Saturday, October 04, 2008

Beatrice Dalle forever

Upon the release of her latest movie, New Wave (made for the ARTE channel), the French weekly arts mag Les Inrockuptibles recently ran a great Q&A with Béatrice Dalle, one of my favorite actresses. When Dalle burst onto the French film scene with Betty Blue in 1986, she felt like an untameable force of nature. And she hasn't calmed down since, remaining an idiosyncratic presence both on and off screen. She brings a nuclear intensity to everything she does, making an impression in the shortest scenes, even doing next to nothing—few have her ability to be magnetic just being there. Check out this scene from Christophe Honoré's first feature, 17 fois Cécile Cassard, where she dances with Romain Duris then just smokes by herself. (By the way, it's pretty insulting that YouTube feels the need to post a disclaimer that the video may be insuitable for minors considering that it's completely chaste, so the only red flag has got to be the fact that two men slow-dance together.) And then there are berserk starring roles in berserk movies, like Claire Denis's Trouble Every Day and the recent horror flick A l'intérieur, in which she plays a psychopath trying to steal a baby—while it's still in the womb. (Can I just say how good these trailers are, especially compared to American ones? None of that Moviefone-guy voiceover crap, and they don't give away the entire plot either.)

Plus whereas most French actors are happy to lead completely boring lives, Dalle lives. She was with rapper Joey Starr, from NTM, for ten years or something, has been arrested for shoplifting and cocaine possession, is now married to an inmate she met while volunteering in prisons. This carefree attitude leads to her giving fantastic interviews. Here she is on a French talk show, for instance, ostensibly to plug A l'intérieur.

Some choice quotes from the aforementioned interview in Les Inrockuptibles:

Q: You play an incestuous mother in New Wave. Was it difficult?
A: She wasn't very far from me. Well, you understand her when you look at the kid—he's too cute (laughs). The scene I enjoyed shooting most actually was the most dramatic of the movie. But it was much easier for me to play than the scene where I make crepes. I've never done that in my life, or ever put anything on a plate! I think I'd be more comfortable doing a gang-bang scene!

Q: Do you think you're typecast in dramatic parts?
A: Yeah, but that's all I'd like to do. Besides, ever since making A l'interieur, I really want gore and special effects. I'd love to play an elf but they don't think of me for those parts. I'm tired of going to family-planning offices, to play realistic or social roles!

Q: Were you new wave in the 80s?
A: New wave, me? Don't insult me! I hung out with punks.

Q: Do you follow the American presidential campaign?
A: It's not my country but I still have to put up with them. It's really going to suck if this McCain is elected. Especially since he pulled out his joker with Sarah Palin. She's a devil this one: She's got overly tailored suits, a son in the army, the works! She even put Obama on the defensive by saying he's not proud of his country. Asked about her, Obama said, "Yeah, I'm not sure." He wasn't asked if he screwed her but what he thinks about her. He was like a kid who just got spanked.

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