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“I wanted a quickdraw, so this role, I first worked it physically”: Catherine Frot, imperial in “La fine fleur”

In this second film by Pierre Pinaud. Catherine Frot plays a rose designer on the verge of bankruptcy, whose fate will be changed by the arrival on her farm of three reintegration employees. This sensitive dramatic comedy gives this great actress the opportunity once again to“invent a world”. Catherine Frot tells franceinfo Culture how she “physically” worked on this role and his enthusiasm for this film “bucolic” who for her, defends “fundamental values”. The fine flower is on view from June 30 in theaters.

The actress Catherine Frot, June 17, 2021 in Paris (Laurence Houot / franceinfo Culture)

franceinfo Culture: what attracted you to the script for “La fine fleur”?

Catherine Frot: I found there was an ambition. There are several layers, several things told in the film, which fit together very well. I was also seduced by the personality of the director, Pierre Pinaud. And then Madame Vernet was a funny character to work with. I liked the panache and bad temper of my character, and a look. And then it’s the world of work too …

Isn’t this film all about roses?

No, for me it’s a film about beauty. The beauty of roses and the beauty of human relationships. I would sum it up like this. And it also talks about big companies swallowing small companies. It’s a film that shows how you have to fight to resist, a film about the power and the beauty of work, and in particular that of roses, since it is the decorum of the film.

Can you tell us in two words who Eve Vernet is?

This character is a designer of roses, at an artisanal and family level. But craftsmanship, financially, is not always easy. This woman is in pain, but she continues to fight. He is also someone who has not yet come to terms with the mourning of his father. So she’s a loner. She only lives in memory and she has frustration in life, clearly. She needs to recharge her batteries. And suddenly, it is these three nickel-plated feet that will revitalize her. And herself, too, will help them recharge their batteries. Little by little, they will bring things to each other. I like the antagonism between Eve Vernet and these three excluded, these three “broken arms” who came to give her a hand. She is appalled at first. She has a deep contempt for these “little people”. And they too, moreover, have a form of contempt for her. So they’re not at all made to get along, but things are going to happen. And that’s beautiful, it’s poetic. All this in a bucolic universe. I like that too.

Fatsah Bouyahmed, & nbsp; Marie Petiot and & nbsp; Melan Omerta in "The fine flower", by Pierre Pinaud (Estrella Productions)

Madame Vernet and her three employees are not from the same world?

Not at all. They are on the side of society. She, a priori that’s fine, but it’s a past glory, and so at one point, she also finds herself on the side of the road, on the verge of closing, of giving up everything. They have nothing, they have never had anything. They have nothing to lose, and she too has nothing to lose after a while. So something’s going to happen …

How did you work the role of Madame Vernet?

I first worked on what is called “the quickdraw”. I really enjoyed working on this character, with the costumes, the accessories. For me it was important that there was accessorization. I wanted the lavallières, those kinds of feminine ties on the bodices, to smoke a small pipe on two or three occasions in the film, the hat … To be slightly masculine, working the land but at the same time with a certain refinement. I wanted a “quickdraw”, so this role, I first worked on it physically.

Catherine Frot, & nbsp; Melan Omerta, & nbsp; Fatsah Bouyahmed, & nbsp; Marie Petiot & nbsp; in the "The fine flower", by Pierre Pinaud, June 2021 (Laurent Thurin-Nal)

She’s a bit of a different age, isn’t she?

Yes, she’s a bit from another age, a bit old-fashioned. It reminds me of my grandmother in the 1960s and 1970s. It’s a bit of another era, but it is above all a human being who will evolve very strongly.

Do you love nature, do you love roses?

I love nature. I could sleep outside because I love being in nature. But for flowers, I don’t have a green thumb at all, but not at all! So I really had to get started. I really had to learn, because it’s the illusion that interests me in this job. Roses, before, I didn’t look at them much. Now I look at them and I know them a little better …

And yet it looks like you’ve been doing this your whole life! There is a bit of Madame Vernet in you, isn’t it?

More or less. Actors are always the same with characters. We inevitably have traces of ourselves and then we invent a world. We invent a personality. It is as if we were going to articulate a large puppet. For me there has always been that.

“My job is to create the illusion, and for that, you have to make something.”

Catherine frot

at franceinfo Culture

I have always had this small distance between myself and the character. Always. I am never quite myself. I feel like I’m making something up. Whether in Les saveurs du palais, or I was a very good cook, in The page turner, a virtuoso pianist, in Marguerite an opera singer who sings out of tune, I often had to play trades that I did not know. Each time, I have to work on this dimension. Each time, it requires preparatory work on the gestures, the accessories, the tools. With The fine flower, there was to work patience, and excellence in the creation of an exceptional rose.

Catherine Frot and Marie Petiot in "The fine flower", by Pierre Pinaud, June 2021 (Estrella Productions)

Is this woman a bit of an artist?

It’s a film about beauty. It is the beauty of roses but it is also the beauty of human relationships. There are these two dimensions in the film.

Is it a beautiful role?

Ah yes, it’s a very beautiful role, because it’s a complex character. Her loneliness, her past… there is a mystery in this woman I find.

But it’s also a heartwarming, positive story. Do we have to look at it like a fairy tale or can this kind of story happen in real life?

Of course ! Of course it happens in life. Of course there are difficulties that have a happy ending, especially when you continue to fight. It is a film of hope. It is energy, it is curiosity, it is generosity, attention. It is a link, and in this case it is about someone who will open up to others. That is a fundamental value. All of these are fundamental values ​​today.

“It’s an anti-cynical film. And yet today there is a lot of cynicism, and especially in the cinema. Cynicism, the second degree, have taken up a lot of place in cinema today, and I , that’s not what I prefer. “

Catherine frot

at franceinfo Culture

Rather than making fun of others, of the characters, I prefer that we be with them. I had a revelation when I listened to Edgar Morin the other day at the Grande Librairie. He will be 100 years old in a few days, but the spirit of Edgard Morin, what he says when he talks about the link between people, when he talks about the difficulties that we have all been going through for several years, for me he has to do with the spirit of the film. It made me tilt.

Catherine Frot and Melan Omerta in "The fine flower", by Pierre Pinaud, June 2021 (Estrella Productions)

Your relationship with the young boy, Fred, exudes great emotion. There is in the background this question on motherhood, parenthood, the lack of responsibility of some parents, too …

Yes, with the character of Fred, played by actor Melan Omerta, who is magnificent, there is a transmission, indeed.

And with Vincent Dedienne, your partner in the theater in 2020, you still play in this film two characters who are completely opposed. Is your relationship doomed to the marriage of carp and rabbit?

Maybe ! (laughs)

Vincent Dedienne and Catherine Frot in "The fine flower", by Pierre Pinaud (Estrella Productions)

What are your projects ? Cinema? Theater ?

I have just finished a film by Tristan Séguéla, with Fabrice Luchini, which will be released in a year… And if not, I would like to go back to the stage, but for the moment I don’t know. I have to find the right idea and meet the right people. That yes, that would be my wish.

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