“We Can Even Forgive Bad Parents”: Mia Hansen-Løve on Making a Haunted Movie by Ingmar Bergman | Movies

sNine years ago, Mia Hansen Love went to a small Baltic island to write a screenplay. On the face of it, a terrible idea. Farrow is not just an island, it is where Ingmar Bergman lived, worked, died and was buried.

Like Goldilocks, Hansen Love sleeps in a bed in his old house, which may have been haunted. “One night I was alone watching a documentary about Bergman. He was talking about ghosts and sitting in his kitchen. Exactly where I was sitting! I got scared, and ran into a B&B. I never felt so close to believing in ghosts.”

How on earth did she expect to get any work done, haunted by a narcissistic ghost? “When I think about it rationally, it should have been horrible,” she says via video call from Paris. “Burgman’s legacy! This huge male genius!”

Bergman was one of those pesky people who find creativity easy: “For him it was a constant flow of ideas.” For 41-year-old Hansen Love, the opposite is true: “I always feel like I have the only thing to say but it will always be the last. I always think this will be the last movie I write. It all makes every new writing process tense and painful. To some extent. I am very jealous of Burjuman.”

She had a simple introduction to her script. Amazingly, in Bergman’s house, she manages to develop it into her new film, a witty and terrifying postmodern work about sex, relationships, the anxiety of influence, how reality makes art and vice versa, and how artistic couples help and hinder each other. creativity.

Vicki Krebs and Tim Roth on Bergman Island.
Vicki Krebs and Tim Roth on Bergman Island.

Most of all, it has to do with how filmmaking is different for women than for men like Bergman. The movie opens with a married couple, Tony (Tim Roth) and Chris (Vicki Krebs), both film directors, who arrive in one summer on Fårö to write their screenplays—just as Hansen Love did. Tony is older and more successful, and his movie scripts seem to come out of him unblocked. Chris struggles, fearing that her sliver may be from a good idea.

Bergmann Island has been considered by some “film-à-clef” About Hansen Love’s relationship with French film director Olivier Assayas, who is 26 years older than her. In 1998, he was 17 years old and still a Lysine, first appeared on screen in Assayas in late August, early September. Two years later she appeared in his romantic destinies, and at that time they were lovers.

After studying dramatic art and writing at Cahiers du Cinéma, Hansen-Løve directed her first film, All Is Forgiven (2007), followed by The Father of My Children (2009). Her recent films have relied on intimate relationships. In 2011 Goodbye First Love, the architect, who became a mentor and lover of the young student, modeled on the Assayas; In Eden (2015), the DJ is modeled after her brother Sven; And in the 2016 film Things to Come, Isabelle Huppert plays a character inspired by Mia’s philosopher mother.

On Bergman Island, which she wrote the year she and Asaias separated, the couple’s marriage begins to unravel: his emotional coldness contrasts with the graphics of intense sexual slavery she discovers in his notebook, while seemingly liberated by a naive courtship. A film student she meets on the island.

Isabelle Hubert in a book
Isabelle Hubert in Things To Come. Photo: Stx Entertainment / Allstar

She compares her husband and her lover in Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut. “Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman are together again after years of isolation. He said to her: What do we do now? And she says, “Let’s have sex!” The pair are very close, but they are very far away. It is a paradox and yet I understand it very well. Tony and Chris are like this – a couple Far apart but intimate, this kind of paradox is very much what my film is about.

“But it’s not autobiographical,” she adds. never? “I understand why people say that, and of course Olivier has definitely inspired some aspects of Tony’s character.”

In one scene of the movie, Tony tells an adoring audience after the show that his films should always have a female role. A quick look at Assayas’ filmography—Maggie Cheung in Irma Vibe, Emmanuel Biart in Sentimental Destinies, Juliette Binoche in Guillaume Sells Maria or Kristen Stewart in Personal Shopper—suggests that Tony’s creative tastes mirror those of Olivier.

Lola Creighton and Sebastian Orzendowski in Goodbye First Love.
Lola Creighton and Sebastian Orzendowski in Goodbye First Love. Photo: Prosthetic Eye / Sports Image / Allstar

Hansen Love insists that Tony and Olivier are completely different. “Olivier never set foot on the island, though he admired Bergmann’s work. Perhaps he would have been afraid. For me, perhaps it’s easier because I’m such a director, so there is no opportunity to compare myself to Bergmann.”

There is certainly no compromise in Hansen’s Love. But there’s something more interesting – a reflection on what it means to be ruthless and ruthless in life and art like Bergman, and where it is necessary to be narcissistic in order to be truly creative.

At the beginning of the film, Chris and Tony dined with prominent members of the Ingmar Bergman Foundation, who told her that the great genius directed more than 60 films and 170 plays, while he was the father of nine children of six women. “How do you think he could have done that if he was also changing diapers?” Someone asks rhetorically.

The question goes to the heart of Hansen Loew’s concerns. She has a daughter with Assayas and a son with her current partner, filmmaker Laurent Perreau. “When you’re a woman and you make films and you have kids, you have these fears. Does being a mother mean that I won’t be involved enough in my films? Can I be a director the way I want to be – emotionally, psychologically, spiritually?”

Mia Hansen Love on set.
Mia Hansen Love on set.

“It’s hard!” She screams.

It was not for Bergman. He allowed his partners—including his movie stars Liv Ullman and Baby Anderson—to raise children, while he made three films a year, many of them confusing studies of female experience. “I never put an iota of effort into my family,” Bergman once said.

However, she refuses to be judicial. “Maybe I didn’t want to be one of his women, but then I’m so glad he made 60 movies that I can watch and enjoy.” She says she is taking advantage of the fact that one of his sons, Ingmar Bergman Jr., has revived his father’s film production company. “He seems to be at complete peace with who his father was. I find that very beautiful. We can forgive even bad fathers.”

Nor is she critical of Farrow’s transformation, since Bergman’s death in 2007, into a secular shrine. Today, you can go on a “Big Bergman Safari” bus tour of his movie locations. There are conferences about his films and retreats for artists as he pleases. Shows take place in his home cinema, though visitors are warned not to sit in the great man’s seat.

When I laugh at this, Hansen Love objects. “This kind of reverence for cinema and the director is something I don’t want to spit on. I think it’s important to the film lovers I belong to. It’s part of the beauty of the relationship with this art.”

Fortunately, Mia Hansen-Love was not squashed by the burden of the great man while working at Fårö. Instead, she was creatively stimulated to write with unprecedented freedom. “I can’t really explain it, but I’ve never felt so light and serene and I would even say hilarious.”

Mia Wasikowska on Bergman Island.
Mia Wasikowska on Bergman Island. Photo: CG Cinema

This deceptive fun is evident in how the film blurs fantasy and reality. When Chris described her script to Tony, her idea came to us as a movie in the movie we’re watching. It’s the story of a woman named Amy (Mia Wasikowska), who rekindles a relationship with an old flame, Joseph (Anders Danielsen Leigh), when they both attend a friend’s wedding in Faro.

After that, Hansen Love became more imaginatively fun. We see Chris filming the movie you described to Tony. Wasikowska and Lie appear as the two, and Chris Lee flirts. It’s more than just Brecht’s demolition of the Fourth Wall. It’s a very complex visualization, but there’s nothing intellectual about how to write it. It was something mystical, like a vision.”

Her latest film, One Fine Morning, which premiered at Cannes this month, was produced indoors and starred Léa Seydoux as a single mother. Once again, the film builds on the director’s life and explores another emotional paradox. “It’s a picture of a woman whose father has passed away, overwhelmed with grief and yet falling in love at the same time. It’s about these two impossible feelings that exist together. Impossibility is what I want to show in the cinema,” she laughs.

Bergman Island will be shown in UK cinemas from 3 June. One Fine Morning premiered in Cannes on May 20th.

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