The director of Anaïs in Love, star of the best romantic comedy of 2022

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Anais in love is not your typical romantic comedy. In fact, some people may not even see it as such. The film, which marks the directorial debut of writer-director Charline Bourgeois-Tacquet, tells the breathless and charming story of a woman whose relentless pursuit of joy leads her to seek the female partner of a a man with whom she had previously had an affair. . In his tone, attitude and presentation, Anais in love has more in common with the films of Eric Rohmer and Noah Baumbach than with When Harry Met Sally or Notting Hill.

But Anais in love also has all the things a good rom-com demands. It has a playful sense of humor from its first scene to its last, several loud jokes and sight gags, and two charming and charismatic performances from Anaïs Demoustier and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi. It’s also brimming with joy and romance, and features one of the most delightful inversions of the standard rom-com encounter of any film in recent years.

Bourgeois-Tacquet and Demoustier spoke with Digital Trends about crafting the film’s unique love story. They also reveal how their film collaboration began and open up about what Demoustier calls the “complicated and paradoxical process” of getting inside the head of a character who refuses to be analyzed.

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Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Digital Trends: The first thing I’m interested in is: how did you two meet, and how did that lead to Anais in love?

Charline Bourgeois Tacquet: We met when I was writing my short film Pauline enslaved, directed by Stéphane Demoustier, and for the casting of the main character, we both thought of Anaïs, who happens to be Stéphane’s sister. Anaïs was an actress that I admired a lot, but I hadn’t really dared to ask her to participate, but Stéphane encouraged me, so I held out my hand.

Anaïs read the script and seemed to like it, so we met over coffee and got on very well. Our collaboration together on the short film was so wonderful that it was obvious that we would continue to work together for a long time.

Anaïs Demoustier wears a red dress in Anaïs in Love.
Photos of magnolias, 2022

Anaïs is very dispersed at the start of the film, but she still feels sure of herself. How did you work together to cross that line between making her look busy and messy, but also determined?

Anais Demoustier: I wasn’t so sure she was going to be friendly. This is something that sometimes worried me. For the times when her reactions were more removed from me and my own personality, I really tried to get into her mind and tried to understand where she was coming from so that I could communicate the emotional transitions she makes throughout. throughout the movie. As an actress, that’s what I did. While doing it, I realized how much more enjoyable it is to play this kind of character. She has such an outrageous personality.

Charline Bourgeois Tacquet: I think the key to this character is the fact that she’s a young woman following her desire and there just happens to be some collateral damage sometimes. Writing a comedy interested me, and I knew that because Anaïs was playing it, she was going to give the character a presence that was going to allow me to go far enough in her actions while keeping her likeable. The idea was for her to follow her desire and to be followed and it was a story that I had great confidence in, and I trusted Anaïs to be able to find the right balance in that as a interpreter.

Anaïs Demoustier and Valeria Bruni Tedeschi look at each other in Anaïs in Love.
Photos of magnolias, 2022

I think the movie is one of the most interesting romantic comedies I’ve seen in a long time. The way Anaïs falls in love with Emilie before she even meets her feels like an intentional riff on a typical cinematic encounter. Was it?

Charline Bourgeois Tacquet: I don’t know the romantic comedy genre very well. It’s not something I watched a lot, so it’s not really something I had in mind when creating this movie. But I wanted to make a movie about love, and I wanted it to be a comedy, so all of those things are there. In terms of the length of his introduction to Emilie, I think you’re right, it’s an inversion.

You know, I would say that her first real encounter with Emilie is of course when she sees her image. But there is this very important, pivotal moment, which occurs when Anaïs is in Emilie’s bathroom and sees Emilie’s things. How it plays out is up to you: it’s their first real interaction so to speak, and it’s a reversal. The progressive nature of this attraction is that it does not begin as a physical attraction. It begins as an intellectual attraction and it is the curiosity she feels as a result that leads Anaïs to Emilie.

Daniel kisses the back of Anaïs' head in Anaïs in Love.
Photos of magnolias, 2022

Anaïs, how did you find yourself in the character? She doesn’t have many introspective moments in the film.

Anais Demoustier: Hmm, it’s true. It was a somewhat complicated and paradoxical process. For me, it was really trusting Charline’s writing, which is such a driving force that I was able to retain. It allowed me to be in this state of constant excess where she talks too much and she runs too much.

It was a very physical process for me to get into character, but once it was going, the balance between his actions and his own self-awareness became kind of obvious because I realized that someone who is so external must be balanced in some other, internal way.

Anais in love will hit theaters on April 29 and will be available to stream on demand on May 6.

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