Behind Connasse, there was Noémie Saglio, the new star film director of the Y Generation. This 30-year-old in the swing of things is back with “Like Mother, like Daughter”, an ultra generational comedy that deals with maternity, the generation of rigid 30-year-olds. At the head of this family drama in 3rd millennium version: a mother-daughter duo played by Camille Cottin and Juliette Binoche, who both get pregnant at the same time, Lambert Wilson et Catherine Jacob. An occasion for Noémie Saglio to take us behind the scenes of the most highly awaited comedy this Spring.
The films that encouraged you to be in this trade?
Real women’s comedies such as “My best friends”. I am very fond of English comedies, « Love Actually » stays my TOP 1. I know, it’s not very original but for me a good comedy is filled with humour and lots of tenderness, otherwise I am bored very quickly. You need a character whom you get attached, to, extra soul. Only jokes bores me stiff.
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How does the adventure of a film begin?
I always participate in writing the scenario that lasts about 18 months with the returns of the partners (the producer, the channels, the distribution). Everyone comments the scenario to improve it or ruin it, but you are forced to do it because otherwise, you cannot do the film ! Once everyone is satisfied, you move on to the casting...
Where did you get the inspiration for a mother and a daughter to be pregnant at the same time ?
I saw a show with Agathe Pastorini, my co-author, on mothers and daughters pregnant together and I have a girl friend whose step mother became pregnant at the same time as her... Frankly is was a little problematic… I was looking for an idea that discussed maternity, family in a playful off-beat way: there was in this situation all the factors of comedy and emotions ! I am here to make super feminine films, that reaches out to gals like me… So we said to ourselves: there is nothing better !
Is Camille Cottin your muse ?
I consider her as one of the best actresses of her generation. We did Connasse or Toute première Fois (The very first time) together. Camille Cottin is my alter ego, my inseparable duo and my best friend! I write all my films thinking of her. My neurosis, my anxieties: I have the impression she can incarnate exactly what I want.
In many ways she is the girl who represents me.
In your film, the mother is a retarded teenager and her daughter a very control-freak 30-year-old...
I find we have many more hang-ups than our parents especially when I see my mother who is much freer and easy going that myself and my 30-year-old friends. When we were in school, we were told that we would not have any work, after we were told that we would catch aids if we slept around…We were put through the grinder.
Our generation did not live sexual freedom, the freedom of not having to worry about your work. I wanted to show this. In the film, the character of Juliette Binoche is a comedy character that is a little exaggerated, completely absolutely fabulous that has nothing to do with my mother. But she also has a side that says “stop worrying, all you 30-year-olds, you have your life in front of you.”
Do you feel like the perfect daughter of the bad mother?
Everybody recognized me in both characters… I think they both have my personalities. I always try to stay in the norm but I have a slightly zany sides that is beyond me. I am very motherly with my daughter, both strict and tender, without bringing her up framed in. In short, I really try my best like everyone else!
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What happens when you are filming ?
Before the actual filming that lasts about 2 months, we have a super precise work plan with a timetable, the dates for actors, nights when we film, never more than 12h of work per day… It’s all set practically to the minute. When we are filming, I arrive in the morning, I say hello to the actors, we do a small text rehearsal and then we film.
It’s a little like a roving circus ! There are 18 parked with 70 persons on site including the technicians and the cafeteria with 25 or 30 persons on the set. For “Telle mère telle fille”, we filmed a scene at the Théâtre du Châtelet with Lambert Wilson, we were easily 120. It’s very impressive car, even though as film director you are the conductor of this entire team, everyone knows perfectly what they are doing as though you were on a construction site.
And after ?
You spend 4 months in the editing room, making your film. It’s super intense because you discover the images, you see what you did and... what you did not do and cannot redo ! It’s the most difficult moment.
How do you deal with criticism ?
At the beginning you receive them full face !
I really like this comparison. To judge the performance of a skier, there it a chronometer. If he is above it, it’s the end. If he’s under, it’s fab—he wins.
When you make a film, it’s as though each person was going to watch it with their own chronometer. Everyone becomes critical of the movie, including your mother, your sister, the baker. Everyone fells like they can make their won comments. I remember what the pharmacist said about my last film “Toute première fois” which he gold me as I was buying Tylenol: “Sorry, I prefer telling you that I did not really like your film”. Nice.
For Connasse, we had a lot of “haters” even before the film came out… that’s part of the game. When the audience comes out of your film with a big smile, you say to yourself, that’s why you are in this trade … But you need not exaggerate, I am not producing films like Tarantino. Like Mother, like daughter, is a pleasant moment, not the ultimate masterpiece of the nation that we will be showing….
Most actresses dream of becoming a film director… Do you see yourself as an actress?
Yes, I truly imagined myself on the other side and it really tempted me, but I don’t have much talent. Anyway, I enjoy much more writing and directing and don’t think I could act on top of that. Except if someone gives me a chance! Actually: I played a small part in a film by Maxime Govare and I really enjoyed it !
What will be your next film ?
It’s a rather feminist film that is called “The modern woman”, written at the outset by Alix Girod de l’AIn. It’s the story of a 40 year old woman who has everything to be a perfect woman but is totally lost, probably because she has too many choices (working, taking care of her children) with the pressure of doing everything well and she fails everywhere … She wakes up in 1965 in a world where you have no choices. That is to say you cannot work without the consent of your husband, you have to go to the sewing club with your girlfriends and take care of the kids. In fact, this woman discovers how lucky she is and that one must enjoy freedom without complaining too much…