SERIES. Toulouse people of the year: Agnès Jaoui loves cinema “because it is able to change people’s eyes”

the essential
A year after replacing Robert Guédiguian as president of the Cinémathèque, Agnès Jaoui has already given her guidelines: to allow female directors to have better visibility and open the place to all audiences. But this is only the beginning because Toulouse inspires her… Meeting with an enthusiastic and committed president.

The adventure has only just begun. Elected in December 2021, president of the Cinémathèque de Toulouse for a three-year term, replacing filmmaker Robert Guédiguian, Agnès Jaoui misses no opportunity to come to Toulouse. Present alongside the Haut-Garonne college students recently rewarded for their short films on consent, she was still there to welcome, at the beginning of the month, the Catalan filmmaker Isabel Coixet to whom she wanted to pay tribute. “I feel good in the South-West and in Toulouse in particular. Everything always goes well for me here. The people are simple and warm”, appreciates the actress and director who is also a singer and whose best concert memories is to have sung with Zebda on the Jean-Jaurès alleys during the celebration of July 14 in 2012.

A festive and popular atmosphere that she strives to give to the Cinémathèque de Toulouse by developing meetings, mixtures of styles and audiences. “Thanks to a team of passionate people who invest a lot, we want to show Toulouse residents how rich their Cinémathèque is,” insists Agnès Jaoui. “We are trying to make people want to come with an eclectic program, to create atmospheres like during the outdoor sessions in the summer, which are enjoying increasing success. We are also going to do some work, give more space to the bar so that the inhabitants of Toulouse appropriate this place which belongs to them, so that young people come there as many as during the Cinelatino festival”.

More room for women

Diversify audiences and show all the ways cinema offers society. Also allow women directors to be seen and recognized at their fair value. A fight that Agnès Jaoui has begun to lead and that she intends to continue against this injustice. “It’s been twenty years that in film schools there are 50% women”, notes the filmmaker. “The problem comes later. From 50% we find ourselves at 20%. Vocations are not lacking but then women will be less well financed. Just as they are less well paid. Productions do not think of them. And when we see the cover of Le Film français which presents the reconquest of French cinema with Jérôme Seydoux in the foreground and six guys behind him knowing that the Palme d’or 2021 is a French woman and that the biggest entries are not made by women, we don’t believe it! We could even laugh about it, it’s so ridiculous if it weren’t the reflection of a reality. So we tell ourselves that it’s going to be long even if phenomenal awareness has taken place lately years. Especially since I refuse to oppose men to women. I am not an anti-men feminist, far from it. Fortunately, some men are very feminist and this real revolution will only happen if we are together because the women between them are not always tender no p read. This development will also benefit men so that they do not always need to show strength, courage, earn a lot of money… So that they can take more care of their children and cry when they do. need”.

The relationship between men and women. A subject that interests her so much that she would like to make it the subject of a future film. Because since “Public Square” in 2018, Agnès Jaoui has done a lot of things but she has not written or directed a film for the cinema. ” I’m thinking about it. It is a phantasmagoria but I will come back to it, of course. I have to find the right project to adapt or write, especially on the relationship between men and women. Show how things change and also reproduce”, admits the screenwriter and director who also does not hide that it is more difficult without her life, stage and writing companion Jean-Pierre Bacri, who died on January 18. . “I also have to rebuild myself because what we both wrote will no longer be and what I’m going to write alone, I want it to be just as good”.

Images, lyrics and music

A spectator with eclectic tastes, Agnès Jaoui goes to the cinema as much as possible, especially to be surprised. “I like not knowing what I’m going to see. Not having seen everything in the trailer as often in American cinema. This is reassuring but not very surprising. I love Guiraudie’s latest film ”Viens je t’emmène” because we don’t know where it’s going and it’s fascinating. I like what transports and makes you think. I also like cinema because it is capable of changing people’s view of such and such a subject. To open the mind to other cultures, to other arts”.

Moreover, arts, Agnès Jaoui masters several. The song in particular. Since “Canta”, her first album of Latin covers in 2006, she has multiplied creations and concerts. And there again, the music will bring her closer to Toulouse… “I do a lot of concerts and it is very likely that I will return to the studio next spring to record an album of French songs, creations, and moreover it will be in the Sud-Ouest”, says Agnès Jaoui who does not want to say too much because everything is not completely settled. “It’s with someone very well known,” she adds, taking on an accent that’s very much home to us, which is very reminiscent of that of Francis Cabrel…

In a few dates

1979: At only 15 years old, Agnès Jaoui enters the famous theater course Florent at the same time as she joins the conservatory of lyrical singing in Paris.
1987: Real debut at the cinema in “Hôtel de France” by Patrice Chéreau and meeting with Jean-Pierre Bacri with whom she plays at the theater “L’Anniversaire” by Harold Pinter.
1992: Molière for the best playwright for “Cuisine et dependences” co-written with Jean-Pierre Bacri.
1998: César for best actress in a supporting role for Alain Resnais’ “We know the song”.
2001: César for best film as a director for “The Taste of Others”, nominated for the Oscar for best international film.
2004: Screenplay Prize at the Cannes Film Festival for “Comme une image”, co-written with Jean-Pierre Bacri.
2007: Victoire de la musique for his first album of songs “Canta”.

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SERIES. Toulouse people of the year: Agnès Jaoui loves cinema “because it is able to change people’s eyes”