Actress fulfilled with three films this summer, she plays strong roles and has fun covering the tracks. Her demands on herself, her fight for parity, her affinities in the cinema… Marina Foïs gives herself up without filter.
All it takes is a look and the timbre of her voice for Marina Foïs, seated at a Parisian terrace and camouflaged under a cap, to give a glimpse of all the figures she has embodied on screen. Sophie Pétoncule at The Robin HoodsIrises in polishes , by Maïwenn, Olivia in The Workshop, by Laurent Cantet… All reappear according to the air, serious or light, of the actress. Fixed gaze and restrained smile, Marina Foïs is captivatingly eloquent. Funny detail, she quotes the directors by their surname, “Sorogoyen”, “Lartigau” “de Peretti”, and prefers to mention the actresses by their first name. “Chiara”, “Catherine”, “Isabelle” (Huppert)… These are among the women who surround her in her life and from whom she draws her inspiration.
Marina Foïs is a band girl, a leader. Born into a large family, she started in a troupe and evolves today within different families: that of Catherine Corsini, but also that of Leïla Bekhti or Alain Chabat. “Sometimes leader, sometimes follower”, in her words, she stands out today as a kind of opinion leader by campaigning for the equality of women and men in the cinema and by distinguishing herself in committed roles. The next ? That ofAs Bestas, by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, where she plays Olga, an eco-responsible farmer in a small Galician village, who fights to carry out her project and bring justice. In parallel with this strong work, Marina Foïs ventured into a road movie for Didier Barcelo (Freewheeling, with Benjamin Voisin), and in a genre film for the Boukherma brothers (The Year of the Shark).
In video, the interview of Marina Foïs in Cannes
“I tend to go for projects that scare me a little”
“I accept more and more films on the name of the directors, because it is, in my opinion, the choice which must prevail over all the rest. As all stories, or almost, have already been told, it is the director’s gaze that makes the difference. I’m wary of choosing roles that are too similar to me, and I tend to go for projects that scare me a little. For my last three films, it’s that of Rodrigo Sorogoyen, As Bestas, which required me the most technical work. Filming in the middle of the mountains made the adventure rather harsh – but also very joyful – and I had to learn Spanish for this film. This experience not only proved to me that I was able to play in another language, but also that I could find pleasure in it. Other foreign cinemas interest me (Asian, Korean, Hong Kong, Latin American, etc.), because I find them much more uninhibited and less gendered than in France.
“Sometimes I’m weak but I don’t get around difficulties”
“Unlike my character in As Bestas, I think I am less strong than the image I send back. I happen to be weak in certain places, but I do not dodge, I do not circumvent the difficulties. I have a defense system that sometimes prevents me from living fully, but I try to be honest and in the right place. My strength ? I draw it from the many chances I have had. This takes nothing away from my merit, but I have known accumulated happiness. I was born to a couple of parents who love each other and who love their children, and in a bourgeois family in which the message transmitted was: “Everything is possible.” We were free to study or not. Then there were encounters, life, sometimes courage. Alongside my friends, I also have two sons, two powers of life, which give me strength.
“The approximation drives me crazy”
“In my job, I’m ready for everything, from the moment the director is working. Approximation drives me crazy and nonchalance doesn’t interest me. Knowing that the cinema incurs costs, teams, the minimum is to try to create something good. I’m not talking about the result, because it’s very easy to screw up a film – and it’s not so bad if it was made with energy and passion. I am the first to screw up takes on a set because I sometimes laugh, but the work remains a serious business, and since it is not compulsory to make films, the least you can do is to do it. put passion.”
“The idea of the duty to set an example suits me”
“Surely because, or rather thanks to my family history and our experience of justice, I swore never to comment on a case that I do not know perfectly. Public opinion being something dangerous, I do not comment on matters that I do not fully control. On the other hand, if I am for the presumption of innocence, absolutely for it, I am for the withdrawal of those who are involved in cases of sexual assault. Especially when you are in positions of responsibility. The idea of the duty to set an example suits me. I want to believe in justice, and I want to believe in the sense of moral responsibility of those to whom we give power. I know, for example, that within the 50/50 association, when a complaint is lodged, those in charge have the merit of reacting immediately by putting aside, temporarily, the people involved, where men put under examination for sexual assault remain in place in other French institutions… It’s uncomfortable, isn’t it?
“My sons are lucky to both have a passion”
“I’m raising two boys, and I find it difficult to be balanced in their upbringing. I remember a scene fromA violent life by Thierry de Peretti, in which a mother who has lost her teenage daughter says: “I didn’t listen to her enough.” This sentence overwhelmed me, I believe that the framework imposed on them and the principles instilled in them only work if we listen to them and look at them accurately. We must try to identify who these people are and what they need beyond what we believe is good for them. My sons are fortunate to be driven by a passion and gifted in their field: the eldest is 17 years old, he dreams of becoming a driver and already excels in karting competitions. The youngest is 13 years old and sees himself as a restaurant chef.
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“When I shoot with Isabelle Huppert, I’m in all my states”
“I played with Isabelle Huppert in Jean-Paul Salomé’s film, The Syndicalist, and I must say that I love it. I’m even a little under the spell and in all my states when I find myself in front of her. Isabelle has a thing. There is obviously her talent as an actress – she is the idol of all actresses of my generation – and her curiosity for cinema, her cinephilia, which drives her career, but what is crazy is her intact taste. for life and for people. This makes her the actress she is, and I find that she shares this insatiable curiosity with Catherine Deneuve, with whom I have toured less but whom I rub shoulders with more in life.
“The worst thing would be for the directors to lose their freedom”
“When I see the same weekend the films of Arnaud Desplechin (Brother and sister), by Michel Hazanavicius (Cut!) and Louis Garrel (The Innocent), I think that the difficulties faced by cinemas today are not linked to the talent, creativity or hard work of cinema people. But it would be absurd not to question ourselves. The public has not completely returned since the Covid. The platforms have taken up a lot of space, we have to think about how we can cohabit with them, these are pleasures that do not seem to me to be contradictory. Me, I like both. If people go to the cinema less, does that mean that we are less desirable? And why ? Is it our stories that attract less viewers or the way we tell them? Or the way we “sell” films? There is a uniformity in communication, from the poster to the promo, which I don’t find very sexy and which in no way reflects the variety and richness of French cinema.
And the price of seats could be questioned, right? I believe in the room, in its power of attraction. We have to get through this crisis. The worst would be that the directors lose their freedom and that we end up with a formatting. Projects that no one believes in should still be able to exist. But movie people can also become their own gravedigger, and I can’t explain it… I have in mind an interview with Roberto Rossellini dating from 1977 in which he said: “I think cinema is dead, it’s is why I make documentaries for television.” In 1970, already, it was explained that the cinema was dead. I am therefore wary of deadly discourse and I do not submit to any form of pessimism because it does not interest me.
Freewheeling, by Didier Barcelo, released on June 29.
As Bestas, by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, released on July 20.
The Year of the Shark, by Ludovic and Zoran Boukherma, released on August 3.