Wh'te spirit The second film in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s trilogy, Three Colours: White stars French actress Julie Delpy. She talks to Trevor
Johnston about a career that already bridges the Atlantic.
Still only 24. French-born Julie Delpy has cornered the market in petite allure with a screen acting resume that already includes films with a roster of heavyweight European auteurs. She has pouted her stuff for the likes of Jean-Luc Godard. Léos Carax. Volker Schlondorff and Agnieszka Holland. so it‘s hardly a surprise to see her pop up and set the emotional agenda in Three ('olours: White. Krzysztof Kieslowski‘s latest celluloid musing on human foibles.
Unlike its metaphysically inclined predecessor 'l'hree Colours: Blue. however. the second instalment in his tricolour trilogy is a comedy. Hairdressing schmuck Zbigniew Zamachowski marries lovely bride Delpy. can‘t quite get it together to consummate the union — we did say it was a Polish comedy. didn‘t we? — then spends the rest of the picture getting his own back after the divorce.
‘The whole film’s about Zbigniew’s obsession with this woman, the extremity of his feelings tor her, so how can it be misogynistic? In the end, they’re both punished. They both sutfer.’
‘lt‘s always a challenge to do this kind of part.‘ reflects Delpy. a clingy black turtleneck offering the kind of shoulder definition that shows her figure to be less elfin than you might expect. ‘lt‘s small. but you have to give the meaning of the character in a few scenes. I talked with Krzysztof beforehand and played it as bitchy as possible. That was very pleasant. He‘d come up to me afterwards and tell me. “You‘re a monster“. While some commentators have already suggested a hint of something rather acrid in this kind of female characterisation. and indeed in Kieslowski‘s vengeance-driven plotline as a whole. Delpy herselfdefinitely doesn‘t see it that way: ‘The whole film‘s about Zbigniew‘s obsession with this woman. the extremity of his feelings for her. so how can it be misogynistic‘? In the end. they‘re both punished. They both suffer.‘
Constantly the (not entirely incomprehensible) focus of attention for the world's photographers and media — ‘At the Berlin Film Festival. the madness hit a new low: l did an interview on the way to the toilet.‘ she sighs — there have always been those who mutter that la Delpy has gotten where she is today largely as a result of her looks. Surprisingly. perhaps. the acting bug has been in her blood since childhood.
‘My parents were both involved in underground theatre. a little avant garde. very political.‘ she
recalls. ’They treated me in a very adult way. For instance. they‘d just leave me to work through Romeo And Juliet or something on my own. As a result. I think I‘ve always approached performing in a very pure way. l‘rn not interested in all the bullshit that surrounds the profession. i mean. in France it‘s just so corrupted. I hate it.“
Having skipped her native land because she resented the fact that so many rising young actresses just happened to be producers‘ or directors‘ girlfriends » ‘lt‘s like a kind of prostitution. but 1 rebelled because I would never do anything in my life to get a part beyond proving that I could do the work' her choice of the Sam Shepard romance
Voyager and the controversial Nazi chronicle liuropu.
liuropu rellect decently on her quality control standards. Nevertheless. she‘ll admit to doing a bit part stint in the latest blockbuster version of The 'l‘hree .‘lluske/eers simply because it was the sort of successful commercial movie she thought she should be taking on. ‘lt wasn‘t good. it wasn‘t bad. it was just there. I had the chance to go to Vienna for three months and ride horses. so why not."
For the past year or so. LA has been her home base. having moved to the West Coast when she was cast in Tarantino-collaborator Roger Avary‘s as—yet- unreleased Killing Zoe. an everyday story of drugs. robbery and escalating mayhem that the leading lady describes as ‘a descent into hell. the walls run red
3 with blood‘. but a film which ‘gets funnier and funnier every time I see it‘.
Despite her frequent protestations of shyness (‘l
l meet someone i really admire and I run away').
living in Tinseltown for the past year certainly seems
I to have sharpened her sense of priorities. even if they defy typical movie industry expectations: ‘l went there for work. but stayed because I kept making
1 friends. people totally out ofthe film business. i live
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Julie Delpy in Three Colours: White: ‘sets the emotional agenda’
; ‘I live out of a suitcase because I don’t ' want to know what’s happening in two days’ time. It’s a very young attitude, I know, and it drives my parents crazy.’
out of a suitcase because 1 don‘t want to know what‘s happening in two days‘ time. it‘s a very young attitude. I know. and it drives my parents crazy. if l‘m ambitious. it's because I want to have a little more power and feel more equal to the people l‘rn working with. l‘rn at the stage now where I can get meetings with virtually anyone I want to. but I don‘t want to do the Hollywood thing and just do the rounds. Just Woody Allen. 1 think I‘d be perfect for his films because l‘rn the first person he‘ll have met who's more neurotic. paranoid and hypochondriac than he is.‘
'I‘liree (‘olourss While opens (it the Edinburgh Film/rouse on Friday 24 June and Glasgow l’ilnr Theatre on Friday 22 July.
THE FILMS 0F JULIE DELPY
Detective (1985) Mauvais Sang (1986) King Lear (1987) The Passion Of Beatrice (1987) L’Autre iiuit (1988) La Nuit Obscure (1989) i Lacrima Di Eros (1990) l Europa,,£uropa (1991) Voyager (1991) Warszawa (1992) l Younger And Younger (1992) 1' Killing Zoe (1993) The Three Musketeers (1993) Three Colours: White (1993)
The List l7-«3() June l99417