The Vincent

          SPECIAL CANNES ISSUE 1994                                  




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Queen Margot is above all a history of a family. A royal family. A family full of conflicts. A family that ruled 16th century France amid violence and pain. It is also the title of Patrice Chereau's new movie - a fresco full of fever, wrath, excesses and blood.

It is also one of the most exciting combinations we've been offered by a French movie in a long time. Isabelle Adjani is Queen Margot, the object of all desires and powers; Daniel Auteuil, Henri of Navarre, her husband for political reasons; Jean-Hughes Anglade, her brother, the half-mad king Charles IX; Vincent Perez, La Mole, her secret lover; and Pascal Greggory, Anjou, her other brother craving for power. All characters are fully immerged in the storm of history. All actors have to comply with Patrice Chereau's standards.

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Some days after its screening at Cannes, we met with the choir of Queen Margot (Adjani, Auteuil, Anglade, Perez, Greggory) on Wednesday, April 27th in the Hotel de la Tremouille. The hotel was a very lively spot since the press showed up. When the five actors arrive to meet us, they have already answered hundreds of questions, but they have done it individually. This is the first time they will meet all together after filming. We feel a bit of tension as some of them do not know what kind of memories this film has left for the others…

To start with, we'd like to ask what is the first feeling you had about your character and about the whole project when you read the script for Queen Margot.

margot20.jpg (8808 bytes)VP: It is a bit special for me as I am part of Patrice's family. I was his pupil at Amandiers and I have worked with him a lot; thus, Queen Margot is a continuation of this work. What's funny is that when I started at his school in Nanterre, I told him I'd had enough of the Conservatoire because they only let me play young lover characters, and I wanted to begin with something different in Nanterre. So, during the two years, I just had secondary roles! When Patrice let me read the script for Queen Margot, I immediately recognized the old cliché coming back, and it actually scared me a bit - but at the same time, I knew that the young lovers are never really purely such, with Patrice, so I have had the chance to summarize all the work we've done together and actually try to avoid all clichés. Moreover, when he told me about Isabelle and, little by little, about all those big actors, it became a project one has maybe once in a career.

Do you remember the first time you all read the script together?

VP: Patrice was very open... There is something I found quite surprising during the rehearsal. Patrice was discovering the characters together with us. I mean, he really waited for the chemistry, which always starts between the actors and their characters. We revealed to him what he was waiting for, what he was looking for, which were the mistakes to be avoided. He just works when there is a certain intensity.

In the movie the camera is always very close to the faces and bodies like a caress. How did that feel?

VP: It's very close to his way of working on stage where he always gets very close to the actors. Here the camera replaces his eye. It is true that this closeness creates a kind of tension and a semi-animal relationship. Actually, the camera does not exist. it is Patrice who is really there.

This is a very prestigious production. Don't you think there is a risk that each of you will try to protect yourself more in this movie than when you are the only star?

VP: Well, in the movies there are really two families, the Catholics and the Protestants, and I went through the filming hardly ever meeting Daniel or Jean-Hughes, like a parallel route; moreover, I entered the movie during St  quite strange…Sometimes I'd go around to see the others filming.

Have you been surprised by the result now that you've seen the finished film?

VP: Patrice has been truthful to what he is, what he loves, what he's worried about, even though this film is big stuff.

How do you feel about being all together in Cannes?

VP: It is reassuring to be all together.

[With sincere thanks to Cinzia Masina for her French translation]


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