For the 45-year-old director, revealed by her shocking first film, Bang Gang (a modern love story) in 2015, this tragic romance represents “everything that excites me in life: writing, sex and pure cinema” . “This story speaks to all of us. It speaks to our experience of being human. Life is full of tragedies, bereavements. The screenplay and the novel present this in a very delicate way. Film is the perfect medium to explore this experience .”
After retracing in a rather awkward way the daily life of Kurdish fighters against Daesh in The Daughters of the Sun with Golshifteh Farahani and Emmanuelle Bercot in 2018, Eva Husson tackles here the English historical film. “What attracted me was not the period. I was more influenced by other period films, like The Age of Innocence (by Martin Scorsese in 1993, Editor’s note) Where Carol (by Todd Haynes in 2015) , where it’s all about relationships and what it means to be human. It doesn’t matter what time period it is.” believes Eva Husson.
mothering sunday depicts amorous passion in a very sensual, even erotic way. Odessa Young and Josh O’Connor often appear naked on screen. Nudity does not bother the young British actor. “We are all uncomfortable with his body. But here, I am comfortable, because I like to make films, to find the whole truth of a character. In a film like this, he would be absurd not to have nude scenes. Because nudity tells half the story. How do you believe in this absolute love, in this total vulnerability between two beings? One way is the dialogues, the other is That’s the image. Stripping both characters down to their most intimate nudity is an important step. I’m only comfortable with my nude scenes if they’re necessary. Here they are…”
Changing the way people look
In her film, Eva Husson presents a male character breaking with the conventions of his time, who accepts his fragility. “The toxicity lies in this vision of men as always strong, reliable, infallible… But that’s not life! Take Superman, it’s laughable. Superheroes are laughable; it is a refusal to grow. My experience of the world is filled with amazing, struggling men. That’s what’s beautiful” explains the director.
His actor goes in the same direction: “We see these kinds of roles more and more, because we need them. Cinema must show men who try to understand their place in the world and the origin of the privileges they have enjoyed for so long. If we see more of these male roles on screen is that female screenwriters and female directors don’t just write for actresses, they also write for actors.”
The Paul Sheringham of mothering sunday looks a lot like Prince Charles in The Crown . Consider a man who has to face life choices imposed on him by his parents, by the society in which he evolves. “It’s not a conscious decision, but it’s true that I tend to play men who face issues of masculinity and power. nods the actor. I have also been told about the closeness between my characters in The Crown and in Only the Earth (homosexual romance in the English countryside of Francis Lee in 2018, Editor’s note) . The link did not appear to me directly, but it is true. Prince Charles struggles to articulate his emotions because of his social class, as does Johnny Saxby. The upper and lower classes have this in common…”
What Josh O’Connor really liked when he read the script for mothering sunday it is also the fact that the fragility of the character is linked to his status as a survivor. “What interested me about him was survivor’s guilt. Paul’s two brothers died in the war, as well as two of his friends. He’s supposed to marry a woman he doesn’t love, who should have been the wife of someone else, gone… This is obviously a recipe for disaster. Whoever remains bears the full weight of the expectations of the parents of the other boys. I really clung to that for build my character…”
Review of the film in Wednesday’s “Arts Libre”.