The work of French filmmaker Arnaud Desplechin is honored this year at Cinémania. In addition to organizing a discussion between him and Quebec director Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, next Thursday at the Inis, the festival will present four of his films, including his most recent, Brother and Sister, which brings together on screen Marion Cotillard and Melvil Poupaud.
Presented in competition at the last Cannes Film Festival, Brother and Sister is a continuation of A Christmas Tale, his 2008 film in which Desplechin explored the complex and strained relationships between family members, the Vuillards, during Christmas.
With Brother and Sister >, the 62-year-old filmmaker offers a new variation on family rancor by directing Alice (Marion Cotillard), an actress in her early fifties, who has hated her brother, Louis (Melvil Poupaud), for more than 20 year. The death of their parents will force them to reconnect.
“The family is a small theater where we love each other, but always with awkwardness”, observes Arnaud Desplechin in an interview granted to Journal by videoconference.
“I loved doing A Christmas Story, but it was a film that went all over the place. This time, I wanted to make a film that would focus on a single question. This question is hate. And since hate is a waste of time, the idea was to end it. I wanted the character of Alice to be free of that at the end of the film. So I made the film obsessed with this question. I asked Marion [Cotillard] to release the character in her interpretation. I wanted her to be free at the end of the film.”
Marion Cotillard is the first actress Desplechin thought of after have completed writing the screenplay for Brother and Sister. The filmmaker had already directed the actress a few years earlier, in his film The Ghosts of Ishmael.
“The day I finished the script, I wondered why I was making the film. I realized that I was doing it for the character of Alice. And what is the actress, in France, that I am madly following, whatever she does? It's Marion. She has this ability to save everything she touches. This is the magic of Marion. The same evening, when I finished the script, I sent it to Marion. She called me back at one o'clock in the morning and the matter was settled.”
In addition to Brother and Sister, Cinémania will present A Christmas Tale (2008) and Kings and Queen (2003), two of Desplechin's best-known feature films. The film Deception, an adaptation of Philip Roth's novel that the filmmaker shot before Brother and Sister, will also be screened during the festival.
< strong>The films Brother and Sister and Deception hit theaters November 11.