The leading actress of «The Five Devils» after the controversy nine years ago for «The life of Adele» which earned her the Palme d’Or at just nineteen
“But did the fundamentalist Catholics in Italy really protest?” Adèle Exarchopoulos returns to where it all began. Here it is again, in The Five Devils by Léa Mysius, at the crossroads of a love between women. The ghost of Adele ‘s life is still in Cannes. After nine years, Kechiche’s film on the same-sex love story between Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos is still being talked about. A masterpiece that earned the two actresses (unique case) the Palme d’Or (Adèle was 19 years old), shared with director Kechiche. There was a queue of endless controversies, and Léa’s j’accuse against Kechiche: “He was manipulative and the filming was hard, oppressive to the point of exhaustion”. He pushed the two then-unknown young actresses beyond their limits. Lèa no longer wanted to make films with two women who love each other. Adéle (daughter of a guitar teacher and a nurse, pop and sophisticated, testimonial of luxury brands) has a doe-like face, defenseless and ardent, which pierces the screen. Here, at the Quinzaine, you are in a “fantasy drama” about a multi-ethnic family. Adèle (Joanne in the film) has a daughter by a black firefighter; but she had been with Julia in the past, she was her sister. The film is seen through the eyes of her daughter, Vicky, the afro girl with the face of Sally Dramé. She has magical powers that bring back memories of her parents.
«Vicky is a strange and lonely child with the magical gift of recognizing the smells of the people she collects in labeled jars. She so she goes into kind of a trance and she has visions of things that happened before she was born. She is the fruit of love between two women, who could not conceive her biologically, and Julia’s brother, the father of the little girl, enters her story. I like it because it’s an intimate and fantastic story, and because the blended family in French cinema is not often seen. I am a swimming instructor and former model in a remote village in the French Alps. A wretch suspended in a kind of anesthesia, like my man. She is very far away from me ».
There is the paranormal, it is a time travel between past and present.
«Yes, my role goes from 17 to 30 years old. The magic coté is universal. Vicky reproducing Julia’s smell lands in a dark world of archaic memories that lead her to the secrets of her family and her existence. Léa’s inspiration came from Jonathan Franzen and other American writers. She wanted something primitive and sensory. It’s a kind of intimate saga that has to do with the invisible. But the film, as the director says, in France where Marine Le Pen’s right is the second party, is political, even if for me everything is political. Among the great mountains that surround the village as if claustrophobic, we see immigrants and women who want to emancipate themselves, racism, homophobia, bullying that affects Vicky. Whether becoming a mother helped me? I don’t know, it’s easy to empathize with children.”
Remember your first time in Cannes?
«There and then, at the awards ceremony, she didn’t even realize that with Léa she had won, not as best actress but the Golden Palm, the first time in the history of the festival. After there was a party, I got into the car, in excitement La Palma fell and I broke the pedestal. Now it’s at my parents’ house. But I love the story of that film more than the award. Before, at the beginning, I had given up, with no money I sold sandwiches for 8 euros an hour in a sports palace. Those who recognized me believed it wasn’t me. Then came Kechiche».
But what is your opinion of the controversies related to the scandalous film?
“Kechiche is not the victim he would like to be, and he is not the tyrant we believe. In that hubbub you can’t think, at the time there was always someone ready to reproach me about what I could say or do. Actresses don’t always have the right to speak».
Who is Adèle outside the cinema?
«I love my job, I would like to work for Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Scorsese, Almodovar, Farhadi. I say this because, sooner or later, the question about dreams comes… I don’t want to get bored and bored. They always offer me dramas, French cinema is like that, even if I also have a small participation in a comedy at Cannes. Half of my friends have nothing to do with cinema, they like to come here, they sleep in my suite, they marvel at the stars they can meet and they eat a 40 euro club sandwich offered by the film’s production when they are hungry».
May 24, 2022 (change May 24, 2022 | 16:02)
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