Five Favorite Films

Melanie Laurent's Five Favorite Films

The Inglourious Basterds star and director of Galveston loves Tarantino and P.T. Anderson, and explains why movies like theirs are so rare.

by | October 22, 2018 | Comments

Marc Piasecki/Getty Images
(Photo by Marc Piasecki/Getty Images)

When Melanie Laurent joined Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds in 2009, she was already a celebrated actress in her native France, where she began her big screen career more than a decade prior. She earned widespread acclaim for her role in that film as vengeful cinema owner Shosanna Dreyfus, and she later went on to star in other Hollywood projects like Beginners and Now You See Me, even as she continued to work in France.

In 2011, Laurent proved acting wasn’t her only talent when she decided to jump behind the camera to co-write and direct her first feature, The Adopted, which she then followed with 2014’s Breathe. Last week, she made her English language directorial debut with Galveston, a crime drama starring Ben Foster as a betrayed hitman and Elle Fanning as the young woman he inadvertently rescues. Laurent took some time out of her busy schedule to speak with RT about her Five Favorite Films, expressing her admiration for Tarantino and P.T. Anderson and explaining why films like theirs are so rare.


Donkey Skin (Peau d'âne) (1971) 89%

I would say Peau d’âne, by Jacques Demy, a French musical with Catherine Deneuve, because I fell in love with Catherine Deneuve. I was so impressed. I think that, because I watched her being a princess in that movie, that I wanted to be an actress. She was so amazing, and I love Jacques Demy movies. It’s like a real beautiful fairy tale and, I just watch that movie again and again.

Roman Holiday (1953) 98%

I would say, Vacances romaines. I don’t know the English title. With Audrey Hepburn. Roman Holiday? I was not at all a baby girl who just wanted to be a princess, at all, but the fact is, in my movie choices, I was really obsessed with those beautiful and strong and funny and fragile women. [laughs] I was not wearing any princess dress or things like this, but in movies, I was very into it.

Pulp Fiction (1994) 92%

I would say Pulp Fiction, for sure. When you are a teenager, I would say, “What the hell is going on? If making movies looks like this, OK, I want to be a director.” Everything was kind of perfect; there was the humor. That’s why I was not just honored and happy to work with [Quentin Tarantino], but crazy happy. [laughs] When he told me he was doing the movie, I was dancing in the streets in Paris for hours. I had a sense of joy, for sure. So I would say Pulp Fiction, for everything we just love in that movie, like the dialogue, the shots, the lights, the actors, the craziness, the freedom of making something so freeing.

Boogie Nights (1997) 93%

Then, Boogie Nights by P.T. Anderson. I loved it, kind of like for the same reason, and also because I’m very impressed by the fact you can make an artsy movie, but also a commercial one, and a popular one. It’s so rare. It’s just the most difficult thing to do, and they both did that. It’s a big inspiration for me because art films and small, independent movies are so hard to exist right now, and I think it’s very hard as a director today to feel like, can I do something free? Can I do something beautiful? Can I do something also funny but also act strong, say something about the world, but also not doing something too popular, and with some cliché subject. I feel like it’s very tricky right now to give money for a director who’s gonna have different ideas and want to do something special. So, I would say those movies, because also we need to talk about that problem right now of making small movies that don’t really exist any more, and are suffocated by those big other ones. It’s kind of scary right now.

Melancholia (2011) 79%

To pick one last one, I would say… That’s hard, because I have many in my mind right now. I loved Melancholia, but I also loved Room. They’re very different. I would say those two movies, but for many different reasons. So if I have to keep one, well, let’s keep Melancholia. That was a shock because visually it was so interesting, but also I will always remember that first shot, my entire life. That big limousine was stuck and then it’s like, two persons, and you know it’s never going to work and that was that. Amazing cleverness in that shot. And also, talking about the fears and talking about depression and talking about how do you deal with that big world which is too big for you. But also a movie that’s very free. I’m just realizing I’m keeping movies that are very free. Don’t ask me my five favorite songs, please. [laughs]


Ryan Fujitani for Rotten Tomatoes: I’ve enjoyed your work as an actress, and I’ve enjoyed your work as a writer and director as well. I’m wondering which of those you enjoy the most, and which of those would you prefer to have the longest, most fruitful career in.

Melanie Laurent: Well, now I have the perfect balance, because writing a script takes a long time, and I can write scripts while I’m shooting as an actress because actors wait for hours on set. And this is my favorite thing, ideas coming up on set, and [having a place where I can] escape from a set. I just like to be in my mind. And, being a director is my passion, for sure, but when I’m not working as an actress, I’m missing it, and I’m not really happy.

Also, for specific reasons, any time I’m an actress I’m just learning from a director, so much. And observing amazing directors obviously is the best cinema school, so I’m always so happy to do it. I’m not playing the fact, “I’m a director, I know exactly what you’re going through.” I’m just an actress, except that I know how they feel, and I’m just maybe more empathetic to them when it’s complicated because I know what’s going on here. So, I would say if I can keep those two things always, that would be a dream.


Galveston opened in limited release on Friday, October 19.

Tag Cloud

Women's History Month Chernobyl Endgame Star Trek Winners Ellie Kemper Fall TV Awards Lionsgate screenings El Rey Apple Sony Pictures Ovation cinemax Comics on TV supernatural Quiz Action dramedy Horror YouTube Red Watching Series Box Office Bravo CBS All Access GIFs Grammys Epix Lifetime Christmas movies award winner cults TCA 2017 Photos The CW LGBT crime war Election binge Toys Creative Arts Emmys sag awards Crackle Opinion Family Marvel Television Extras dceu foreign ghosts Polls and Games historical drama Marathons true crime Apple TV+ USA Network spider-man movies MSNBC cancelled TV shows Premiere Dates CBS crime drama Freeform versus zombies Disney Plus Hallmark RT History slashers Disney Acorn TV Sneak Peek ESPN IFC Films Set visit blockbuster Thanksgiving Trailer CMT psychological thriller social media technology Logo festivals reboot Stephen King robots New York Comic Con quibi christmas movies Avengers cancelled TV series DC Comics Dark Horse Comics Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Biopics 2020 See It Skip It natural history Classic Film Black Mirror Spring TV mutant Emmys Super Bowl Valentine's Day canceled TV shows VICE docudrama TCA AMC science fiction First Reviews Rock IFC A24 Elton John Anna Paquin ABC Family boxoffice PBS television Mary Poppins Returns Year in Review First Look Star Wars breaking bad Infographic Captain marvel YA Drama independent richard e. Grant joker cartoon USA Western Red Carpet Brie Larson MTV X-Men anime Reality Competition VH1 Superheroes 2018 toy story period drama golden globes sitcom San Diego Comic-Con vampires Syfy TV renewals Netflix Christmas movies indie BBC America transformers Comedy video Food Network Columbia Pictures DC Universe TLC Sundance police drama comiccon teaser Universal History cancelled television Character Guide Video Games NBC Lucasfilm ratings cats Tumblr adventure SundanceTV SXSW Sundance TV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina hist GoT batman Martial Arts comic Rom-Com theme song SDCC Amazon Christmas E3 thriller Paramount Network TCA Winter 2020 Television Academy Nominations Disney Channel Academy Awards singing competition TruTV TV Fantasy Fox News Pirates Comedy Central Arrowverse Mary Tyler Moore stand-up comedy TBS Adult Swim latino LGBTQ Pet Sematary Winter TV disaster Music book WarnerMedia Writers Guild of America spinoff CNN FXX Rocketman strong female leads 20th Century Fox nature Schedule renewed TV shows Shudder mockumentary TV Land Walt Disney Pictures crossover Emmy Nominations FX space YouTube Premium Pride Month Certified Fresh screen actors guild witnail Disney+ Disney Plus Pixar HBO Superheroe halloween canceled travel Mystery Teen animated The Walking Dead revenge OWN A&E The Witch adaptation Baby Yoda miniseries based on movie Discovery Channel Country TNT DC streaming service YouTube Cannes doctor who game of thrones sports Comic Book Starz south america Rocky series Disney streaming service justice league Ghostbusters RT21 Mudbound Pop 007 unscripted psycho dc Tomatazos Sundance Now Best and Worst werewolf President TIFF WGN MCU aliens Nickelodeon political drama talk show Holiday Mary poppins cops Cosplay name the review green book what to watch Esquire free movies 2015 Masterpiece 21st Century Fox game show Paramount Film CW Seed 2019 Musical Lifetime Turner Classic Movies jamie lee curtis romantic comedy Song of Ice and Fire Nat Geo Heroines Turner Film Festival Interview Podcast Vudu spanish language Shondaland 24 frames medical drama 2017 Calendar Summer The Purge OneApp Countdown biography Tarantino Musicals Trophy Talk PaleyFest children's TV anthology cars Apple TV Plus 71st Emmy Awards rotten movies we love Warner Bros. DGA Cartoon Network Showtime DirecTV BBC hispanic HBO Max Hallmark Christmas movies Marvel Studios E! romance Spike elevated horror Holidays TCM APB casting cancelled FOX directors Reality discovery Awards Tour dragons NYCC zombie crime thriller cooking Kids & Family BET tv talk Binge Guide The Arrangement National Geographic 2016 diversity Marvel ABC Hulu Spectrum Originals sequel Amazon Prime Video Animation spy thriller zero dark thirty Trivia facebook harry potter Britbox blaxploitation kids American Society of Cinematographers composers Netflix streaming Peacock Mindy Kaling spain Crunchyroll finale GLAAD ITV serial killer comics politics Oscars Tubi Sci-Fi Amazon Prime 45