Not that anyone could doubt it, but he is keen to make it clear. “Is there anyone who intimidates me? Nobody, it’s not a feeling that interests me ». Long live the queen, Isabelle Huppert, who accompanies the sentence at the Rendez vous in her honor barely hinting at her famous pout and giving the author of the question a shot of glance. She came from Avignon, where she opened the festival in the honor courtyard of the Palace of the Popes with The cherry garden staged by the Portuguese Tiago Rodrigues. Cannes is his home. It first came to us in 1975 with Aloise, was awarded Best Actress for Violette Nozière three years later and in 2001 for The pianist, the last time in competition was in 2019 with Franke, did the juror, the president.
But the festival is now a sort of alter ego. Very popular but always a little on his own. Unquestionably divine. And, indeed, the meeting with the public looks a bit like a court hearing. She in flame red trouser suits, fans in adoration. They know the feeling of awe, them. A career between cinema and theater so dense that a synthesis is impossible. «I give myself the freedom to choose. Never the characters. I honestly don’t dream of playing one role or another. I’m interested in the director’s gaze, how he will see that character and how to build him together ». Certainly one of the key encounters is the one with Michael Haneke (“If you ask her to cry in a scene, Isabelle is the actress who asks you which word you want to drop the tear on,” she says and there is no reason not to believe him). Confirm his love in particular for The pianist. «He is a genius of precision – she concedes -, he wants to be sure that every movement is authentic. It gives a lot of guidance but doesn’t tell me much about how to act. An attitude that suits me well ».
Interpreter at the antipodes of identification. “What if the role reveals something about me? Never. For me, the pleasure of doing it counts. Cinema is the place that makes the invisible visible, not an opportunity to investigate myself ». No doubt about it, not even about the fact that he can suffer from performance anxiety. “All the actors in the world in the theater are a little anxious. Not particularly me, not because I’m numb, but that’s how I am. At the cinema it never happens to me to have negative feelings, it gives me great pleasure, no fear ». It took a director like Patrice Chéreau to teach her to be, or rather, to look vulnerable. «On the set of Gabrielle he taught me to lower my head, to give the idea of vulnerability ».
Among the artistic combinations on stage he cites Bob Wilson several times. “He claims that acting is improvising. In reality, very few directors are capable of welcoming improvisation. I like to let people believe that what they see is the result of improvisation ». And the doubt arises that he will immediately put it into practice with a girl from the audience. ‘Is your name Justine? What a beautiful name. Yes, I have read De Sade ». Emotion at the Huppert house rhymes quite accurately. With which over the years, especially in the cinema, he has built characters that border on the monstrous. «I would not call them monstrous but the result of monstrous situations that make them so. As an actress I find it easier to represent ambiguity than simplicity, ”she admits. Set and stage (for the record, the criticisms of her latest Chekhov were unanimous: “masterful”), for her they are equal. «In the theater you are in contact with the audience, the chemistry between the actors while everything is happening is unique. Every evening it is created and then dies there. At the cinema you create something that remains. It is not born while you are acting but after, at the editing, it is all in the hands of the director ». It would be fun to know how they feel when they have to cut his scenes.