It’s an almost instantaneous debut feature film that responds to a common impulse, shot by Noemi Merlant with a handful of friends in Romania and which releases in theaters this week. It had to be done “in that heat, in that energy”. maintenance.
This harmony between what a film says and the way it is made doesn’t play out in cinemas. Mi Iubita, my love, Noemi Merlant’s first feature film, has an air of inattentive cinema. After directing two short films, the actress was particularly praised for portrait of girl on fire (2019) and Olympiad (2021), left for Romania – and the world turned upside down at once. Back on an adventure.
You co-wrote this first feature film with Gimi Covaci, who was already in the cast of your short film Shakira (2019). how was born Mi Iubita, my love ,
With Gimi and the actresses who play my friends Mi Ubita, and who have been my real friends since the time of Court Florent, we form a group that talks a lot, that helps each other with work. Later ShakiraWe all wanted to create things, while seeing that we had different origins, cultures, eras. when gimme told us “Next summer, come to my place in Romania”, We first thought we’d take advantage of this to do some location scouting, maybe to think of a scenario… and then, a month before departure, he suggested we make a movie about what was happening between us. That’s our friendship to all and our love story to him and me, which was new. He thought it would be an interesting film, not an ordinary one, on the one hand because Roma is poorly represented, on the other because I am older than him. We started with reality to imagine a fantasy.
And you wrote the film in a month?
Yes, we went to Romania with the first draft script. On the site, we worked according to our set, we improvised. The scene where Gimi’s father tells his life on the table because he wanted to be involved at the time. We wanted to play with this documentary side. It was necessary to break the rules. This time, the Roma are welcoming and we, the foreigners. And this time it’s the woman who is older. We wanted to remove the obstacles. Get out of the frame, like my character.
But you had a producer?
No, but we wanted to do it in that heat, in that energy. Together with my friends, actresses Sanda Codrenu, Clara Lama-Schmidt and Alexia Lefax, we rented a car, a small camera, and we left for two weeks with a budget of 15,000 euros. Cinematographer Evgenia Alexandrova and sound engineer Armens Durix, who were still in school, joined the girls’ group. We did the cutting day after day, in the morning, occupying all the positions – script, stage management … – we looked for the sets we were missing, actors. We were hosted by Gimi’s parents, they also cooked, had a real involvement in the film and its production. We tried to create a place where everyone can give their opinion, views. I am waiting for your reply.
So you got any production later?
We came back with the impression that we have managed to box almost all the scenes in the script. At the same time, I am lucky to be an actress, because my agent allowed me to go on a date. I met Pierre Gyard (Nord-Ouest Films), he saw some crowds – the beach scene, in particular – and he said to himself: “Let’s go! »
In this sequence the four girls and boys are seen on the beach with the same joyous sensuality…
This is the heart of the film for me. Gimi’s character is almost that of a girl among girls, all filmed in the same way, everyone asks questions, jokes, without judging, in mutual sweetness.
A very successful love scene between the two of you comes again with an egalitarian look at body, modesty, desire…
I wanted to film a sex scene based on who I am, who we are, in a common focus, with emotion, with awkwardness. There’s always some power in a relationship, and here’s that woman, but the goal was to show a scene where no one uses their dominance over the other. Let love be free from bondage. If love is a feeling that we cannot control and which means letting go, then in my opinion it should be accompanied by caution, especially if there is an age difference. Often, in the stories I see, there is something dissimilar… addressing consent despite differences, that’s what I found interesting.
Why Mi Iubita, my love (1h35). in Theaters.