It is one o’clock this Saturday, July 17, and Tilda Swinton does not yet know if she will be invited as a regular at the Cannes Film Festival or as a winner at the closing ceremony of this 74e editing. She came there for the first time in 1987, for the collective film Aria, accompanied Jim Jarmusch as well as Wes Anderson, Béla Tarr, or Lynne Ramsay. In 2004, she was a juror, chaired by Quentin Tarantino and is undoubtedly no stranger to the jury prize that Apichatpong Weerasethakul won for Tropical Malady (tied with Ladykillers of the Coen brothers).
While waiting to be fixed on her status for the evening, the one who likes to say that she is “Not an actress” connects the interviews in a palace on the Croisette. She is here to talk about Memory, of Apichatpong Weerasethakul, which was presented at the end of the competition. But she remains in Cannes since the beginning of the festival, since she accompanies four films, The Souvenir Part II by Briton Joanna Hogg, presented at the Directors’ Fortnight, the reissue of her second film Friendship’s Death, by Peter Wollen (1987), in the Cannes Classics section, and two feature films in competition, Memory and The French Dispatch, by Wes Anderson.
How can she say that she is not an actress, the one that we see on the screen since – thirty-five years ago – she made her debut in the Caravaggio by Derek Jarman? “I don’t consider myself to be an interpreter, she explains. Occasionally, over the years, I have taken a script written by another and played a role. But in general, that’s not what I’m made for. I am made for things made by hand, which do not express themselves directly. Usually without words. This is my material ”.
That of the films of Jarman, queer filmmaker who died of AIDS in 1994, or that of the film by Peter Wollen, Friendship’s Death, dialogue between a British journalist and an alien trapped in a hotel room in Amman during the Palestinian Black September of 1970. After his detours in the Marvel universe (Dr Strange), his recurring appearances at Wes Anderson or Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer, Okja), Memory appears to him as a return to basics. Especially since her character of foreigner, Briton who drifts in Columbia, plagued by auditory hallucinations, is not unrelated to that of Friendship (friendship), the extraterrestrial who was her first role, she found “A nice echo” in this correspondence.
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