“I’d be directing myself and him in a scene where we’re having a fight, and I’d be pulling out the parts [of him] that have an aggression toward me or when you’re frustrated with each other —it was very heavy,” Angelina Jolie recently told the DGA Quarterly about directing herself and her husband Brad Pitt in her latest directorial effort “By The Sea.” “We kept joking that all of the crew felt like they were living in a house where the parents were fighting, and you don’t know where to stand or where to look.”
Filmed in Malta with a primarily European crew and cast, “By The Sea,” looks and sounds like it is heavily influenced by European cinema from the ’60s and ‘70s by filmmakers like Luchino Visconti or Robert Rossellini. Jolie described the film as “an art film, the kind of movie that I like to see but not something I’m usually cast in,” but the emotionally taxing relationship aspect of the film isn’t something she’s probably going to tackle again any time soon. “We’re proud of ourselves for being brave enough to try it. I think ‘By the Sea’ was the hardest film for me, because it wasn’t [issue-driven]. It’s something I probably won’t do very much of.”
Written, directed and produced by Jolie, the international ensemble includes by Mélanie Laurent, Niels Arestrup, Melvil Poupaud and Richard Bohringer. Here’s the official synopsis:
By the Sea follows an American writer named Roland (Pitt) and his wife, Vanessa (Jolie Pitt), who arrive in a tranquil and picturesque seaside resort in 1970s France, their marriage in apparent crisis. As they spend time with fellow travelers, including young newlyweds Lea (Laurent) and François (Poupaud), and village locals Michel (Arestrup) and Patrice (Bohringer), the couple begins to come to terms with unresolved issues in their own lives.
Shot by Austrian cinematographer Christian Berger (“The White Ribbon”) using mostly natural light as well. “You’re not conscious of the light, and so you’re also not conscious of staying in the light or how you look,” Jolie said. “It made me act differently and made me direct differently too.”
“By The Sea” will be released on November 13th, which is a bit too early for the AFI Film Festival. So it’ll be interesting to see where it turns up on the fall festival circuit. Regardless, the first trailer is here, so watch it below and let us know what you think.