The Vincent

          June 17, 1993                                                                

Fanfan is the symbol of

their encounter. They

present an image of an

irrepressible couple.

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Love is stronger than love at first sight...

It has always been like that. Love charms, worries, frees the fantasies of the most timid, encourages men and women to follow their craziest impulsions, multiplies their rage and their feelings by ten. Writers can make stories, courtships and betrayals even more palpitating. Novelist Alexandre Jardin has written about love, about this force of attraction, sentimental or sexual, pushing two human beings to a paroxysm. The result is a great romantic love story called Fanfan. Sophie Marceau and Vincent Perez had to be free from all prejudgments in order to offer the viewer the perfect image of an irrepressible couple.

The choice of the director (his first film) was not left to chance. Beautiful and sexy, Sophie Marceau, the star of Amour braque and the romantic L’etudiante, can really charm the man whose talent recently burst forth in Indochine. Vincent Perez will go on to Queen Margot. Isabelle Adjani will fall in love with him after Catherine Deneuve.

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Together throughout their irresistible passion, far from the violence often found in movie theatres nowadays, they look at the world around them in a modern and right way. Their share the same age, beautiful looks and endless charm that makes everyone dream. They speak freely like two allies.

Is love truth or illusion?

Vincent: Love is more and more important in our society because you’ll find it less and less. One speaks a lot about couple problems and it is also a source of income - look at those TV programs! TV is interesting as it mirrors our society. Nowadays one can see true couples trying to solve their problems on TV! But we are all looking for true love, even though fear does have an influence on us. All religions come from our fear, and I think this is a mistake as true philosopy can only come from our inner self and not from outside us. We grow up in a society that takes us apart instead of showing us we are all part of the same unit. 

When I was a kid, I fell in love very easily, but they were stories that I invented myself. In fact, I was very catholic. I needed to fall in love in order to suffer a little, in order to show myself that I was alive. I often say that a woman can reveal a man. I love strong women who leave an impression.

Sophie: Love is to feel good with someone, without needing to talk or do do something. It is not about love at first sight, not about courting. The most magical part is to stay together for a long time.

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Desire disappears after 4 years...

Do you believe in eternal love?

Vincent: When one falls in love, one tries to find a solution to the declining passion. This is the theme of the movie. And with passion, I also mean possession. The decline of passion makes us sad because we want to be the masters of our passions. We want to master them until we are not interested in them anymore. Because possession is winning. When love fades, it is easy to go from the love feeling to hate. We should analyze reality around us, analyze the way people divorce.

I thought I was untouchable, and then my parents divorced one year ago! Around me I see kids of divorced couples, and often these separations are done in a bad way. Why? Because of passion’s decline. In the past, people would listen less to their passions. They were brought up in a more rigorous way. 

Sophie: Two authorities facing each other create trouble. One cannot have two stars shining under the same roof. To be sweet and subdued is a feminine quality. Why not give in? I am not in favor of tolerance where each one does what he/she wants. Love has to be difficult and demanding. I do not like to be left alone.

We all hope it will work out forever but I try never to count on this as a superstition. We humans are strange. It is very difficult to foresee our changes. Scientific research has demonstrated that after four years the mutual desire between a man and a woman disappears. It’s biological. Of course, sex is not the only important thing, but still…

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Perverse jealousy and deep fidelity

Does jealousy have a place in a love relationship?

Vincent: I can show jealousy, but I do not want to be jealous. Jealousy is like a box. It has to be kept closed.

Sophie: It can be the proof of love, quite perverse, in a way! Anyhow, the boundary between jealousy and possession is invisible – where does the first stop? Where does the second begin?

What is your attitude toward fidelity? Vincent, you once said, "one looks and then comes the moment one has to put one’s suitcase on the ground."

Vincent: It's true I said that, but I have to admit I am surprised I expressed myself in such a way – I find it a bit stupid... Deep fidelity is a part of love.

Sophie: Nowadays couples cannot make any effort or sacrifice. One has an affair as soon as one goes on a faraway holiday… A bit exaggerated, don’t you think?

What have your Fanfan characters given you?

Vincent: I felt the need to play a character who would be more open than my previous ones. I had to create my space in front of the camera and in life. The movie came at a good moment in my life.

Sophie: It was the last time I really wanted to play such a character – a life full of turning points. She is alive, healthy, feels good with herself. She has no complexes. She’s a free woman like me. The difference is I keep my feet on the ground. I do not like fantasy. It doesn’t amuse me.

In the writer/director’s spirit, Fanfan is an erotic movie. Do you agree?

Vincent: I hope so! Because he speaks about erotism as control of passion – this can really be thrilling making your body temperature change. In order to have erotism, one needs desire, but not necessarily satisfied desire.

Do you consider yourselves seductors? Do you play the seduction game?

Vincent: I have never been a conqueror, but I have been impatient! Maybe I have been a conqueror as a man in love, i.e. as an animal. One shows his colors. Keep the back upright. Keep the head straight. Smile. Be positive. Love life. Desire happiness... All of a sudden I was like a pawn as a teenager. Later on, I thought more about it. With experience, I changed, and today, if I start a relationship, it is because I judge it important.

Sophie: Sure, I like to be liked and I like seduction, but Fanfan has to face the problem that her boyfriend never tells her he loves her out of fear that a true relationship might destroy their love. 

What are you private life projects? A child? Wedding?

Vincent: On the day I get married, I won’t expect anything from it! All those stereotypes about marriage - I don’t like them!  But I don’t dislike marriage – it shouldn't change anything in a couple’s life.

Sophie: A baby? Yes, I think about it a lot. I see a lot of pregnant women; nevertheless, I hate programming. If you program too much, things can get in each other’s way. About marriage, frankly I am really anti-catholic. I was taught christian values, but I feel closer to buddhism.  

A top-model fell in love with him

Vincent Perez has often been the object of desire like many big screen romantics. He was born in Lausanne, son of a Spanish father and a German mother - probably the origin of his cosmopolitan charm. He literally "exploded" with Indochine. In 1988, his talent broke free in La Maison de Jade, the story of a difficult breakup between a woman in her 40s and a man 20 years younger. Fiction and reality mixed when he and his co-star, Jacqueline Bisset fell in love. Today, his girlfriend is Carla Bruni, a worldwide-known top model, whose beauty can be admired on catwalks and in glossy fashion magazines.

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"We modeled together for Vogue," says the actor. "I was glad to model with her, but we have since thought about it and have decided to preserve our relationship. There are always people who take pictures of us in the street, and then publish them in all those gossip magazines. If this makes people happy, it's ok with me. For the moment, I won't bring any lawsuits. We don't hide. Why should we?"

[Written by Bernard Ales and Jean Darbois]

[Kindly translated by Cinzia Masina]


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