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Anne Fontaine or the fragility of the first time

In 1993, Anne Fontaine directed her first film: les histoires d'amour finissent mal en general. That year, for the first time, she would take part in the official selection of the Cannes Film Festival of the Critics' Week.

Uncertain beginnings

Before devoting herself to directing, Anne Fontaine started working in cinema as a comedienne, but she quickly felt that this job was not for her. As someone who likes being in charge of things, she felt apprehensive in front of the camera. She felt trapped by its gaze. When you’re an actor you inevitably depend a little on the opinions of others, you can even become addicted to it. She realised that this didn’t suit her and that what she enjoyed more about cinema was the other actors. She was passionate about their game, their text, their role, that’s what she would change. She then started to write a story that she had in her head, without really knowing what she wanted to do. She read it to Jacques Audiard who encouraged her to continue and even to make it into a film. She who had simply thought she would share this scene with a director to see it transformed in his hands, found herself the director of her first film in spite of herself.

A sincere and profound first film

When Anne Fontaine directed her first film, she didn’t have any training as a film maker, nor about cinematography, nor any technical knowledge, and she was very afraid about not being up to it. Finally she decided that technique or references were of little importance. What mattered was the sincerity of the process, the bond which links the director to their subject. If the bond is strong and profound, then the rest is of little importance. Les histoires d’amour finessent mal…en general, is a film full of freshness, a film which is still undecided, with its little blunders, the awkwardness of a first film, but a film which is true, fragile, which speaks about youth, love and ambiguity. It talks for the first time about the banlieues, and integration in a different manner, without clichés and without stigmatism.

The surprise of the first time

When she learned that her film had been selected for the Critics’ Week at Cannes in 1993, Anne Fontaine did not believe it at first. A first film is always imperfect, clumsy, so for it to be selected at Cannes, there inevitably seemed to be a mistake! And then, once she’d overcome her disbelief, she let herself enjoy it. A great joy, childlike, unique, strong. Something incomparable, just because it was the first time. For her, almost 20 years later, no matter what great success she has, nothing will ever mean as much as that first victory.

Jeff Nichols - Take Shelter

Festival de Cannes 2011

Jeff Nichols - Take Shelter

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