Friday, March 1, 2024

Isabelle Huppert: “I’m not masochistic like my characters, I only choose what makes me feel good”

Isabelle Huppert: "I'm not masochistic like my characters, I only choose what makes me feel good"

Isabelle Huppert returns to talk about her exciting relationship with Italy while accepting the Lucca Film Festival’s lifetime achievement award and previewing her new effort, a horror film directed by Dario Argento.

Isabelle Huppert: 'I'm not masochistic like my characters, I only choose what makes me feel good'

Very elegant in both the afternoon and evening versions, when she goes on stage in a packed Astra Cinema to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award tributatole dal Lucca Film Festivalseen up close Isabelle Huppert He doesn’t have the austere air of many of his characters, but he often smiles and sticks his tongue out whenever his Italian breaks down. Could it be the air of Lucca that puts you in a good mood? “I was here many years ago while I was filming ‘The Taviani’s Elective Affinities'” remember. “I immediately recognized the walls of this wonderful city. Italy is beauty”. Then he regrets his slightly rusty Italian, not like that of his daughter Lolita, “who studied in Rome and is a real Italian girl”.

Isabelle Huppert Lucca 2023 4

Isabelle Huppert al Lucca Film Festival 2023

After concluding his commitment at the Teatro Argentina with The Glass MenagerieIsabelle Huppert is also in Lucca to accompany the screening of The truth according to Maureen K.a political thriller that denounces the violence suffered by a trade unionist who fights to defend her jobs after bringing to light the French nuclear scandal (here is our review). A highly dramatic film which sees the French diva in yet another excellent acting performance. Consequence of #MeToo and the greater attention on certain issues? Not for Isabelle Huppert who explains: “Fortunately I have always played characters of this type. Cinema has often offered me these types of roles. The fact of telling a true story does not automatically make a film good, but the real Maureen Kearney appreciated it very much”.

From drama to comedy, Huppert the eclectic

Isabelle Huppert Lucca 2023 3

Isabelle Huppert al Lucca Film Festival 2023

Maureen Kearney is a trade unionist for a multinational nuclear company that makes public the secret agreement to sell off the know how French to China. As a result she is attacked in her home and raped, but the police don’t believe her and suspect that she made it all up. “The intriguing aspect of the story is this duplicity” explains Huppert. “Maureen suffers a double punishment: the attack and the suspicion that she made it all up. Cinema is the ideal medium to tell a story of this type, it makes everything even more interesting”.

Isabelle Huppert Lucca 2023 2

Isabelle Huppert al Lucca Film Festival 2023

The French diva denies, however, that she shares this spirit of sacrifice with her character. “I feel a bit like a trade unionist for good cinema, but I’m not a masochist” he exclaims laughing. “I only make choices that make me feel good, I choose interesting roles”. And without a doubt the roles that François Ozon loves to propose to her are interesting, bringing out his comic side, as in the case of the recent Mon Crime – I’m the guilty one: “Ozon had already written the character before proposing it to me, but he often sees me like this and always offers me completely crazy roles as in the case of 8 Women and a Mystery”.

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After Michele Placido a horror film with Dario Argento

The Syndicalist

The trade unionist: Isabelle Huppert in a film scene

In addition to The Truth According to Maureen K., two other works by Isabelle Huppert are scheduled in Lucca, Elle e The pianistboth acclaimed films that made money for the actress numerous international awards including an Oscar nomination. But what the two films have in common is courage and the ability to take risks. “Michael Haneke and Paul Verhoeven are two great directors and their films walk on a thin line. The bet was won, but we could also have lost. They are two touching characters, who try to survive and express their femininity in extreme conditions”.

The Syndicalist

The truth according to Maureen K.: an image of Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert has never hidden her fascination for Italian cinema which, after Taviani, Bolognini and Bellocchio, recently led her to collaborate with Michele Placido in L’ombra di Caravaggio, an experience she speaks of in very positive terms: “I had already collaborated with the actor Placido in Stories of Women, directed by Benoit Jacquot, in 1981, but this time it was different. Dedicating a film to Caravaggio is an excellent idea, he is such a controversial character, an artist, but also a criminal “. The film sees Huppert star alongside her daughter Lolita Chammah, “a wonderful actress, after all she is my daughter” she exclaims, laughing. “Unfortunately we didn’t have any scenes together”. Regarding possible comparisons, he glosses over and clarifies: “My daughter has her own personality”.
After Placido, for Isabelle Huppert there will still be Italy. The diva is preparing to star in new horror by Dario Argentoa project ready for some time, but postponed due to a bad fall that caused the director to break his femur. “Dario Argento is a great director, Paris recently dedicated an impressive retrospective to him” esclama Isabelle Huppert. “I’m very happy to make this film with him, he’s such a strange and original director, but for the moment I can’t say anything more.”