Marguerite is an important film that we ALL need to see, especially in today’s society. We had the opportunity to talk to the highly skilled director Marianne Farley whose film is eligible to be considered for an Oscar about what inspired her to become a director, the challenges she faced whilst filming Marguerite and why it is important for society to watch Marguerite.
Hello, I hope you are well. Let’s start off with you telling us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What other films have you done? What inspired you to become a director?
Hello! I am very well thank you! I hope you are too! I was born in Montreal Canada but moved around quite a bit when I was a child. I lived in many different places in Canada. I became a singer at the age of 18. I recorded an album here in Quebec and then one in France. A few years later, I started studying theatre and quickly fell in love with the craft of acting. The art of filmmaking had always been a great passion of mine so I naturally started producing and then directing. As an actress and producer you are always there to support a director’s vision (which I adore!) but eventually, I yearned to test out my own creative process. I shot my first short film Ransack (Saccage) in 2015. It felt like home. It was a life changing experience for me. To be able to share my vision with audiences all around the globe was incredible, magical! As soon as the film was completed I was eager to get started on another project and I haven’t stopped since.
Can you tell us about the casting process?
I wrote the part of Rachel for my close friend Sandrine Bisson so casting-wise that was easy, but for the part of Marguerite, it was much more of a challenge. I had a very specific idea about what Marguerite should be like. There was something about Marguerite’s vulnerability despite her fortitude that was hard to find. I needed an experienced enough actress to bring the right nuances to the performance. When I met with our casting agent (Gros Plan) we went through all the potential actresses and Béatrice Picard really stood out for me. It was not an obvious choice because she is more of a theatre actress who does a lot of comedy work, but I had a strong intuition that she had the depth the role required and the courage to take it on. I cannot be happier with the decision I made that day. And I was very fortunate that she generously accepted the part of Marguerite. She is an amazing woman!
What challenges did you have while filming Marguerite? And how did you overcome these challenges?
Because the story of MARGUERITE evolves through many seasons, I had to find a way to establish the passage of time. The shoot was in December but there was no snow on the ground yet. For the scene where Marguerite goes to the window to watch Rachel leave, I desperately needed it to snow and we were shooting it on the second day – second to last day of shooting. It just had to happen! I kept telling the crew that it was going to be ok – although I felt kind of nervous about it. 30 minutes after our call time, it started snowing. The timing was perfect! To this day, it is one of my favorite shots of the entire film. I have to say that I overcame that challenge by sheer luck!
What did you hope to achieve through this story? Do you believe that you’ve achieved your goals?
My first goal was to touch people. I was also hoping that it would make them reflect on their own life without being preachy. I believe that a lot of us are not living up to our full happiness potential for various personal reasons. MARGUERITE is a very clear representation of that. It is tragic and beautiful but so human. Anytime someone is moved by the film, it makes me feel like I have reached my goal.
Do you think Marguerite is important for society to watch? Why or why not?
Yes, I feel that Marguerite has an important message. Unfortunately in many countries homosexuality is still prohibited, criminalized and even punishable by death. It is unfathomable to me that in 2018 we continue to be this ignorant. There is still a total lack of understanding when it comes to homosexuality, bisexuality and sexual identity. And that has never made any sense to me. A human being should have the right to love who they want without being discriminated against, persecuted, tortured or killed.
If Marguerite were married to a man, how would the story change, even if she still revealed to Rachel about her true love?
I think the story would have been very similar if her husband had been deceased. But if he were still around, Marguerite’s loneliness would have been different. It would have had more to do with not being able to share her secret with him. It would have been more shameful for her. The friendship that develops with Rachel would have been hidden from the husband and the ending would have taken on another form altogether. Marguerite would probably not have been as much of an independent woman either. I actually considered that option but preferred bringing to the screen a Marguerite who had decided to isolate herself. A Marguerite who had completely given up on love.
Will you be working on any other projects?
I am presently writing another short film. Hopefully, I will shoot it in early 2019. I also have a few other projects (feature films) in development and a feature film as an actress and producer. The film is called LES NÔTRES. Jeanne Leblanc, co-produced by Benoit Beaulieu, directs it and it will be coming out in 2019. We are presently in the post-production phase.