Thu. Apr 2nd, 2020

The sequel to "A man and a woman" that will make you cry 50 years later

In the humid Normandy, where summer (and more at this time of season) negotiates in installments with the sun and often forces the jacket and foulard, memories of things (read, seen in the cinema …) are clustered together. that we never lived: in Cabourg we met Albertina and the blooming girls of a dreamy and asthmatic Proust; beyond, we save soldier Ryan on the beaches where war was decanted; from afar, inward, echoes of the irreverent chouanes (God, Homeland and King) that we met from Balzac arrive; and, on the other side, is Le Havre, the land of promise of the sub-Saharan people of Kaurismaki. There is no room left but for a great love, a love "as there is no other equal", on the elegant and cold coast of Dauville, imposing and kilometric. An essential story, which only requires two factors to start: «A man and a woman». And a third, Claude Lelouch, camera on his shoulder.

The 1966 film, romantic melodrama that marked time and aesthetics (those black and white walks on the beach, the loving disquisitions behind the wheel, the unmistakable music of Francis Lai …), has conditioned the entire filmography of the French director. But, at 81, enviablely healthy, Lelouch states that he has never had the need to get rid of the elongated shadow of this germinal work: “This film is my father and mother, it changed my life and that of Jean-Louis Trintignant and Anouk Aimée (his recognized leading couple). I have always lived with her; every time he released something, it was compared to ""A man and a woman" ". But this film allowed me to make 50 films, to be a free filmmaker ». And, in addition, winning a Golden Palm and the Oscar for best non-English-speaking film and best screenplay with just 30 years.

The love story of these two young widowers, Jean-Louis, racing driver, and Anne, movie script – a dazzling love and, like so many, indecipherable, immense and, ultimately, failed -, has been frozen for 50 years in the sentimental memory of the spectator and in the compact sand of Deauville beach. Until this 81-year-old teenager without fear of anything, not even touching his most sacred film, has decided to bring together in «The most beautiful years of a life», which premieres tomorrow in cinemas, the protagonist couple, this time octogenarians .

–Many will have told you: what need is there to play ""A man and a woman" "!

When the film turned 50, we all got together and saw it again. During the screening I was only looking at Jean-Louis and Anouk. I thought: if I can convince them to retake this story, we can really start talking about love. After the screening, I told them the project. Jean-Louis said not immediately (the 88-year-old actor retired in 2017 from the cinema). Anouk (87), meanwhile, said "yes, yes," but convinced that it would not be done. The more they told me no, the more I wanted to do it. The producers and distributors I spoke with were terrified of the idea. «You don't have to play that movie, you can't touch something sacred. But I thought: everyone is wrong, it is precisely now that we can talk about love, life, the passing of time ».

«Truly – says the Mastroianni of""Divorcio to the Italian "" -, life begins at 40 years ». Similarly, for Lelouch, love, the real one, starts from the 80s, when everything is taken for granted. In that situation are the old young widowers of the band of 66: he, in a residence, afflicted with Alzheimer's, remembering between sleep and reality that story without paragon in his memory; she, in the city, happy grandmother, required one day by the son of the former racing driver, willing to meet again with that old man who once took her from Deauville to Paris in the rain.

–Neruda would say: we, then, are no longer the same.

– I am almost 82 years old and I know that now I am not afraid of anything. And all my life I have been afraid of a lot of things. Precisely for that reason I now wanted to film this man and this woman who, in turn, were no longer afraid of anything. They return to love with all tolerance. Love stories quickly turn into prosecution; After the first week (which is a fraud), the other begins to be judged, its defects. The characters and actors of "The most beautiful years of our life", they don't care, they are not afraid of love, they have had difficult lives not only in the cinema, but in reality. I wanted to show that it is easier to love when you are older than when you are young.

The voice of French cinema

The meeting of Jean-Louis and Anne is obviously flour from another sack: without the urgent desire, without the anxiety of correspondence, without other women involved, as they had in that introverted pilot, they are dedicated to talk, remember or fable in the park of the elegant nursing home. These moments, the face-to-face encounters of Trintignant and Aimée, reveal the simple greatness of these two classic actors: «Jean-Louis barely sees or can walk, but he has the voice and has the most beautiful voice in the world. I thought that voice could tell us everything, the truth, the spontaneity he has. The core of my cinema is that: filming spontaneous people, because that spontaneity, for me, is what lies between lies and truth ».

Filming was a matter of days (due to the health of Trintignant) and Lelouch, awake and playful spirit, tried to shoot those face-to-face of old lovers with iPhone. «I have always been an amateur filmmaker, I come from amateur cinema, and I learned everything by myself, and I have always been a life reporter. I am, more than a director, a man who "" stage" ". I have a hard time portraying men and women I have not met. I have known all the characters in my movies ». And, further, he adds, "everyone is fascinating when they fall in love, then they become heroes."

– It is curious that he speaks of heroism about a feeling as widespread and, say, everyday as love.

– You have to be a hero to fall in love, there is nothing more wonderful and difficult than that, and it is something that has fascinated me all my life. I've always wondered why it costs us so much, why we strive to get into someone's bed, especially when we then try harder to get out of that same bed.

Richard Linklater has been celebrated with "Boyhood" for his faithfulness for two decades to the same characters. Lelouch has had an exceptional and record opportunity: the reunion in cinema of the same team 50 years later. The merit is biological, of course, but also of the will to give testimony of love and the passage of time. To square the circle, Francis Lai, the composer of that "dabadabada" who is still humming the good movie buff, has also composed the music of this sequel. He did it months before he died in November 2018. "The most beautiful years of a life" is the tribute, modest in cinematographic terms but very emotional, that a generation of movie makers makes itself.

«This is a terrible world to be young»

Claude Lelouch, born in 1937, has formed an idea about the drift of Europe in these 80 years. «Today it is easier to be old than young; We have made a world of old people, for them, and terrible for young people. In my time it was just the opposite. The world in 80 years has completely reversed ». As a young man he was shocked with "Bicycle thief", to the point that this director, who prides himself on having gone free and does not belong to cliques, considers that the film was invented by the Nouvelle Vague, that is, Italian neo-realism.

. (tagsToTranslate) gonzalo núñez

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