03.07.2017 #design

Amira Casar

Imagination and reality on the set: three questions with Amira Casar

It is about dreaming and creating sensations

Amira Casar is not the type to be put in boxes. Discovered by photographer Helmut Newton, she began a modeling career before successfully trying earning her stripes in theatre. Since her first film role in 1989 with Radovan Tadic’s “Erreur de jeunesse”, Amira Casar has played a series of roles in all registers with the same intensity. From Bertrand Bonello’s “Saint Laurent” to Thomas Gilou’s “La vérité si je mens!” to Catherine Breillat’s “Anatomie de l’Enfer”, she’s done it all. Recently, she masterfully played the character of Béatrice in Canal +’s “Versailles” series. Now she is a member of the Design Parade Toulon Jury. In three questions, the actress evokes the importance of sets in her craft.

How important is a film set to you?

It is a privilege to project one’s conscious and unconscious body in scenographic spaces created for us by such talented decorators. I’m thinking about Antoine Plateau or Katya Wyskopf with whom I shot “Versailles” and “Saint Laurent” by Bonello, or “Planetarium” to name but a few. They do so in order for us to dream, to create sensations where reality and imagination meet. I just shot with Luca Guadagnino, and anyone who knows his work know his sensorial approach to cinema. I just shot with him for his latest feature film “Call Me by Your Name”. The set is simply splendid.

Do you have a preference when it comes to styles?

Some sets by Mongiardino in Visconti’s films, those by Kurozawa, the red house in Bergman’s “Cris et Chuchotements”, Rossellini’s “Voyage en Italie”, all sets by Tarkovski, Kubrick’s “2001”… Also and especially, those of scenographer Christoph Marthaler, as well ad the incredibly talented Anna Vieibrock. I could live in the set she made for her play “Maeterlink”! I often dream about life in a cabin in Tyrol, lost and alone. Art Deco fascinates me. Swedish Grace, the architectural style of the Museum of Modern Art with its low reliefs, the furniture by Koloman Moser, by Hoffmann… All the houses of the artist Cy Twombly. The decor of Marcel l’Herbier’s “L’Argent”, the kitchen of the Camando museum, Jean Michel Franck’s personal apartment, everything that Mallet Stevens has done, especially his kitchens! 17th-century French furniture, 16th-century Belgian tapestry. Bauhaus houses in Tel Aviv and Elsie de Wolfe’s decors!

Do you have some new discoveries to share?

I love the chapel of the Château d’Ecouen and its Renaissance style. Also the David Hockney exhibition in Beaubourg. The play “Medea” by the brilliant director Simon Stone at Théâtre de L’Odéon: a delicate and visceral shock. And of course, I can’t wait to discover Vincent Darré’s exhibition in Toulon.

Amira Casar will appear in the play “Les Trois Sœurs” at Théâtre de L’Odéon directed by Simon Stone in November 2017

as well as “Call Me By Your Name” by Luca Guadagnino scheduled for release in early 2018.

Interview by Serge Carreira, Senior Lecturer at SciencesPo

Portrait : Jean Picon

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