When setting out to create his film Godard Mon Amour, director and screenwriter Michel Hazanavicius didn’t want to change Anne Wiazemsky’s story.

“So it actually comes from the book written by Anne Wiazemsky, played by Stacy Martin here, and I fell in love with the characters and the story and the context and everything and so I bought the rights of the book, and then I tried to make a script for a movie,” Hazanavicius told uInterview exclusively. “I didn’t change the story itself, but the way to tell the story. I tried to make it more cinematographic.”

Godard Mon Amour follows a moment in the lives of couple filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard and his wife, Wiazemsky. The real-life Godard met and fell in love with the teenage Wiazemsky when she acted in one of his films, and they later married.

Actress Martin, who plays Wiazemsky in Godard Mon Amour, said that the film portrays Godard during an interesting point in his life both creatively and politically. She said he’s questioning his plays and his responsibility to what he makes and how audiences are impacted by it.

“He’s a man who’s in conflict with himself and with the world, and it’s something that’s extremely funny at times and it’s something that’s extremely tragic at other times,” Martin told uInterview exclusively.

Hazanavicius agreed with Martin’s take on Godard.

 

“Yes, as she said, the movie’s both a tragedy and a comedy,” Hazanavicius said. “And also, since he never tried to be — to pretend he was empathetic. It was not his point. I mean, he tried to find some new categories for cinema. That was his point. So it was very freeing for me as a screenwriter to work on a character who doesn’t have to be sympathetic. It’s very freeing because you can also show his negative side, and the challenge is how you keep the empathy of the audience for a character who can be such an asshole.”

Hazanavicius completed a large amount of research before setting out to create the movie, and it gave him more perspective on Godard as a person.

Oscars 2018: Best Dressed Slideshow!

“I worked a lot on him — I read a lot of things, I saw, of course, his movies and a lot of interviews, and I think he has a lot of defaults, but he’s very humble,” Hazanavicius said. “He doesn’t pretend to be the great Jean-Luc Godard, not at all. So it might be a mark of humility to say, ‘Making a movie about me is a stupid idea.’ Could be a mark of humility.”

Read uInterview’s full, exclusive interview with Martin and Hazanavicius below.

Where did the idea for the film come from?

Michel Hazanavicius: So it actually comes from the book written by Anne Wiazemsky, played by Stacy Martin here, and I fell in love with the characters and the story and the context and everything and so I bought the rights of the book, and then I tried to make a script for a movie. I didn’t change the story itself, but the way to tell the story. I tried to make it more cinematographic.

Stacy, who is your character Anne?

Stacy Martin: So she was married to [Jean-Luc] Godard, and the film is a very specific moment in their life. She had just worked with him in La Chinoise.

I mean, as much as the film is based on these two characters, it’s also an interpretation of people that we know in our conscious minds but are also — almost become a myth. So it’s also forgetting the myth and kind of bringing it back to the people and to the love story that it is. And in a way, just as much as Jean-Luc Godard played in the film, their own characters — they’re characters. They’re not kind of the representation of these people.

What side of Godard is shown in this film?

SM: We see a man who’s in a very specific point in his life, creatively, politically and I think he’s questioning his plays and his responsibility to what he makes and how it impacts on people. But he’s a man who’s in conflict with himself and with the world, and it’s something that’s extremely funny at times and it’s something that’s extremely tragic at other times.

MH: Yes, as she said, the movie’s both a tragedy and a comedy. And also, since he never tried to be — to pretend he was empathetic. It was not his point. I mean, he tried to find some new categories for cinema. That was his point. So it was very freeing for me as a screenwriter to work on a character who doesn’t have to be sympathetic. It’s very freeing because you can also show his negative side, and the challenge is how you keep the empathy of the audience for a character who can be such an asshole. How would you say in — 

SM: Asshole.

MH: No I know, but — it’s not about — in clean words.

SM: In clean words? Overpowering man.

MH: Overpowering — well, asshole is better. And yeah, he can be very small and human. Human is a nice word to say as to be an asshole, I think.

How did you feel about Godard’s reaction to the film?

MH: Well you know what? First, maybe, he was right. But I think it was a — we should ask him, actually, because it’s his goat, not mine. But I worked a lot on him — I read a lot of things, I saw, of course, his movies and a lot of interviews, and I think he has a lot of defaults, but he’s very humble. He doesn’t pretend to be the great Jean-Luc Godard, not at all. So it might be a mark of humility to say, ‘Making a movie about me is a stupid idea.’ Could be a mark of humility.

Which was your favorite scene to film?

SM: I really enjoyed the scene in the car. It was one, uninterrupted scene where we are … six in the car, and it was extremely difficult. We did a lot of takes, but it immediately clicked, and there is something so — it’s almost like an Italian comedy, and it encompassed all the elements that we wanted in the film, of it being funny, of it being endearing, of it just being unstoppable as well. I think what Jean-Luc in the film does is he just creates something that he loses control over, and it affects everyone around him and you really see it in that scene, and I mean it was hard. It drove you insane, but it was a really enjoyable manifestation of our intent, and I really enjoyed that.

MH: Yeah, I was going to talk about this sequence because for me it was very challenging because I planned to shoot it with one shot, and it’s a very long sequence with six characters all talking, but also arguing and also keeping silent for a while, and I had no option to cut the sequence. So it was all in one shot, and for me, the challenge was to edit it on set. That meaning, usually when the actors say their lines, they don’t speak on the other lines, and they don’t speak in the same time, and so they wait for them. So we had to fix all this, and to make it alive, and also to respect the silences because it’s very — I love to see the characters thinking on screen, when you let them [have] the time to think of what they’re gonna say. Because it was a long shot, we had to fix everything. And when it was good, someone was laughing because it was good, so we had to [go] back to the beginning and we did that sequence for one day and a half. You already said that.

SM: No, I didn’t. But we did about 33 takes.

MH: Yeah, exactly. And it was really — but it was really, yeah, creative, and it’s the first time that I had this feeling of editing a sequence on set. And it was great, and you can do this when you have six really good actors. I was a little bit nervous about it.

SM: Just a bit.

MH: Because of — no, no, it’s not true. I was a little bit nervous because there was this guy, the guy who drives the car, I mean it was his first day. I mean, he had one day, so I was nervous. He could have spoiled the entire sequence, and actually it was really good. But you have to have the six actors, good, in the same shot. It was something. But there’s a lot of sequences, technically, maybe more difficult, like the huge protests.

What was it like filming in Paris?

MH: The city of Paris was very supportive, and we went in the streets in Paris where things happened for real, and we had 700 extras. It was huge.

Leave a comment

Read more about: