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Interview: Ludivine Sagnier

By PETER HYMAN  |  August 26, 2008

What was it like working with the Hitchcock of France, Claude Chabrol?
It was great because he’s a monument and I felt like I was becoming part of history. He’s not very talkative about the psychological background of his characters, but he loves to chat about what he likes and dislikes in cinema, directors he loves and hates, so working with him is like opening a big film encyclopedia.

The film is set in Lyon. If New York is the Paris of the United States, what American city would you compare Lyon to?
San Francisco. Beautiful in many ways but it still has a provincial side.

Pretense plays a big role in the film, and Chabrol lampoons the pettiness of television. How do you feel working in an industry so preoccupied with appearance and celebrity?
In Europe we’re not as obsessed with celebrity as you seem to be here. Being an actor, for us, is having the mission of expressing things to the public, and enlightening people, making them think and dream, so celebrity is not really part of my life. I take the Métro, I walk around Paris, I don’t get any paparazzi. We don’t get bothered in France.

Your father is a professor. Were you attracted to bookish, writer types, as your character is in the film?

Any thoughts on who might win the US Presidential election in November?
It’s obvious. In Europe it’s not a debate. In France we already say he’s won. Come on, the other one is so old.

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