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Let's Talk About The Rain - Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri interview

Let's Talk About The Rain

Interview by Rob Carnevale

French filmmakers Agnès Jaoui and Jean-Pierre Bacri talk about reuniting for the third time for intelligent social comedy Let’s Talk About The Rain.

The duo have already been responsible for co-writing the acclaimed Look At Me and The Taste of Others, but here opt for a lighter tone, and a top-notch ensemble cast, including Amelie favourite Jamel Dabbouze. Agnès also reveals why, as the film’s director, too, the experience proved such a pleasurable one to complete.

Q. What do you like about working with each other? Because this is your third collaboration, isn’t it?
Agnès Jaoui: Yes. Jean-Pierre is my favourite actor and writer [laughs]. And also, he’s the man that understands me the best and the quickest.

Q. Do you find that it gets easier each time, or do you continue to learn more about each other?
Jean-Pierre Bacri: No, it’s the same pleasure. For me, it’s a vacation when I work on a film with Agnès. We talk, smoke joints… but we talk personally even. We can talk for an hour without a link to the film. We like each other.

Q. Where did the idea for Let’s Talk About The Rain come from?
Jean-Pierre Bacri: We had some ideas and chose to develop them. It began with a fairytale. The main character was originally Agnes’ mother, who is dead in the film.

Agnès Jaoui: We’ve wanted to speak about families and politics for a long time. We also wanted to write for Jamel Debbouze. And thank goodness we did because thanks to him, some issues were resolved.

Jean-Pierre Bacri: We eventually came back to the usual things we like to write about.

Q. There’s a lot of themes running throughout the film but you’ve kept it lighter in tone this time. Was it difficult to maintain the humour given that you’re known for more serious work such as Look At Me?
Agnès Jaoui: Yes, it was difficult at the beginning but then the interviews [in the film] helped to maintain the sense of humour because they were so funny.

Q. Did you base the interviews on any awkward interviews you’d been involved in yourselves?
Agnès Jaoui: The idea really came after I was interviewed for a little movie. It was a guy and a girl and it was such a mess that by the end of it the three of us were laughing. It was incredible. So, that’s what inspired the style of those interviews in the film.

Q. You mentioned wanting to write for Jamel. How was it finally getting to work with him?
Agnès Jaoui: It was great. He’s joyful, generous and wonderful.

Jean-Pierre Bacri: He’s also very funny. He’s actually a friend of mine.

Agnès Jaoui: For a director, it’s great to have someone like him to work with. But then I have to say I was very lucky with all the actors. I always love the actors I work with on my movies, but with some of them it was more difficult to direct them. On this occasion, it was just such a pleasure. They were all so happy to be there. Jamel, in particular, was not afraid to show he was happy and full of good energy. For a director, it’s so good to have people like that coming on set. He absolutely never behaved like a star – sometimes people can change when they find success. But not Jamel, so you could say it was even better than I had dreamt.

Q. Did your friendship make the chemistry between the two of you that much easier? And was any of the banter between the two of you improvised?
Jean-Pierre Bacri: Absolutely, it helped. But it was always on script.

Q. What do you hope that audiences will take away from the movie?
Agnès Jaoui: This is a tough question!

Jean-Pierre Bacri: I don’t know what they’ll take out of the cinema. Everyone will have an impression but I can’t predict what it will be. I hope they like it [smiles].

Agnes Jaoui: I can say, without hopefully sounding too modest, that I received some telephone calls and some letters from people saying they had seen the movie and immediately wanted to call the people they loved and tell them that. So, I think that’s a very beautiful compliment. I hope more people feel the same.

Read our review of Let’s Talk About The Rain