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CANNES 2007 Un Certain Regard / France

Actresses: When art imitates life

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Actresses: When art imitates life

Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi has officially entered that exquisite category of actresses who play actresses on the big screen. The difference between her and so many others (Betty Davis, Gena Rowlands, Marisa Paredes) is that she chose to do so in a very personal project that she also directed, entitled ­ not surprisingly ­ Actresses [+see also:
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. The film had its world premiere today, in Cannes' Un Certain Regard.

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Just as in her directorial debut It¹s Easier for a Camel [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, the Italian-French actress-turned-filmmaker decided to flirt with reality and incorporated several aspects of her own life in a film about a 40-year old actress, still single and childless, who finds it hard to enter the skin of Natalia Petrovna, the lead role of Turgenev¹s play A Month in the Country.

Bruni-Tedeschi thus returns to the role she already played on stage, before being replaced ­ just like in the film ­ by the director's assistant. "For [co-scriptwriter] Noémie Lvovsky, as for me, it seemed obvious that this could be an interesting dramatic basis for a script ­ someone taking the place of another person".

The script follows the difficulties of the rehearsals while simultaneously revealing several daily aspects of its leading actress: her desire to become a mother, her hallucinations and dreams, her mother (played by the director's real-life mother), who seems happier in her old age than her daughter has ever been, and her attraction to the young actor who plays Petrovna's love interest on stage. Life imitates theatre and cinema imitates life.

Exploring some of the obsessions already present in her directorial debut, Bruni-Tedeschi seems to have made the film to avoid Prozac, just like her character who decides to tell her dream to a gynaecologist rather than psychologist. Her camera is most probably her analyst's couch and the result of this possible therapy is a hilarious parade of tragicomic events, presented with preciously refined irony.

Actresses was produced by Fidélité Films and its international sales are being handled by Paris-based company Wild Bunch, which will also distribute the film domestically.

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