Josée Dayan is a director. Determined, inhabited by her profession, it was the theater that first attracted her, then literature and finally television. As a result, she decided to combine her three passions. Impossible not to mention the series and its success which has lasted for many years, Captain Marleaudubbed, acclaimed by viewers.
On November 7 and 14, she returns with a very ambitious historical fresco, dedicated to Diane de Poitiers. Two 90-minute episodes created by Didier Decoin.
franceinfo: Diane de Poitiers is a woman who seems to have completely seduced you.
Josee Dayan: I didn’t plan on not doing it because I wanted to do this project with Isabelle Adjani. And for a character as complex as Diane de Poitiers, ultimately both excessively famous and totally misunderstood at the level of her historical reality, well, for me, who am a director who loves actors and actresses so much and who has really this absolute desire to go to the end of things with an actress who fascinates me, of course I absolutely wanted to do Diana of Poitiers with Isabelle Adjani.
What we know of Diane de Poitiers is that she was Countess of Saint-Vallier, Duchess of Valentinois. She remained, for more than 20 years, the favorite of Henri II, the King of France. We are sorely lacking in sources, but what we do know is that she had character, that she was influential, that she loved poetry. She also defended men of letters like Ronsard and she loved architecture.
“Diane de Poitiers was intelligent, cultured. She was a modern woman and she was very beautiful.”Josee Dayan
Her beauty and modernity got her into a lot of trouble because she was accused of witchcraft. She finally died quite old for the time, and she kept her beauty intact throughout her life. And so we thought she was using spells.
That said, we found gold in his body. Because she drank liquid gold.
And she poisoned herself as she went along. Obviously, to keep her beauty, she had been told that she had to drink potable gold and in a way, it was a cogwheel. She drank more and more. So here is.
She was obsessed with aging, with the need to stay young. What is your view of the passage of time, since you deal with it in this film?
I like the idea of immortality. I find death a scandal. That’s what Simone de Beauvoir said. There are lots of people who say:No, death is part of life, etc.“I like the idea of immortality and that’s also why I like very great actresses and very great actors. I believe that after their passage on earth, there remains something them like gold dust. And that’s magic and it belongs only to them.
I have the impression that you have always had this need to change your looks. You have always fought to defend. Has it always been with you, even as a little girl?
Not necessarily. But yes, I fought a lot for Diana of Poitiers because I needed to make this film.
“I make all my films with a lot of fervor and involvement. But this film, I carried it as a first film. There is something in it that overwhelmed me.”Josee Dayan
Today, Isabelle Adjani is 67 years old, she is sensual. There is a dimension that you brought to this character and therefore to Isabelle Adjani.
But Diane de Poitiers is a very sensual character. She exerted on all men, in particular on Henri II, including on François Ier, a certain fascination. And Isabelle Adjani indeed exudes a sensuality in Diana of Poitiers, but a subtle sensuality. There is not the slightest vulgarity, there is something disturbing. She is disturbing Diana of Poitiers.
We talked about change, evolution, old age. I would like to know in what you have changed the most? How has the gaze of the little girl, who looked at her father, director, and this grandmother who ran this cinema in Algiers, changed the most?
Nothing. It continued. It lasted. Me, I like to be fascinated. So let’s say that for some time now, I’ve been more selective. I am less fragmented in relation to my passionate desires to capture films, operas, etc. But I still have this appetite and this desire to admire. Me, I must be blown away. Isabella did.
France 2 launches the bold collectionare you?
I think so. I think I’m bold. Yes, because it was not easy at first to recover Diana of Poitiers, that is, with all the cast, sets, costumes, etc. Bold? Yes, because I think it’s daring to fight these days to make this type of film. But at the same time, I think it’s necessary and it should be done.
Happy that the torch left by your father is taken up?
Yes, of course, but mostly sad that he didn’t see all that. He saw me just start. I think he would be very happy today.
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“Isabelle Adjani disturbing in Diane de Poitiers”: Josée Dayan presents her new historical fresco for France 2
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