When I started to write Kings and Queen I couldn’t
stop thinking about those women destined for tragedy I had discovered
as a child in Hitchcock movies. I recalled Rebecca
and Marnie, of course, and above all Ingrid Bergman
in Notorious and Under Capricorn.
Women tormented by problems who manage to overcome them on their own.
Like sinister fairy tales. How giddy it made me feel to discover those
grand and mysterious heroines! Those were the first female movie characters
I came to love.
A woman, alone, finds herself by chance in something resembling a Hawthorne
story: a strange town, ghosts from
the past, and then…misfortune…. Her name is Nora.
She needed a companion to accompany her on her solitary, tragic journey:
a comic figure by the name of Ismaël Vuillard. A Shakespearean comedy
or a throwback to a Frank Tashlin flick? We gave him every fault known
to man, and with each passing day he became more delightful.
During shooting we simply threw caution to the wind, both in terms
of melancholy and humor. Enough of timid movies! We were to film fiery
scenes every single day. Both ludicrously comical and violently tragic.
The face, the skin, of Emmanuelle Devos illuminated our plans. I stood
in trepidation of her fragility, her softness, her inner need for peace,
and of the nightmares she was to face.
And then there’s Mathieu Amalric’s "Ismaël"—
everything we forbid ourselves from doing, being.
A two-part film. Or rather, two films glued together. A woman who lives
in her memories, and a man who goes from one absurd adventure to another.
Nora, so bright and free, becomes entrapped by what happens to her.
Ismaël, who feels imprisoned, marches unwittingly towards freedom.
During filming I dreamed that these two films of opposing genre would
be able to join to help a fatherless son, Elias. And that’s what
happened, like the sun between the clouds. A minor miracle.
A woman’s destiny in an hour and five minutes. Another hour for
the labors of Hercules. And ten minutes to save a child. We charge as
fast as possible along all the fairy tales from which our lives are