Marlène Jobert finds her audience at 81: “incredible!”
(AFP) – Packed houses and standing ovation: Marlène Jobert, soon to be 82, known for both her career as an actress and storyteller, received “to her great surprise” a star welcome this week at the festival Light, in Lyons.
“It’s incredible! It upset me, I did not expect there to be so many people, to be remembered,” said in an interview with AFP the one who lives retired for years in Normandy.
Since she stopped the cinema, thirty years ago, she “goes out very little”, devotes herself to writing, enjoys her garden – she “loves nature”.
When she was invited to the festival to present the documentary dedicated to her by Dominique Besnehard, one of her fervent admirers and friends, she “didn’t really want to”.
Her oldest fans remember the actress: more than thirty films, series and TV movies shot between 1964 and 1989 with famous actors and directors – Lino Ventura, Gérard Depardieu, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Charles Bronson, Kirk Douglas, Orson Welles or behind the camera, Jean-Luc Godard, Michel Audiard, Philippe de Broca, Claude Chabrol, Maurice Pialat.
“The Passenger in the Rain”, in 1970, was his “biggest success”. “I missed out on this glory without realizing it, always with this concern of not being up to it”, she confided to the public during a “master class”.
The youngest grew up lulled by her voice as a storyteller and her children’s books: 27 books, 180 audio books and 20 million copies.
In the documentary “C’est moi… Marlène Jobert”, we only see her but she does not show herself, between excerpts from her films, interviews and archive images.
– “Modest” –
“She is very modest: when I told her about my project, she said to me + do you think it will be of interest? +”, explains the director to AFP.
“Being in the light, that does not interest me too much”, says in her soft voice the one that the media now present as “the mother of Eva Green”, famous for her appearances in major American productions.
Marlène Jobert’s own beginnings were dazzling: she was 23 years old and had not finished her first year of conservatory when she went on stage with Yves Montand. Then she made her first film with Jean-Luc Godard.
She stopped at 40, to devote herself to her twins, but also because she did not feel “cut out for this existence”. She discovers “the art of storytelling”, written to “keep the memory of the moments shared with her daughters”. Now she reads for her two grandsons, Julio and Vittorio, 9 and 11 years old.
Marlène Jobert has long accompanied her daughter on her shoots “because actors need someone close, someone who helps them”, which she regrets not having known. Today “a little tired”, she will not follow her to Greece or Morocco for her next film.
She refused to shoot for François Ozon and declined the role of a “slightly crazy old woman”. “I want to be quiet, to stay in my corner, that’s aging: no longer want stress,” she says, serene.
“I find it hard to bear the idea of decline”, she also wrote in “The kisses of the sun”, a book of memories published in 2014.
If she has lost the freckles that earned her a few maid roles in her early days, she has not aged a bit. And remains very attentive to her image, powders herself before a photo session, worries about the light, asks to control the images.
Cinema today? “There are good films and good directors, but I have the impression that in the past, as the old ladies say, the scripts were more detailed. And then, people prefer to stay at home, it’s sad”.
She experienced #Metoo as a “great” moment: “I was lucky, I didn’t have that problem, but I knew it existed and it was pathetic” says the one who pushed her daughter Eva to denounce the attitude of the American producer Harvey Weinstein.
Finally, she is pleased to have come to Lyon: “I have locked myself in myself too much in recent years and then, this may be my last appearance”.
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