A powerful script, therefore, then I met a great director, with a very precise vision of what he was telling. Which rarely happens in my profession. I entrusted myself totally in his hands. I’m always afraid, but this time I didn’t have it and the boundaries between me and my character blurred, in a creative process of total harmony. A simple search for the truth, without frills or tricks. Exactly what I look for in my work and rarely encounter. It’s a miracle that he was looking for the same thing, a gift from life.”
The actor, with his fragility, is another theme of queso Out of season. As Rohrwacher said, “It’s clear that it tells the dichotomy that actors often experience, who show one face and hide another. An exasperated mask, in the case of Guillaume’s character, who feels he has a huge problem, when then his wife reminds her on the phone that it’s not that serious. But for him it is like this, as for any actor, but also a person who takes his job seriously. Then it would take the irony to look at oneself and tell oneself that it is a small misery. Alice has the audacity of her to have at some point in her life created a small, tender happy island, which she clung to with strength, only to then put everything in danger. It is a feeling that moves me and somewhere I also recognize it”.
To our question about working with Guillaume Canet, so he replied, “He is a generous actor and a kind soul. We went on an inner journey and within the characters, under Stéphane’s watchful eye, with his patience. I saw the film again yesterday and it was heartbreaking to see his character portrayed, for the grace with which he faces this internal conflict that is so enormous for him and almost silly for others. There was a rare creative harmony.”