Lunch with Matriochkas
What were you looking for in the toxic relationship between an immature mother and a young girl with no bearings?
I wanted to talk about motherhood and mothers in the way that I see them so often around me: not necessarily as symbols or figures, but as humans, human beings who clumsily do the best they can. I get the feeling you don’t transform into a mother the moment you have a child; you decide – or not – to become one, learning as you go. In the film, Anna’s mother refuses this role, but she still deeply loves her daughter. Anna decides not to make the same choice her mother did at her age, but she knows her mother will see that as a betrayal, as a judgement on her own actions. I wanted to talk about the allies that you find in so-called “women’s” struggles. In this case, Nelson, who could have been an adversary and predator. I was interested in their unexpected intimate relationship.
How did you work with the two lead actresses?
I auditioned many young girls for the role of Anna before I met Héloïse, who had never acted before – it was her first audition. But her instincts are very strong and she has a fascinating, keen sense for acting. At the writing stage, I already had Victoire in mind, even though I didn’t know her personally and the character of Rebecca is quite a stretch from what she seems like in real life. I think the challenge sparked her interest. And having the two work together was such a blast. I like to use the first takes, so we didn’t rehearse a lot, but I also like to direct with different emphases so that I have a range of possibilities during editing. And they offered many.
Which films did you draw from?
The films of Maïwenn, Kechiche, Pialat, films that let the actors live and breathe. I’m moved by the characters. I know that as a viewer, that’s what moves me the most, so I try to transpose that priority into my own films.
This is your third short film (after Le Sommeil des Amazones, in 2015 and Les Corps Purs, in 2017). What are your future plans?
I’m writing my first feature film, in between filming the projects that I’m working on as an actress.
Have you discovered any advantages that the short film form offers?
For me, short films have been a fabulous way to experiment. I learned to direct through them since I come from an acting background and am self taught. They allowed me to establish my tastes in terms of narrative, images, editing, meeting the team that I hope to work with for a long time. And through my short film, Les Corps Purs, I learned how to work both in front of and behind the camera, which brought with it a certain amount of risk and experimentation that only a short film could have afforded me.