The French actress was born on April 27, 1932 in Paris. She played with some of the greatest directors of her time: Federico Fellini, Jacques Demy, Claude Lelouch… Le Figaroshe looks back on the best memories of her career.
The good life (1960) by Federico Fellini
“My memory of The good life. It was Via Veneto in Rome, one summer evening. Driving a Cadillac Via Veneto surrounded by paparazzi was something! Terrible ! Everyone was screaming and I was like, ‘How am I going to work in all this noise?’ I was freaked out. I did not understand what was being said to me. All those technicians screaming and Federico repeating: ”Presto! Presto!” I didn’t know what I was doing anymore. However, in the end, everything turned out very well. (…) I adored Marcello. We never had a story, it was my brother. His eldest daughter, Barbara, was my daughter’s best friend. We were going on vacation together. Federico, Marcello and I were very close. They are a part of me, both of them.
Lola (1961) by Jacques Demy
“I like Lola. It’s probably the film I feel closest to. As I often say: ”Lola, I no longer know where it begins and where I end…” Who would have told me that one day I would wear a basque? And yet it happened. I never imagined that a corset could be pretty and not vulgar. For me, the character of Lola is very endearing. She’s a young woman who’s a little lost. She has only one thing in mind, to find her first love. This gesture she makes reminds me of her indecision. Lola often says, “Oh! My God”, ”What time is it?” or ”I have to hurry!”. She is always in questioning, in the perpetual discovery of the present. The hat is Jacques Demy who wanted it at some point. It was a prop on set. In the film, we feel that it’s a little corny, all these dancers waddling around. In the photo, I try my hand at an imitation of Marlene and Marilyn, adding the ingenuous side of Lola. It’s a piece of me Lola. Undeniably. The costumer of Lola was extraordinary. I didn’t think a corset could fit me. And yet… In the same way when I wear the white dress while strolling in the streets of Nantes with Marc Michel who plays Roland Cassard, I felt embarrassed, borrowed. A bit as if this immaculate ensemble made Lola more awkward than the cabaret costumes she wears with naturalness and relaxation.
eight and a half (1963) by Federico Fellini
“There is a lot of emotion, guilt too. I am dressed all in white, with an officer’s collar, a wig with short hair, big glasses and almost no make-up. I almost look like a nun. Quite the opposite of The good life. Fellini wanted me to be very severe. I incarnate a little his wife, Giuletta. She judges Marcello without taking sides. They had no children. It is an important thing in their life. When she came on set, Fellini sat her next to me. She said: ”But that’s me?” Federico replied: ”Mmmh! Maybe…” It was with him that I had the click: to do my work as an actress seriously but without taking myself seriously. I met him when he had just shot. The first time he saw me, I had the same impression as with Picasso. Fellini had the same piercing gaze, seeking to probe your soul. He liked that we give ourselves but that we always keep something. Otherwise, there is nothing more to discover, he said.
A man and a woman (1966) by Claude Lelouch
“This film was madness! A man and a woman was the equivalent at the time of The Artist. A little film that nobody was talking about and which received the Palme d’Or. I knew Jean-Louis Trintignant because his wife Nadine was my oldest friend. One day, they made me meet a young director: Claude Lelouch. I came back from Italy to meet him. With his inimitable way, he told us about his film. Simply. At the end, he said, “Do you like it?” We replied, “Yes.” There you go! This cinema couple is obvious. Life brought them together. It’s love. It has a certain allure, a certain class. An abandonment. It’s quite sensual but not sexual. There is a real tenderness.”
All the suns (2010) by Philippe Claudel
“I remember filming in Strasbourg in the summer. It was wonderful. I really liked this team, the Italian actor Stefano Accorsi, and the director Philippe Claudel. Philippe is not only a novelist, he is a filmmaker who knows what he wants. But when he describes a scene, he becomes a writer again!”