A Filmmaker’s Journey to Celine Dion’s Center

There are hints of autobiography throughout the film, especially in young Aline’s drive to perform. Lemercier grew up in a farming family with three sisters and quickly learned that clowning around could ease her depressed mother’s mood. “When I made people laugh at a young age, even when they were younger than five, I immediately felt that I existed, that I had a purpose, that I would not be useless,” Lemercier said. “It’s a pleasure for me to make people laugh, for him to sing.”

Born in Normandy, Lemercier moved to Paris at the age of 18 and his career took off in the late 1980s thanks to small roles in the sketch series “Palace”. Her commercial breakthrough came in 1993 with the blockbuster “The Visitors,” which won her a César for best supporting actress, and she made her feature film directorial debut in 1997 with “Quadrille,” an extremely stylish, beautiful art direction adaptation. a game of Sacha Guitry.

It was converted to the Celine church thanks to one of his solo outings in the mid-1990s. “I was doing a show at the Théâtre de Paris and an usher who was a fan of Celine sang her songs to me,” Lemercier said. After seeing her at the funeral of Angélil, who died in 2016, she decided to make a movie about the star. “He wasn’t there anymore and I wondered how he would handle it. It touched me.”

For French audiences, the film’s endearing tone confused their ideas about Lemercier and his style. His humor can be quite dark, especially in the theatre, and he cheerfully capitalizes on the jarring contradiction between his graceful, well-balanced look – he seemed perfectly put together in our video chat – and vulgar, often scatological jokes. Her satirical spines have not spared her peers like Juliette Binoche, who was once the target of an enemy. biting fake ad.

“Everyone thought I was going to make a parody, but it was never my plan,” Lemercier said of “Aline.” “I am not for sensitivity; Generally speaking, it really bothers me and I’m more into sarcasm. But this time—no,” she continued. “I wanted to be sincere, write an open love letter.” (Some of Dion’s siblings criticized the film for, among other things, thinking it was a cartoonish portrayal of their family. Early in the process, Lemercier forwarded his script to his French manager, whom Dion said approved the tone; “Celine has not seen the movie and has not commented on it,” a spokesperson said in an email.)

Musician Bertrand Burgalat, who produced Lemercier’s album, said, “There is no contempt, no snobbery in the film.” “Shunt” (1996) and recorded two of his films, which he sang by e-mail. “He doesn’t treat Celine Dion as a pop object either. Jeff Koons did with Cicciolina,The provocateur added, referring to the artist’s relationship with his ex-wife and muse.

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