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Delpy encore

After feeble attempts at possible literary sources and pretentious stabs at auteuristic allusions go nowhere, things pick up when the subject turns to dead Polish directors, what it means when you’re tongue turns black, and Freedom Fries. Let’s listen in.

PK: Have you read “Swann in Love?” Because this seems to be a really intense portrait of someone who’s morbidly jealous.

JD: I’ve never read that. The Proust? No I’ve never read that. It sounds horrible for a French person but, like, I like a lot of French writers and Proust is the one I am…there’s a few writers like this who I read and it doesn’t really work for me. I mean maybe I need a more mature…

PK: And you’re reading it in  the original French, too, right?

JD: Yeah, I’m reading it in French, of course. Yeah. No it’s odd. I haven’t been able to read Proust. You know.

PK: You have a lot of allusions to other great movies.  You start with an allusion saying that yours is “Voyage to Italy” with a happy ending. Is that how you would describe the film still?

JD: What?

PK: “Voyage to Italy.”

JD: It’s one of my favorite films. I always love that film about a couple fighting and then they reunite in a religious, almost a miracle moment. I’ve always loved that film. My film couldn’t be more different. Obviously I’m not Rossellini. But I love that film and I wanted to make a reference to it for the very few people that will, you know, get it. At the end when they’re all walking in the crowd and separate and stuff I like it because the film changes tone a little bit and I needed that moment. I kind of always like when people are sad surrounded by happy people. Having fun everywhere and they’re miserable.

PK: You don’t seem to be a sad person yourself, though.

JD: Me sad? I’ve had my times when I was pretty depressed like everyone else. But I fight back. I’m the kind of person that…I don’t get depressed,I get angry.

PK: Are you angry about the fact that you started writing screenplays when you were seventeen and twenty years pass before you can get your first movie made because you were a woman?

JD: My anger is quickly transformed into creative energy. Instead of getting angry and bitter I kept writing more and more and more. Basically that’s my only way of dealing with things. And so instead of having anger that’s destructive it turns quickly into an energy thing. Obviously it’s been very difficult but it’s still going to be very difficult. It’s never going to be easy for me. I know that. And people will try and stop me for making my films and people will be offended by this film I guarantee you. It’s not a safe movie. Some people will be utterly offended by it. Don’t you think?

PK: Well, it’s very earthy. It could offend people on both sides of the political spectrum I could see that.

JD: Definitely. It’s not a safe movie. It’s not a cute movie. I’m actually surprised that the overall response is positive. Because I was thinking of being more attacked and the fact that I did the editing I was expecting a lot more attacks. I’m actually surprised. I’m actually happy to be surprised.

PK: You’ve had experience with some of the top directors of the past twenty years. Krzysztof Kieslowski, Leos Carax, Richard Linklater. Have you learned something from all of these directors?

JD: I’ve learned from all of them. Kieslowski was very supportive when I decided to go to film school in New York. I spent about a year meeting him quite regularly talking about writing screenplays and movie-making and all that and how to make your films your own and no one else’s. Which is funny because everyone’s comparing my film to Woody Allen’s. But I really didn’t mean to. I just am unfortunately neurotic and I think it transpires throughout the film and comes out that way. I love Woody Allen; it’s not a bad compliment, but I know it’s going to backlash on me eventually.

PK: Well, Kieslowski is the Woody Allen of Polish filmmakers.

JD: (laughs). Which is a very different sense of humor

PK: I thought that the “small world” that little philosophical tthat kept popping up was sort of similar to the world of Kieslowski movies.

JD: Yeah, about coincidences. Because Kieslowski is always full of coincidence. Obviously my film is so different but I can guarantee you he would like that film. I can guarantee you. I knew him so well I can guarantee you he would crack up because he had a really really funny sense of humor. And he was not a prude at all. I knew him so well and his sense of humor and he was a very funny man.

PK: Were you shocked when he died suddenly?

JD: I was horrified. Plus, how I found out about it was really awful. I was in Canada and this Italian journalist called me at six in the morning and I picked up the phone and he wanted some raw reaction. He was like “What do you think about Kieslowski’s death?”And I had just spoken to Kieslowski a few weeks before so it was horrible. It was very sad. I was really really sad that he died.

PK: It was a terrible loss for cinema.

JD: Yeah and plus it could have been have been avoided if he had gone to a good hospital.

PK: Do you think there was a little bit of a death wish involved there?

JD: There are two types of people with big egos and he had a big ego like a lot of creative people without being an egomaniac. He had a huge ego. And the problem is that there are two kinds. There is the kind who feels invincible and there’s the kind that feels that everyone is after them. He was the kind that thought he was invincible and could smoke five packs a day and have high blood pressure and put like crusts of salt on his meat you know what I mean and drink vodka almost every meal and I mean, five packs a day!

PK: So what’s the problem? You quit recently didn’t you?

JD: Yeah, yeah, I quit.

PK: You quit drinking too?

JD: Yeah I never touch a drop of alcohol. I realize it slows me down too much in the morning. I just can’t do that. It makes my body sick. My tongue turns black so I realize I might be slightly allergic to it.

PK: That’s a bad sign

JD: Yeah, usually when your tongue turns bluish black that’s a bad sign. (laughs)

PK: So you’ve got two movies coming out now. “The Countess” is one.

JD: “The Countess.” But also I wanted to say that Richard Linklater, not in the directing so much but the fact that he let me write so much of “Before Sunset” and a lot of “Before Sunrise” as well, made me realize that I could write because I had written before but always been rejected. The fact that my writing was validated in “Before Sunset” and stuff.

PK: Well it got an Oscar nomination

JD: Yeah. Yeah it kind of made me realize the possibilities. Even though my writing in this one is very different and very harsh and all that. I so didn’t want to do the same film. I didn’t think that would be very smart. I didn’t make a romantic film this time you know. I took the other side of me. “The Countess” is a film I wrote and I’m going to be directing and starring in.

PK: I heard you’ll be bathing in blood.

JD: I’ll be bathing in blood. The film is about vanity and cruelty. Then there is “World Wars and Other Fun Stuff to Watch on the Evening News,” which will not please politically some people also. If I get to make it, because I doubt I will ever get the money for that film. Well, no, actually that’s not true. I have two companies interested already.

PK: It’s a satire, right?

JD: It’s a satire. But it’s really kind of goofy so I can’t imagine anyone being offended by it. I mean anyone in their right mind apart from the people that still call French fries Freedom Fries will get offended by it but I don’t  know who are those people still calling french friends Freedom Fries

PK: Did you ever call them Freedom Fries?

JD: I still call them Freedom Fries, actually.

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