Main role of the new film by Belgian director Frédéric Sojcher, Agnès Jaoui plays Noémie, guest screenwriter in a film school directed by Vincent (Jonathan Zaccaï), her first love of youth. The actress took the time to answer our questions after 15 days of filming.
Do you find yourself in the character of Noémie that you play in “The Course of Life”?
It’s true that it’s special because I play the role of a screenwriter who gives screenwriting lessons. I’m a screenwriter, I’ve already given screenwriting lessons or, in any case, interventions like that, so it’s strange. Alain Layrac wrote the text but there were certain passages where I wanted to express myself, or passages where I did not understand so Alain Layrac and the director Frédéric Sojcher were kind enough to let me offer them what I wanted to offer them. So the character of Noémie is not me at all and then there are things about me, it’s quite strange and quite particular. We are in a game of mirrors. It’s a tribute to the story and how to tell a story, and with another narrative behind the whole course, and that’s covered too. So it’s funny!
Another theme runs through the film …
Yes, that of transmission, it is the other chose that I adore in this film, on how to tell stories and what a story is, a tribute to the screenwriters who, in French culture, have not always had the best place. And then what I also love about this adventure is that it is former students and teachers of ENSAV who arrived. The founder of the school, Guy Chapouillié, even came! And then young students participate so it’s all super happy. And one of them said to me “It’s great because at the same time I have a scriptwriting course, whereas it has been a long time since I had one. “Former teachers are super protective and at the same time trainers, and young people receive 3000%.
The film has a small budget so the presence of actresses like you and Géraldine Nakache and actors like Jonathan Zaccaï and Stéphane Hemon is it a cinematographic commitment?
We do a profession of passion anyway, that’s what I love above all. On likes to play, on likes stories, on likes adventures. So there, in addition, I met Frédéric Sojcher, Alain Layrac, as I met the team I was certified in my commitment which was there anyway. But it is a question, again, of weight, of passion and of believing in it. And sometimes we make a mistake and sometimes we say to ourselves I was so right because yes the money is necessary but it is not the whole one knows it. The whole point is to be happy in what we do when we do it.
You mention it, the director obviously leaves a certain freedom of play to the actors …
Yes I think he likes accidents, improvisations in life so from time to time he lets us do it. There was even a class scene in which a somewhat anti-feminist student intervenes on the subject of feminism. I wasn’t warned, and that’s fine, so I reacted the way I react in life. And Frédéric shot that and it was very good! And then it is also true that each time I make an intervention, it is the subject which makes the pupils react. This is really where everyone gets involved, wants to answer, to speak, to give their point of view because it is a change of society which is enormous! I have always been a feminist but for a long time when I talk about that I felt that it was a flop because people considered, woman and man, young girl as young man, that it was settled, that now there was the pill. there was this that and therefore I was doing a sort of rearguard combat. So it is fascinating this moment when nobody looks at films in the same way and in particular heritage films where all of a sudden I remember talking about Jean Renoir’s “Party in the countryside” (1946) which is here. one of my favorite movies and one of my students says “Yes, but still it’s rape!” »I saw her again not long ago and she is right! But still, it is complex.
Does this mean that a generational awareness is underway?
Completely ! It finally rocks. It does not prevent contradictions but there is really an awareness which is quite fantastic. It’s a kind of integrated complex and there is nothing worse because it is very hard to fight. When it’s someone who is frankly … I don’t know, well we can discuss, we can try to convince, I’m not saying that we get there but at least we know what to fight against, when it is completely integrated and people don’t see the problem, it’s more complicated.
Politically, is the situation similar in your opinion?
She is not dead the filthy beast. It is hopeless. There are answers as always, there are like two solutions one would say to the harshness of the world, to the end of the world announced and with the pandemic in addition, it is either to go towards the other, to maintain an optimism or in Anyway, something constructive to change things, either panic and withdraw and say it was better before and change nothing, that’s what kills me! Because it’s fascinating to see that all the dictators are those who don’t believe in global warming, who don’t believe in the benefits of vaccination, well it’s startling… In fact I think we are back in a while of belief, that means that we believe or that we do not believe. I believe that the vaccine is useless oh well I think it is useful for something, I believe that the Covid is invented … and we tell them no, but these are facts but they answer “No but I believe that… ”Beliefs are the same and we cannot discuss them.
Since you were very young you wanted to do this job, have you fulfilled all your dreams today?
Oh no, fortunately there are plenty of them left! (laughs) In the end nothing is ever achieved. And first of all I still like it just as much, in addition I do such diverse things, I am not bored, I do not follow the shootings, I do not follow the concerts, I go from one to the next. ‘other, I want it to be always new in fact, that’s what I like and there are lots of ways of doing things and there are lots of other dreams in fact, it’s not finished !
By evoking the distinctions received (1) you said recently that, in your profession “the most satisfying is when I have the impression of giving back what I have received …”
It’s true that when you’re unhappy, for whatever reason, you have a very strong feeling of loneliness and it’s very hard, I think it adds terribly to the pain. I think that when we can share it or when we can see a film or read, to be accompanied in our pain in fact, we feel less alone and it is capital. And I, when I was very young, I remember being saved or consoled by the readings of Jane Austen, by listening to Barbara… I always have the impression of writing for this very young girl who was so lost with her loneliness or her discovery people so yes it touches me when I have the impression that young girls, in particular, come to tell me that they are beaten.
After this shoot, what will be your news?
I am going to put together episodes of “In Therapy” since I have directed episodes, I have one day of filming left as an actress because I also have a small role in it, and to work on the editing because I have it. left in plan to be here.
What a success for this series!
Yes !! It is very special as an adventure and very interesting! (laughs) And the team is also great so that matters a lot, it’s even essential! They are always films or series of screenwriters but obviously there it is even more visible, and there also of actors! (laughs)