Isabelle Huppert Q&A: ‘Elle’

“We expected the film to be controversial,” admits actress Isabelle Huppert about her latest film “Elle.” “But when people see the film they really get the film … The movie is powerful enough to go beyond the controversy.” “Elle” screened at the 2016 New York Film Festival and will be released by Sony Pictures Classics in the US on November 11. It’s also France’s official selection to compete for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. Watch our in-depth video chat with Huppert above.

Directed by provocateur Paul Verhoeven (“Basic Instinct,” “Showgirls”), “Elle” is controversial because of its startling subject matter. Huppert plays Michele, the head of a video game company, and in the very first scene she is the victim of a violent rape. Her masked assailant escapes, but she doesn’t trust the police, so she doesn’t report the crime. In fact, she tries to resume her life as if nothing happened. And the closer she gets to the identity of her attacker, the stranger things become.

“She is a victim, obviously — she’s been assaulted, she’s been raped — but she doesn’t want to consider herself a usual victim,” Huppert explains of the enigmatic Michele. “She’s a solitary character, a fearless woman, and she wants to make her own way with this event. I thought she was a kind of prototype of a new woman.”

Huppert feels that Michele is “a touching character too.” And for all its strange humor and provocation, the actress adds that “there’s a great humanity in the film … At the end of the day, I think you have a very touching portrait of a woman … I think she’s a survivor. She fights for something — she fights for her existence.”

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UPLOADED Jan 24, 2017 12:00 pm