Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Steve Carell Redefined His Career By Surprising Everyone in 'Foxcatcher' Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Watch: Ellar Coltrane on the 'Brutal' Experience of Watching 'Boyhood' After Living It Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Mortem Tyldum Explains Why Alan Turing Was the Right Subject For His First English-Language Film Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Why Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ is a Great, Unexpected Awards Season Frontrunner Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 
Watch: Patricia Arquette on Stripping Away Ego to Get to the Heart of 'Boyhood' 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived 'Whiplash' Breakout Miles Teller Has Officially Arrived Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Michael Keaton Dug Deep to Deliver the Best Performance of His Career in 'Birdman' Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Mark Ruffalo Explains Why Dave Schultz Was One of the Most Complex Characters He's Ever Played Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Keira Knightley on 'The Imitation Game' and Why Awards Matter Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Katherine Waterston On the Good and Bad of Working With Paul Thomas Anderson Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Emma Stone Proved She Can Do It All in 2014 Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Jon Stewart is Off to a Strong Start with Directorial Debut 'Rosewater' Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Awards Spotlight: Don't Be Surprised When J.K. Simmons Takes Home Oscar Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Jessica Chastain Proved She's a Total Chameleon in 2014 Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Laura Poitras on 'CITIZENFOUR,' The Most Dangerous Work She's Ever Done Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Jake Gyllenhaal On Doing Very Bad Things in 'Nightcrawler' Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Channing Tatum Explains Why It Took Him Eight Years to Have the ‘Balls’ for ‘Foxcatcher’ Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Ethan Hawke Didn't Know That Richard Linklater Would Bring 'Boyhood' Home So Well Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie Jack O'Connell Explains What It’s Like to Work For Angelina Jolie 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey 'Red Army' Director Gabe Polsky Reveals the Story of Soviet Hockey How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season How Felicity Jones is Getting Noticed This Awards Season Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' Edward Norton Goes Full-Blown For Alejandro González Iñárritu in 'Birdman' How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking How Eddie Redmayne Transformed His Body and Mind to Become Stephen Hawking Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Oscar Isaac Explains How 'A Most Violent Year' Fits With His Other Roles Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh Timothy Spall Almost Went Mad to Play 'Mr. Turner' For Mike Leigh 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film 'Gone Girl' Composer Atticus Ross: How to Write a Score Without Seeing the Film How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake How to Play James Brown, By Chadwick Boseman: Study the Man, Listen to Drake Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Chris Rock on Why Making 'Top Five' Was a No-Brainer Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Steve James and Chaz Ebert Tackled 'Life Itself' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' Bennett Miller Explains Why He Had to Make 'Foxcatcher' How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Do You Roll Six Movies Into One? 'Wild Tales' Director Damian Szifron Explains How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' How Rosario Dawson Stole the Show From Chris Rock in 'Top Five' Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alan Hicks: From Drummer-Surfer to Oscar-Shortlist Filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Alejandro González Iñárritu: 'Birdman' Could Have Been 'so wrong' Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable Amir Bar-Lev Likes to Make People a Little Uncomfortable

Outfest 4 in Focus: Myriam Aziza Uses "The Evening Dress" to Live Out School Daydreams

By Indiewire | Indiewire July 5, 2010 at 2:27AM

Myriam Aziza uses personal experiences to inform her widely admired debut feature, "The Evening Dress" ("La Robe du Soir"). "Like many of her male classmates, 12-year-old tomboy Juliette has a crush on Mrs. Solenska, a teacher distinguished by stylish attire and an uninhibited, provocative classroom demeanor. Juliette's fascination turns into all-consuming obsession, forcing revelations from both the girl and her teacher. A daring coming-of-age story, the film is elegantly commanded by director Myriam Aziza along with a fearless lead performance by young actor Alba Gaia Bellugi." [Synopsis courtesy of Outfest]
1

Myriam Aziza uses personal experiences to inform her widely admired debut feature, "The Evening Dress" ("La Robe du Soir"). "Like many of her male classmates, 12-year-old tomboy Juliette has a crush on Mrs. Solenska, a teacher distinguished by stylish attire and an uninhibited, provocative classroom demeanor. Juliette's fascination turns into all-consuming obsession, forcing revelations from both the girl and her teacher. A daring coming-of-age story, the film is elegantly commanded by director Myriam Aziza along with a fearless lead performance by young actor Alba Gaia Bellugi." [Synopsis courtesy of Outfest]

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is part of a collection of interviews with the filmmakers from Outfest 2010’s “Four In Focus” selection, which features work from four first time directors

Outfest screenings: July 11 & 17

Aziza on her filmmaking journey....

After briefly studying mathematics, I entered the film school FEMIS' filmmaking department in 1991. There, I directed three short films "Sauf le vendredi" ("Except on Fridays"), "Méprises" ("Do not lean out"), "Comme on respire" ("As I breathe") which were given awards at different festivals. After leaving school, I met Sophie Bredier and co-directed with her two documentary films about identity questions, "Nos traces silencieuses" ("Our silent traces") in 1998 and "Séparées" ("Separated") in 2001.

While pursuing different projects, two short films, "Le Pourboire" ("The tip") shot in 2000 and "L’âge de raison" ("The age of reason") in 2004, and my third documentary film "L’an prochain à Jerusalem" ("Next year in Jerusalem") in 2007, I dedicated my partner Sophie Bredier and I dedicated ourselves to writing my first full-length film, "The Evening Dress."

On coming to the story for "The Evening Dress"...

When I was 12, I had a French teacher I liked a lot. I admired her and she was a good role model. I wanted to be her favourite pupil. Throughout this story, I want to deal with the question of the construction of femininity at this peculiar age, between childhood and adulthood, which had not been shown much in cinema. We usually see stories about teenagers, 15 or 16 years old. Mrs. Solenska represents the picture of the inaccessible adult woman, a picture of a perfect and idealized woman, which contrasts with the very common and austere picture of the story's mother.

I also wanted to say something about the power a teacher can have on pupils when the line between education and seduction becomes blurred. More or less, some teachers play with it in order to fill a narcissistic wound. Their class is their theatre stage and the pupils their best audience, but they don’t always realize the impact this has on students. Throughout this story, I wanted to do a portrait of two lonelinesses: the child’s one which is filled by imagination and the adult’s one which takes refuge in the positive picture sent by the pupils.

I was interested by taking the point of view of Juliette, by being in her mind. We must guess and share her emotions by staying constantly with her point of view and we must feel like her even when she gets out of control or she betrays or she denounces. We see how much her feelings compel her to act out. The unbounded imagination of Juliette is the main dynamic of the story.

I tried to show what she feels thanks to pictures and a work on sensations. Beauty, colours and love are missing to Juliette and these lacks express themselves more on the body than in the mind. Her fantasies are based on the imagination and this imagination takes in the reality to build itself : a dress, a colour, a smell …

On artistic choices....

I wanted light, sunshine, bright colours, heat which contrast and emphasize the loneliness and her pain. I chose to film in cinemascope because this format anchors the movie in the fiction. Paradoxically it allows to materialize in the picture the emptiness around Juliette. For this film, I wanted the direction to be in the service of the story and of the emotion. The sobriety allows her to highlight the emotional strength.

During the writing and the preparation of the film, I thought a lot about two films : "Misunderstood" from Luigi Comencini and "The 400 blows" from François Truffaut. In those two films we are always in the child’s point of view, and Comencini and Truffaut express something very strong about loneliness of childhood. I was also very inspired by the directing of Terry Zwigoff’s "Ghost World" and Kubrick’s "The Shining."

And now...

I’m presently writing the script for my next feature film “Coming In," a comedy about a Jewish young woman shared between a woman and a black Muslim man. It’s a reflection about communities, sexual and religious identities.

This article is related to: Queer Cinema, Features, Interviews, Outfest






Check out Indiewire on LockerDome on LockerDome



Awards Season Spotlight

Contender Conversations

Indiewire celebrates the best and brightest from Independent film, Hollywood, and foreign cinema.

More