Aurélie Saada: from Brigitte to Rose

The singer makes a great debut as a director with the portrait of a septuagenarian reconstructing her life admirably camped by Françoise Fabian. Meeting with an enthusiast

Before your career as a singer, you had attended the Cours Florent Class Libre and belonged to the Les Quiche collective (notably with the director Benoît Pétré and the actress Isabelle Vitari), author of the feature film Foon. Have you had in mind to make a feature film for a long time?

Aurélie Saada: Stories germinate for a long time. When I write, I necessarily mean things that obsess me. And I am obsessed with the plurality of the feminine, by intimate revolutions, by the paths of women. When I was 30, the father of my children with whom I had lived for years left me to go live on the other side of the world. I find myself alone with our two little daughters and I believe that I am not able to live without him. I don’t think I’ll ever be happy without him. And I even have the feeling that I am already old. And then, life offers me a revolution. I begin to write. I do Brigitte with Sylvie Hoarau. And I discover an unsuspected strength in me. And then, 5 years ago, I organized a dinner at home with, in particular, the last grandmother in my family. And at this same table that I like warm, noisy with many guests, there is also Marceline Loridan-Ivens, a Holocaust survivor close to Simone Veil, an incredible woman whose books you must read. And there I see my grandmother completely hypnotized by her vitality. I see her have rosy cheeks. I see her drinking vodka. And I think to myself that maybe she is realizing at this precise moment that her life is not over, that she is not just a mother, a grandmother and a widow. That she still has the right to enjoy her body and her desire. It echoes what I might have been feeling some time earlier. And this is how the adventure of Pink begin. It was important for me to put myself in the shoes of an 80-year-old woman because the body of a woman of this age and their desire are very invisible while aging is the path we all take. So I made this movie for my grandmother, for me and for my daughters

How does this idea turn into a movie?

I know straight away that this story will be a movie. However, I had never wanted to be a film director. So it’s not the function itself that made me want it, but a story. It’s only the stories that interest me. Afterwards, I choose the form to tell them: a text, a song, a film… And this subject was such a strong desire that I never doubted that I was going to make this film. At no moment. I knew it was going to be a fight. But beat me that don’t scare me

You wrote Pink with Yaël Langmann. What kind of collaboration have you both had?

I call her my midwife! (laughs) So much she helped me to give birth to this story, to go as far as possible. Yaël knows my world well and for Rose, that was essential. We discussed, we remade the world then we wrote. This ping-pong was essential in particular to tend towards the greatest possible naturalness in the dialogues. So that on the screen we have the impression that the characters speak without thinking as in life. Besides, I always repeated it to my actors: “don’t take time! Because if your characters thought, they would say something other than what they say. “


What is the specificity of cinematographic writing compared to that of songs in your eyes?

With me, it starts from the same framework: authenticity. I can only write about things that I know very well. I am looking for intimate things. I often think of this sentence from New Hollywood where Martin Scorsese’s script teacher tells his students: “Don’t be too tempted to make movies with guns. Tell your life story even if it seems trivial to you, it will always be more interesting than if you borrow the stories of others ”. After obviously writing a song or a movie is technically different. But what is important is the core.

When do you think of Françoise Fabian to play Rose?

I only started to think about casting when the script was finished. I wanted to find someone who looks like my family. And I saw only one actress who had in her the gluttony, the freedom, the drive for life, the joy and the despair, the silence and the noise of Rose while having the Orient in her because she was born in Algeria and lived there until she was 18: Françoise Fabian. So I sent her the script and then I went to meet her. There, it was obvious to me. So when she said to me “promise me not to give this role to another actress than me.” Rose it’s me. I am no longer offered characters like that; Women of this age who live something other than being grandmothers ”, I was in heaven. And she is right. We never show the relationship to the desire of these women or we make fun of it in comedies.

It was at the same time that the idea Pascal Elbé to play the role of the new love of Rose was imposed?

It was Françoise who suggested her name to me. A brilliant idea. I did not know him. I sent him the script and he was very touched. I know he had it read to his mother who told him that he absolutely had to play this role, that it was important that he do it.

How did you work with your cinematographer Martin de Chabaneix to create the visual ambiance of Pink ?

I told him what I wanted: something immersive but soft, with a camera on the shoulder that takes us on board to film details, to see the time passing on skins

Have you talked about films?

Yes, the Italian and Italian-American cinema of the 70s. These films with silence in the noise where it is often a question of large families.

How did you feel on this set?

Really in my place! The shoot was a really happy moment. There are just more interlocutors than in the clips I made and where I also took care of the decor, the costumes… So I asked people upstream. They explained to me that they would show me the finished decor, but I wanted to see it beforehand to choose everything. Ditto for the costumes! And then there were these very symbolic moments for me, scenes at the table. I am surrounded only by close people: my family, my dear friends like Pénélope Bagieu, Adèle Van Reeth, Nicolas Ullmann who put me back to music a few years ago when I thought I was not capable. to do. It’s my sister who cooked everything that is eaten on the screen. It was cool to have real food! I will never forget those moments.

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