“Something Ours” | Vanity Fair Italy

This article was published in issue 44, 2015. and today we present it again to trace the changes Vanity has become the protagonist of over the past 20 years. Here are all the articles we republish.

She pulls up the ends of the cardigan, rolls it up like a blanket, looks shy and modest. She doesn’t even look like the usual Angelina, always so powerful and glorious, in her beauty as a star and as a public person. This time it’s like a debutant director saying (literally) “it’s up to you to judge if I was capable or not” and “I think it’s a European-flavoured film, but she, being European, will be able to tell if I’m wrong.” “. Movie By sea (out November 12), Angelina’s third director, but the first in which she stars (In the land of blood and honey AND Unbroken he only directed them) and this is the first film since Mr. and Mrs. Smith, in which she and Brad Pitt play together. But above all, compared to the previous ones, this is a very personal film, and after reading this interview, you will understand why.
Filmed in Gozo (Malta), even if the action takes place in the south of France, in a small bay in the Mediterranean. By sea follows Vanessa and Rolanda Bertrand (the last name of Angelina’s mother, Marcheline, who passed away in 2007 at the age of 56 after a long battle with cancer), a New York City couple who have been married for 14 years and are clearly in crisis. He is a writer who devotes himself more to alcohol than to the pages of a developing novel, she is a former dancer who retired from the stage and takes pills to numb her depression.

The reasons for this pain and the conflicting relationship between husband and wife will be gradually revealed throughout the film with hints of Hitchcockian tension. Roland and Vanessa love and hate each other, they move closer and further away from each other, using a couple of unknown young people (actors Mélanie Laurent and Melville Poupo) during their honeymoon in the same place as a distorted mirror of what is with them is happening. As Brad Pitt says: “They remind, especially Vanessa, the character played by Angie, who they were and who they can no longer be.”

This is all set in the mid-1970s, a time of experimentation and sexual revolution, and the film is full of themes, from erotic fantasies to the type of misunderstanding between couples that Francesco De Gregori would describe as mixing his alibi with the arguments of others. Also produced with the help of the great European cinematographer Christian Berger (historical collaborator Michael Haneke), this film is an adult love story that does not take any particular film as a model, but as Brad Pitt, who also co-produced, explains, is very inspired by the pairing of John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands (in this case director and actress) “because it was fantastic to try to do something of your own, with great sincerity, free from machine dynamics studios“.

There is a recurring scene in the film: Vanessa-Angelina always leaves her sunglasses down, Roland-Brad puts them back on the right side. “It’s a metaphor,” says Brad. “It means that he is still fighting to save the couple, to get them back on their feet. But the starting point is a real detail of our life together: Angie always leaves her glasses like this, and I spend time adjusting them.

A film about the crisis of a couple produced by the most famous couple in world cinema. Aren’t you afraid that people will think that you open the bedroom door?
“We were afraid of it. We discussed it among ourselves and with some friends. But then we decided to go ahead anyway. I don’t care what people think, what conclusions they come to. What you see in the film is, of course, not our problem. If they were, it would be impossible to put them.”

But what did this experience mean to you? And in particular, what was it like leading your husband?
“Beautiful, but difficult. We experienced a new way of communicating with each other, respecting our differences in sensitivity. Brad knew he was playing what I wrote, his wife. It was an exchange of mutual trust, an act of love, both artists and people.”

When did you write the film?
“Many years ago. Again as an experiment, just for myself. I had no idea that one day it would actually become a film. It’s quite another thing to write something without knowing if it will be published. You are freer. I wanted to write about every woman’s relationship with her body, the fear that we can’t control it.When I wrote this, I was far from solving my health problems.But, of course, I thought a lot about my mother, about the difficulties and pain that she But then I put it in a box and it stayed there for a long time.Whenever Brad and I told each other that we wanted to make a movie together, we considered a number of other projects, and then, in the end, we said: “Oh yes, that will happen too. This crazy project. And it really was: we went to shoot this film right after we got married. An odd choice for a honeymoon.”

When the health problems really surfaced, how did you feel about this short circuit between fiction and real life?
“I got a call and was told that during the editing of the film I was in danger of developing cancer. Completing this was painful and purifying at the same time. I also thought to myself that maybe somewhere, subconsciously, I felt that sooner or later I would have to face some trials in life.

Why the seventies?
“Because it was an unusually free and creative period in many areas, from politics to art. In the cinema, there was a place for imperfect, non-standard works. There was no need to conform at all costs to the perceived or real tastes of the public, as is the case today even in many films in which I myself have acted. Today, everything is more glossy, polls are conducted before the release to find out what people think about this or that scene. In such a controlled context, it is more difficult to create complex, multi-dimensional characters. I really wanted to do it: to tell it purely, authentically, without conventions.

The last time we met, she told me that she would be focusing more and more on directing and less and less on acting. It seems that, at least in part, this is the case. What kind of director is he?
“Student, still studying.”

What does a good director look like to you?
“I’m not a big fan of a military setting where the director is in full command. For me, the most important thing is to have a good family on set, where everyone will try their best and work together.”

Next movie?
“I’m going to start filming in Cambodia. This time the film is based on a book, a true story. Has a name First they killed my father: Cambodia’s daughter remembers. Maddox, my oldest son, who is Cambodian, will be my co-producer. He asked me if he wanted to know more about his country of origin.”

His co-producer? But he’s 14!
“He already assisted me in Malta, on the set By sea. Good!”.

And the rest, do they already have some kind of vocation for your profession?
“It seems to me that none of them wants to be an actor, and this, I think, is good. But everyone draws, plays, writes… They will find their way.”

Speaking of children, there is a lot of discussion in Italy about gender education. Your daughter Shiloh dresses like a boy. Do you think you have a different approach to the education of boys and girls among your children?
“Each of my children is an individual, gender has nothing to do with it. I don’t make any distinction, I just encourage them to live and do what makes them happy. So: Shiloh is Shiloh and dresses as she wants.

If you could divert the attention of the media from the constant scrutiny of your personal life to an issue close to your heart, what would it be?
“A topic that I have been dealing with for many years: refugees. But I wish the title didn’t always last one day and then move on to something else.”

Last summer, the world stared in shock at a photo of a refugee child who died on a Turkish beach in Bodrum. What do you think is the most appropriate behavior in such cases? Show or avoid pain-related pornography?
“I’m certainly not the type of person who says, ‘Spare me the crude images’, but I understand both positions you report. The real problem, however, is different: there are 60 million refugees in the world, 60 million people who do not live where they would like to live, because they cannot, because they are fleeing from hunger and wars. While I was filming By sea I followed the activities of the Maltese fleet, which managed to save many fleeing children and adults. The reception in Europe has created problems that we are aware of, but this crisis is just one of the consequences of a much larger problem. We need to find solutions at the international level, laws to combat crime against civilians in countries at war, seriously discuss political leadership.”

He turned forty in June. How does he feel?
“Very happy to be alive, to love and be loved. Thank you”.

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