Once again, the Cannes Film Festival belongs to Léa Seydoux.
The French actress has already won a Palme d’Or at the festival for 2013’s “La vie d’Adèle” (“Adèle’s Life”), which made her and Adèle Exarchopoulos the first actresses to take home the top prize. of Cannes, which they shared with the director Abdellatif Kechiche.
Last year, he had four films at the festival but was unable to attend any of the premieres because he contracted COVID-19. But this year, Seydoux delivers two of the best performances of her career in a pair of films at Cannes: Mia Hansen-Love’s “One Fine Morning” and David Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future.” Together, they only reinforce the idea that Seydoux is the best French actress of her generation.
On a recent afternoon a few blocks from the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, Seydoux cheerfully greeted a reporter. How was she? “Great!” she replied. “Shouldn’t she be great?”
Seydoux, 36, has already made a major mark on Hollywood, most notably by taking on the once-stereotypical “Bond Girl” role and expanding the character into a “Bond Woman,” which she redefined in several films, adding a new dimension of depth to the franchise. Seydoux was so good that even James Bond wanted to settle down with her.
But this year’s Cannes has made it clear that Hollywood was just one stop among many in Seydoux’s rapidly evolving and exceptionally varied career, who has managed to be one of Europe’s most famous faces while still exuding an uncanny melancholy in the film. screen. She is omnipresent and elusive at the same time.
“I carry a sadness,” says Seydoux, tracing the feeling back to a shy childhood. “Cinema for me is something playful. It is a real consolation because, in a way, I transformed my sadness into an object of beauty. Or I tried, either way. It’s not like it always works.”
“If I didn’t have the cinema I would be very sad,” he added. “That’s why I work all the time, it’s a way of being connected.”
In “One Fine Morning,” one of Cannes’ standout films, Seydoux plays a young widow raising a daughter in Paris while caring for her elderly father, whose memory is fading. After reconnecting with an old friend, a passionate affair ensues. “One Fine Morning,” a semi-autobiographical film that Hansen-Love wrote shortly after her own father died of COVID-19, navigates the irreconcilable coexistence of grief and love, death and rebirth, and problematic transience. . Hansen-Love, the filmmaker of “Bergman Island” wrote it with Seydoux in mind.
“She’s maybe my favorite actress of this generation,” Hansen-Love explained. “She’s enigmatic in a way that very few actresses are. She doesn’t try to show things, she’s not affected”.
“There is a certain sadness and melancholy about her that contrasts with her status as a superstar that moves me,” added the writer-director. “She On the one hand she is a very glamorous figure in the movie landscape. She is very sexy. She’s in movies where she’s seen from a masculine point of view, fantasy, and she enjoys that a lot, I think. But there is an innocence and simplicity about her that gives me the same feeling when I film unknown actors.”
Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film for U.S. distribution Monday, citing it as “Seydoux’s best performance to date.”
Prior to this time, Seydoux had experienced some of the worst aspects of the film industry. In 2017, she said that Harvey Weinstein once tried to forcefully kiss her in a hotel room during a meeting that was supposed to be about a possible role. The filming technique of the lesbian romance of “La vie d’Adèle”, in which Kechiche filmed up to 100 takes of a single scene, has also been questioned.
But Seydoux, who recently signed on to adapt the erotic novel “Emmanuelle” with “L’événement” (“The Event”) filmmaker Audrey Diwan, said she has never hesitated to express her sexuality on screen. “One Fine Morning,” with the benefit of Hansen-Love’s perspective, is one of the sexiest movies at Cannes.
“I felt like this movie was about passion,” Seydoux said. “I have no problem with nudity. It’s something I like to see as a viewer, I think it’s beautiful. I love sex scenes in movies.
In Cronenberg’s “Crimes of the Future,” which opens in theaters June 3, Seydoux stars opposite Viggo Mortensen in an even more body-focused film. In a future where humans and plastic have grown closer, she plays a surgeon who performs operations to remove tumors and organs with an artist’s brilliance.
“To be honest I didn’t understand everything in the movie,” Seydoux said with a smile. “For me it’s like a metaphor of what it is to be an artist.”
Perhaps “Crimes of the Future” presents an unusual world of science fiction, but Seydoux is remarkably focused on it. Hungry for more open cinematic adventures, Seydoux says that making a variety of films “is how I feel free. I don’t want to be stuck in one place.”
“I’m not crazy about movies that are ‘entertaining,'” Seydoux said. “I don’t think I go to the movies to be entertained. I know it’s a big thing in America. I like to ask myself questions. I don’t like being given answers. I don’t want to stop thinking, I think certain movies are just there to feed you images.”
“I like to feel like I’ve touched something real,” added Seydoux. “The world we live in now, with Instagram and all that, is pure lies. I feel that with cinema we can touch a certain truth. And there are many truths. I love being touched. I feel alive”.
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Once again, Léa Seydoux commands the Cannes Film Festival