The presence, at the top of the bill, of Maripier Morin, makes “Arlette” one of the most anticipated films of the summer. Directed by Mariloup Wolfe and starring, among others, Gilbert Sicotte and David La Haye with appearances by Lara Fabian and Micheline Lanctôt, this comedy with sometimes black humor examines without complacency our relationship to the image.
• On the other hand: Maripier Morin: “I am an alcoholic, drug addict and still in therapy”
“Our relationship to the image is so biased today because of social networks, because of this pressure that we feel from society to exist and to be seen”, by the commentator Maripier Morin during the interviews of promoting the movie. And she knows something about it, having made her debut on the small screen in the reality show “Double occupation” before becoming one of the “beauties” of “Banquier” then finally columnist, star presenter adored by the public… before its pedestal following allegations of sexual assault, inappropriate behavior and racist proposals.
If the review is strong today in “Arlette”, it is because Mariloup Wolfe chose it after a rigorous audition process. A choice that she had to defend tooth and nail. “I have a lot of candor, confided the filmmaker. And I honestly don’t think it would have been that big. I did a really creative job, I gave him four auditions. […] Was I aware of what had been said? Yes, some evenings. After… Is it up to me to be the court? It’s not my personality. And I find that a pity for all craftsmen.
“When Maripier is at the audition, the words in his mouth sounded completely different. She has a vulnerability and a fragility and the words then took on a whole new meaning. I was shaken,” she noted.
Unite so long wait
The feature film follows Arlette Saint-Amour (Maripier Morin), a magazine director appointed Minister of Culture by the Premier (Gilbert Sicotte) of Quebec. Immediately from the civil attack on the male political class, he quickly joins the Minister of Finance (David La Haye) in demanding that he fulfill the party’s election promise to grant his ministry $100 million. And the battle that Arlette liberated will not only be political.
By staging a young woman thrown into the “lion fora” of politics, “Arlette”, this “widespread fable” for the filmmaker, sometimes grating and often fierce, tackles misogyny, feminism and the brutality of the political by insisting on the image that we conceive through remarkably well-written dialogues, historical and cultural references and winks that grate without complacency those who govern us.
‘Arlette’ had already been the subject of deposits with institutions, Marie Vien (“La passion d’Augustine”) having worked on the screenplay for 10 years. When the project arrives in the hands of Mariloup Wolfe, “you already have 24 hours to give my answer. After reading, I needed to know the author. It’s a strong proposition, it’s a satirical comedy, a fable that has no moral, I had to adhere to it, understand it, have images.
“All the references to the monarchy, to Versailles, it completely turned me on. I had just, in addition to watching “The Crown”. With “Arlette”, I was in a modern world with universal themes such as culture – it’s always the same debate -, money, feminism, this woman catapulted into another environment of which she does not know how it works and who makes mistakes, the power of the image, all the historical references… There were so many things I could have fun with and not be “straight”.
The director visualized everything from the start. “We take on the intertitles, we take on the humor, we take on the irony, we take on the satire, plus all that – and it was really my hobbyhorse – in a minimalist, true game. And the has also enlisted the services of Yves Bélanger, director of photography who is a frequent collaborator of Jean-Marc Vallée.
From ZZ Top to Lara Fabian
In the casting, Mariloup Wolfe chose her actors according to “their intensity. I am someone who likes intensity, passion, investment. I like those who dare, regardless of their opinions. I like people who aren’t afraid to beat themselves up, people who aren’t going to be afraid of being ugly, people who are going to let themselves go.
In addition to Maripier Morin, Gilbert Sicotte becomes Prime Minister, Antoine Bertrand, Leader of the Opposition, Benoît Brière as a political attaché, Paul Ahmarani as a press attaché, Lara Fabian, French Minister for Trade – amusing anecdote: Jean Dujardin and Omar Sy were approached , the more they were not available –… and Micheline Lanctôt, President of the National Assembly. For the latter, the filmmaker took “Queen Elizabeth II as a reference. She did it out of friendship because she was my teacher at Concordia.
As for David La Haye, he wanted to play the press officer. At the auditions, “I had a beard on my sternum and long hair. I had the ZZ Top look! Mariloup tells me that I have my hearing, that I follow a lot, that I respond easily and to indications… and that I ask that I think of the Minister of Finance. That she offered me this role when I had this look! I admit that I was scared because this role is the opposite of me, it’s tough, austere. And epidemic, he is misogynistic while I am quite the opposite. The comedian drew on his classic theater repertoire to perform sonnage, making “a mix between Iago [personnage du “Othello” de Shakespeare] and Richard III”.
Maripier Morin prepared herself for “four months of intensified “coaching”. When I take on a project, I choose a coach linked to the project. Mariloup accepted that I work with Daniel Parent. I knew everyone’s text. Without divulging anything, the actress also shot an intimate scene with Lara Fabian. “It’s one of my favorite moments on set. Lara is infinitely sweet, so kind. Like all women, I have a strange relationship with my body while I find hers so beautiful. And I thought we had the same kind of body and I found it funny to be able to think she was beautiful when I was still belittling myself, like we all do. From that day, there was a “before” and an “after” in the way I see my body. This whole movie was therapeutic for so many reasons.
The icing on the cake, “Arlette” will be present at the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival at the end of August. “We are so content! Their enthusiasm for the film! I felt like crying because the process has been difficult for the past year. Having outside people who only appreciate Marie’s text, the acting, the cinematographic proposal… it was a balm for me! And we will also be presented in Namur in Belgium. The film begins its little European life,” concludes Mariloup Wolfe.
“Arlette” arrives in the dark rooms of the province from August 5th.