Louis Garrel has come to enchant Febiofest with A Faithful Man, his second film behind the camera. Again he himself appears in the picture as a man named Abel. “It’s a kind of mask – maybe I’ll keep the name for my next film. In doing so I’m kind of imitating Arnaud Desplechin, who in doing so is imitating Philip Roth,” Garrel said during a Q&A, explaining why his character in A Faithful Man shares a name with his one in directorial debut Two Friends.
During the lively discussion the audience learned why the French star likes acting in his own films and casts those close to him, including his wife Laetitia Casta in A Faithful Man. “As a director you can get a bit bored. On the set the director is everybody’s father and the actor is everybody’s child. For me it’s fun being both. I enjoy that schizophrenia. And when you act alongside a woman you know well, it immediately brings something genuine to the film. Also I’m used to it. My father is a director and my mother’s an actress. As a child I appeared in a film where my father played my father, my mother my mother, my dad’s ex-girlfriend his ex-girlfriend and my grandfather my grandfather. So I don’t cast relatives just so I can pay them less. It’s a kind of family think, like with circus people.”
Garrel also revealed to viewers how much of A Faithful Man, which enters Czech cinema distribution on 4 April, was autobiographical (“When I was a child I also secretly recorded my parents in the bedroom”). Another issue that came up was what he does when he’s not working. “Sometimes I ski. Or I go to cafés in Paris and observe how funny people are, like a character in a Jacques Tati film. I also take anti-anxiety pills. Once I had an anxiety attack in a taxi so I put on an interview with Woody Allen to calm down. But right there Woody Allen was melancholy and responded to the question of why he shoots a film a year by saying that otherwise he’d start to contemplate the meaning of the world and why it’s so empty.”