Interview with Valérie Lemercier about Celine Dion and Aline

Image for article titled'Aline' Showcasing Celine Dion behind the looking glass

image: Jean-Marie Leroy/Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films

You heard that A line is strange and it is. Be invoiced right on his poster As “a fiction freely inspired by the life of Celine Dion”, it is a platform for the talents of French star Valérie Lemercier, who co-wrote and directed and also stars as pop singer Aline Dieu. At least part of what critics are responding to when they use words like “strange,” “strange,” and “bizarre” in their reviews of the film (“Even now, I still can’t believe I’ve seen it,” he wrote The guardis Peter Bradshaw in his pan.) is the result of one of the most acclaimed aspects of the film: Lemercier plays Aline at every stage of her life, from toddler to middle age. In a Zoom conversation last month, Lemercier Jezebel described a scene that ended on the cutting room floor, in which she played baby Aline “at six months old in a drawer with a tooth.”

“My producer cut it,” she explained. “But in the beginning it was highly bizarre.”

Lemercier only sporadically acknowledged the weirdness of her film, which seems right. Strange as it is to see Lemercier, who was 55 when she shot A line, playing a young child and a teenager, the film is steeped in the classic tenets of biopic form. It compresses a life – not Dion’s life, but one that shares several of his beats – into two hours, sprinting from the rags of a life among 13 siblings in Quebec to the international pop star’s riches. A line leans heavily on the melodrama, sometimes with a knowing wink (Glenn Medeiro’s contemporary adult syrup Nothing’s Gonna Change My Love for You booms as Aline reveals her new haircut in a slow-motion sequence), sometimes with a dead serious face (Stringer cry with). to a young adult Aline’s longing for love). with A lineLemercier found perhaps the most unconventional way of upholding convention.

Hearing Lemercier say that, it all made sense. She said her French audiences are used to seeing her play a little girl, something she has done on TV and comedy shows. She’s loved Dion since her first hit in France.”D’amour ou d’amitié‘ which Dion published in 1982 when Lemercier was 14 years old. (“She had a weird face, weird teeth…everything was weird!” Lemercier said of Dion’s early days.) The genesis of her idea for a biopic-not-biopic of Dion stems from the press cycle of Lemercier’s previous film, 2017 Marie-Francine, during which she joked with an interviewer that her next project would be a film about Dion. After that, her production designer, Emmanuelle Duplay, urged her to go ahead with the project, and the joke turned serious.

“I wanted to do something with my heart,” Lemercier said, putting it in a very Dion-esque way. She said that the character Aline is “between Celine and me” and explained that on a smaller scale she could relate to certain traits of Dion’s life.

“I spend a lot of time on stage and I want to talk about being an artist and the loneliness that you feel,” she said. “I’ve spent 33 years on stage and I still play on stage. You have to give everything: your body, you have to take care of your voice, you have to take care of everything.”

When asked if making a film about a Dion-like character, as opposed to Dion, had anything to do with life rights and/or legal logistics, Lemercier said, “Not at all.” She explained that she was on the side her co-screenwriter Brigitte Buc, jointly decided that renaming would make things easier for them overall. “If you’re changing the name, you don’t have to be specific,” she said. With artistic license she was able to play with chronology, combining certain aspects of Dion’s life and inventing entirely new scenes (Aline’s manager Guy-Claude proposes to her by hiding an engagement ring in an ice cream cone on the streets of Naples; Dion’s ring came in a box that René Angélil gave her in a hotel room, according to the singer).

Image for article titled'Aline' Showcasing Celine Dion behind the looking glass

image: Jean-Marie Leroy/Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films

Lemercier’s film deviates from the official story until it no longer does. The portrayal of Aline’s romance with her manager Guy-Claude Kamar (Sylvain Marcel) is absolutely consistent. So this romance unfolded completely ethically between a man 26 years older than Dion and who met her when she was 12, the film seems to say. Aline is portrayed as the electric force of the relationship – she moves from business to pleasure at her urging. Most of the conflict in the first half of the film is between Aline and her mother, Sylvette (Danielle Fichaud), who disapproves of her relationship with Guy-Claude. Dion has claimed that there was no romance between her and Angélil until she was 20, and she only made the relationship public when she was 25 via the liner notes of her third English-language album. the color of my love (“Rene, for so many years I have kept our special dream locked in my heart. But now it is becoming too powerful to hold inside me”). “Twenty years old, a kiss goodnight was suddenly different,” Dion said of the development of their relationship Intimate portrait 1996. “I can’t explain it — it was just harder when we left each other every night,” Angélil said of the same special. to PEOPLE In 1994, Dion said, “The hugs just got better and better and his kisses traveled down my cheek.”

Still, rumors circulated in the early ’90s that Dion was underage when she started dating Angélil. In 1994, the couple sued the Montreal-based tabloid photo police for $14 million for printing, including: “Their romance began when Celine was 15; at 16, while still a minor, she decided to live with him.” In 2002, acc The province of Vancouver, the case is “still snaking through the system”. (I couldn’t find any reports of the eventual outcome.)

So what made Lemercier so sure she was telling the right story there? “Because they said so!” she said. “Celine and Rene say that and I said that. The film doesn’t try to find anything they are trying to hide. I just wanted to show this wonderful love story. I never judge her.” Lemercier said her research consists of interviews and a trio of books by the same author, each focusing on Dion, Angélil, and Dion’s mother, Thérèse Dion (she was likely referring to the work of Georges-Hebert Germain, who wrote three such books). A line is filled with Dion’s music, licensed to Lemercier through the composers (Dion does not write his own songs) and sung by Dion Soundalike Victoria Sio. The playlist features heavily Dion’s French-language classics. One particularly poignant scene sees Aline struggling through the climax of “All By Myself” in front of an audience, only to run off the stage and then be waved back by the crowd singing along to Dion’s signature French song.Pour que tu m’aimes encoure.” Lemercier said she got the rights to any song she wanted in the film with the ecxeption of “The power of love.” Composer and original performer Jennifer Rush declined. “I was very surprised to have rights to titanic [‘My Heart Will Go On’]’ Lemercier said. “I was not sure [we’d get] that.”

like Dion himself A line skilfully navigates between corny and silly. It might have been humiliating in its seriousness were it not for its palpable, ultimately endearing conviction. It is based on the widest strokes, which Lemercier fills in with affective nuances, much as Dion does with vocal runs in her music. His technical achievement is not at the expense of his soul, but is strengthened by it.

“She always turns everything into a show,” Lemercier said in fidelity to Dion. “My job is to make people laugh. She’s always trying to make fun of herself, to be funny, to be a clown. It’s a mix of those and she’s very sincere.”

Image for article titled'Aline' Showcasing Celine Dion behind the looking glass

image: Jean-Marie Leroy/Roadside Attractions and Samuel Goldwyn Films

However, Lemercier’s apparent heart failed to convince Dion. According to Lemercier, Dion hadn’t seen the film at the time of our interview. (A speaker told the New York Times“Celine hasn’t seen the film, nor does she have any comments on it.”) Dion has shown a certain sense of humor in this particular department since the ’90s announced the stage SNLis Ana Gasteyer, who famously mocked the singer. (On this collaboration, Dion said in her behind the music: “I have enough sense of humor to know what it’s trying to do. And it’s okay, because at some point you say to yourself, ‘If they do that, you must have done something right.'”) Dion’s French manager reportedly agreed with the tone of Lemercier’s script, although members of Dion’s family did criticized the depiction of their meager beginnings in the film. Regarding Dion’s avoidance of A lineLemercier is characteristically empathetic.

“If I were Celine, I might not be watching,” she said. “I know she doesn’t like seeing anything about herself. She doesn’t like to see what people write. She has to stay away from all this because she has to live.”

https://jezebel.com/aline-presents-celine-dion-through-the-looking-glass-1848752999 Interview with Valérie Lemercier about Celine Dion and Aline

Andrew Schnitker

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