Laure Calamy and Cécile Ducrocq present “Une femme du monde”, the director’s first feature film. A drama that plunges us into the world of prostitution and offers a beautiful character to the actress.
A few months after winning the César for Best Actress thanks to Antoinette in the Cévennes, which she illuminated with her energy, Laure Calamy is back in the cinema. In the foreground and in front of the camera of Cécile Ducrocq, creator of the L’Opéra series, who had directed her in the short film La Contre-allée, portrait of a prostitute.
After receiving the César for Best Short Film in 2016, she goes on without changing actress or subject. Because Une femme du monde tells the story of Marie, a prostitute living in Strasbourg and forced to find a solution when she finds herself confronted with financial problems. A drama never miserable or moralizing, that Cécile Ducrocq and Laure Calamy presented at the last Deauville Festival with overwhelming enthusiasm, before talking about it together on our microphone.
DashFUN: You presented the film as a world premiere at the Deauville Festival, and your enthusiasm was infectious. We felt a real joy to be there, and to show the film to an audience.
Cecile Ducrocq : There is a double joy, yes. On the one hand, the fact of going back to a room, and even to a festival, when you know all those who have been canceled. And also, as far as I’m concerned, it’s my first film. It’s super moving to be in front of a room of 1,500 people with this film that I carried for five years.
Was the feature film born when you made the short “La Contre-allée”, awarded at the César in 2016? Or was it a first step towards what has become “A Woman of the World”?
Cecile Ducrocq: No, this is really where the film was born. I had the idea of this character, a prostitute who was in touch with reality and had a hard time existing, then I met Laure, we made this short… There are a lot of things that I had want to put in, but it was not possible because of the format.
After shooting the short film, I told myself that I had to write a feature, because I still wanted to work with Laure, and to push the character further. To pull the wires and take him somewhere else. Because in the short film, there was a side where she was in her meadow, with her little sidewalk. It was great, but I wanted to make her a hero. Even more. To take her elsewhere, to give her a universal dimension, to make her a real heroine, with a beautiful raincoat.
Laure calamy : It’s romantic! It’s a wonderful idea from Cécile this raincoat, because it becomes a bit her armor. There is an armored signet ring thing, I love it. Already at the time of the short film, it was something that I wanted to play, to question prostitution. This is something that has interested me for a long time.
At the same time because I am a great admirer of Grisélidis Real, Swiss prostitute, painter, revolutionary… And at the same time, through films like Mamma Roma or Les Nuits de Cabiria, it is really something that haunted me. So when Cécile arrived and offered me this short film, it was really the meeting of our imaginations to both that, suddenly, we were going to be able to let unfold. And then there was a joy to finally make this film. Because five years passed between the two, it was truly an extraordinary adventure.
I wanted to play, to question prostitution. It’s something that interested me for a long time (Laure Calamy)
Cecile Ducrocq: And it is also difficult to edit a film on such a subject. I’m a little naive because, for me, it’s not a movie about prostitution. It’s a film about a woman, a character that I invented, romantic, who goes through a story. And it turns out that she’s a prostitute too, and all of a sudden we’re kind of caught up with the subject.
In terms of funding, it was something very difficult and I was asked why I wanted to talk about it, why I was going to talk about it like that. Was it a movie about a mother or a prostitute? The film took a very long time to edit.
And then you approach the social side of being a prostitute today, with the issue of demonstrations, rights, decriminalization. We are not in the cliché of the cinema prostitute.
Cecile Ducrocq: Yes. There are some great movies that I love. It is true that the character of prostitute is an archetype of cinema which has been embodied by great actresses. There have been some very, very beautiful films, and they are always the same ones that we quote, namely Mamma Roma and Les Nuits de Cabiria.