In this interview from 2019, French actress Louise Chevillotte talks about her role in Lover For A Day, working with Esther Garrel, her love for theatre, and much more.
You star in Lover for a Day which comes out in the UK later this month (Jan 19). Can you tell us about the film and the character you play?
It is the story of Jeanne, played by Esther Garrel, a young woman who has just broken up with her boyfriend and gone back to her father. She is truly desperate.
She discovers that her father (Éric Caravaca) lives with a woman who has the exact same age as her. This is Ariane, the character I play. She is an enthusiastic young woman, deeply in love but free with her desires and her body.
Lover for a Day is focuses on relationships. What interested and drew you to this story and character?
I think it is really interesting to talk about women’s sensuality and desires because we usually think that only men deal with these kinds of issues.
The film talks about the absolute freedom of a young woman and all the paradoxes and complexities that are involved with this way of living.
To embody Ariane has been really powerful for me because I felt that I defended a new vision of woman’s femininity. Women do have desires and it does not mean they are mean or sick.
How did you get involved in the project and what was it like working with Philippe Garrel?
We met when I was a second year student at the National Conservatoire of Paris.
Philippe Garrel is an amazing actor’s director. He has created a method that mainly involves thoughts : the actor has to let the life get in when he plays, just as in real life.
Philippe often says that the time of the shoot will not be given back at the end of our life, so we have to think and live for real when we act. We rehearsed every Saturday for nine months and the shoot was kind of special: each scene had only one shot. It was really intense and exciting.
The film is shot in black and white. What do you think that adds to the film stylistically and did it affect your approach to acting?
When I live and when I am acting, I see life with colours: the colours of Esther’s eyes, of the sky, of the table, of all the feelings. But stylistically, at the end, I think the black and white creates a sharp contrast that accentuates the feelings and the situations. I was very impressed by the work of Renato Berta, the director of photography.
You act with Esther Garrel, who we are familiar with from Call Me By Your Name. Can you talk about working with Esther and your relationship?
It was my first movie and Esther has been very helpful.
She is really impulsive and intense while acting and I learned a lot from her. We often met outside of rehearsals to work together and talk about the script and our characters. We were really close.
Eric Caravaca is also an incredible actor. It has been a great pleasure to work with both of them.
You have an impressive theatre background. What do you love about that form of acting?
The poetic forces of theatre texts give me shivers. I love to work for hours on just one sentence or even one word. When I am exploring like this, I can feel that body and language are working together like a clock mechanism. I love working with a group and then all being together in front of an audience and doing it every evening for weeks.
What are your ambitions for the future and what kind of stories would you like to tell?
I would love to do cinema and theatre at the same time. I am not sure of what kind of story I would like to tell, but I hope I will be able to work with directors who have an intimate relationship with the characters they create. I love complex and paradoxical characters.
Lastly, do you have any upcoming project you can tell us about?
I have just finished the shooting of Synonymes, the next movie from Nadav Lapid. In March, I will be in Angers to act in Macbeth, directed by Frédéric Bélier-Garcia.