The actress presented Alice Winocour’s film at the Cannes Film Festival this weekend. She told us how she prepared to play an attack survivor.
- Fabio. Dell’Anna, Cannes
On the roof of a hotel in Cannes, Virginie Efira arrives at 11am sharp this Sunday, May 22nd. Smiling, wearing black shorts and a royal blue blouse, she continues interviews with the international media. Sometimes in English, sometimes in Italian and of course in French.
The actress just introduced Eve the film “Revoir Paris” by Alice Winocour. A feature film that traces the healing of victims who survived an attack. “My brother was in the Bataclan and got away with it. I wanted to tell the story of someone who not only wanted to survive but to live. Show the connections between multiple worlds that would otherwise never have met,” said the director while previewing the film, which is set to hit theaters on September 7, 2022.
The 45-year-old Belgian plays Mia, a Russian translator whose life is turned upside down after an attack in a Parisian restaurant. Three months after the tragedy, she returns to Paris to pick up the pieces and remember that tragic evening she has forgotten all about. Meet.
What memories do you have of this November 13, 2015?
Everyone remembers this day. I can tell where I was, who I was with, how the events were told and how heartbreaking it was. I also remember feeling like we don’t necessarily see things that way after this tragedy.
How did you prepare for this role?
I went to a person who helps people who have suffered similar trauma. There are different stages of trauma. There is someone like me who hears that it can happen and there are the victims who experienced the tragedy on the spot. After that, several levels of shock follow. It all depends on what threat you faced and what you saw. For my role I had to understand what this form of dissociation is that you can have with yourself. The idea that you don’t really belong in the world anymore. I have also studied the workings of traumatic memory. I relied on experience reports and my perception.
Did you meet victims?
No None. There are many good radio shows and documentaries. The psychiatrist I told you about was really helpful. Since the director really lived this story, I wanted it to be carried by her story. The film is very intimate and not generalized or historical. It’s a personal break.
We also find this theme in the series “In Therapy” or in the films “Amanda” and “November”. Is it important for fiction to deal with this type of subject?
For sure. Movies can explain the world to you through emotions. It has always amazed me that French cinema no longer takes up the subject. Compared to the British, they have no problem dealing with political, social and historical issues. There is a real need. The fact that this feature film responds to a missing theme in the seventh art in France makes this project even more beautiful. It’s almost humble and needed to be told. I have no recollection of a film that leaves room for a person who has experienced an attack in this way.
The scene of the attack is very intense in the film. Was she that strong for you on set?
Apparently. First, because we bring up emotions to believe in them. It also has some realism with real sounds of Kalashnikovs. Some extras said, “It’s like we’re there.” I quickly told them no. We weren’t there. Immediately after that there is one gastronomy and we can eat something. It has nothing to do with living it.
What was the idea behind the character’s appearance, who often travels with a leather jacket and his motorbike?
It’s supposed to give some kind of strength to the character. His vulnerability becomes apparent in relation to the events. Alice Winocour didn’t want anyone to feel sorry for themselves. She imagined a solid person. Obviously he’s a victim, but he’s got some kind of shell. The motorbike also allows you to see Paris in a different way. It’s a matter of aesthetics.
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