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) 91%

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

BET Awards IFC news indiana jones name the review Pet Sematary golden globes comiccon Red Carpet science fiction Arrowverse natural history finale Masterpiece tv talk breaking bad Musical a nightmare on elm street Action Thanksgiving directors Trophy Talk Trailer thriller psychological thriller Turner emmy awards 21st Century Fox Hallmark rotten movies we love CNN TIFF dceu Extras Winners zero dark thirty Columbia Pictures psycho Food Network Summer unscripted Esquire free movies GIFs casting FOX Walt Disney Pictures Watching Series Calendar movies Amazon Studios Mary Tyler Moore boxoffice Hallmark Christmas movies Sundance Now WGN The CW chucky Spring TV cooking aliens Mindy Kaling Biopics Epix doctor who social media Crackle Mary poppins Comics on TV Trivia space Super Bowl Netflix LGBT VOD HBO Max Starz Fox News Hulu 45 2016 crime drama Holiday First Look Box Office ABC Family IFC Films disaster documentary Country Captain marvel National Geographic documentaries ABC police drama serial killer Anna Paquin romantic comedy spain technology New York Comic Con mission: impossible Star Trek Showtime Spike The Arrangement festivals composers APB spy thriller dogs Crunchyroll movie justice league biography what to watch Film Lucasfilm Chernobyl Vudu BET PaleyFest Comedy Apple TV Plus TLC 24 frames Countdown Marvel Studios Martial Arts CW Seed TV renewals TV Land YouTube game of thrones Rom-Com Cosplay Toys diversity slashers VH1 universal monsters adventure sports cancelled TV shows Film Festival Bravo Women's History Month Premiere Dates 2015 Avengers Classic Film television Emmy Nominations Music TCA Awards Polls and Games TNT Tubi Baby Yoda halloween Disney Channel BBC One crime films Certified Fresh streaming Teen book Song of Ice and Fire USA Network cats MSNBC GLAAD YA Mystery Video Games TV HBO Go war Discovery Channel Academy Awards 4/20 ESPN classics joker facebook Television Critics Association Interview CBS DC streaming service travel latino canceled TV shows Rock Paramount Stephen King spanish language worst A24 Christmas Awards Logo Animation Shudder The Witch Grammys El Rey Western Superheroes elevated horror video talk show Horror See It Skip It 2019 hist cults fast and furious screen actors guild cancelled TV series SundanceTV CBS All Access toy story 2017 video on demand The Walking Dead screenings medical drama Universal Amazon Prime Video Heroines Lionsgate laika YouTube Red Reality child's play Adult Swim comics Binge Guide Awards Tour batman Freeform Chilling Adventures of Sabrina FX RT History E3 anthology south america Peacock Rocky Tomatazos renewed TV shows docudrama History criterion Cannes NYCC Britbox X-Men jamie lee curtis Marvel Television dark American Society of Cinematographers green book versus stoner independent Oscars binge Lifetime Hear Us Out sitcom Quiz comedies Marathons BBC Year in Review FX on Hulu Sundance TV stand-up comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt quibi asian-american Travel Channel teaser sequel cartoon Pop TV obituary San Diego Comic-Con PBS 71st Emmy Awards Comedy Central political drama witnail Pixar animated Marvel First Reviews Mudbound Ellie Kemper politics Winter TV Sneak Peek Creative Arts Emmys series all-time The Purge dramedy RT21 TCA 2017 Valentine's Day supernatural blockbuster Sony Pictures ITV Shondaland 72 Emmy Awards Syfy FXX E! Turner Classic Movies PlayStation Infographic reboot Amazon Netflix Christmas movies Family Drama Comic Book Rocketman sequels comic President 2018 TCA Winter 2020 rotten Emmys Set visit Nat Geo Lifetime Christmas movies Disney Plus Paramount Network VICE canceled critics cops indie Endgame SXSW singing competition Pride Month Spectrum Originals kids Tarantino Black Mirror NBC CMT OWN nbcuniversal Black History Month Acorn TV miniseries WarnerMedia ratings die hard cinemax satire best USA DC Comics Brie Larson MTV harry potter 20th Century Fox zombies YouTube Premium christmas movies Fantasy DC Universe robots parents Tumblr Pirates adaptation Ovation cancelled television Podcast Ghostbusters Opinion 007 dragons Apple Superheroe award winner MCU Television Academy Nominations twilight cancelled blaxploitation transformers Elton John children's TV TCA sag awards dc Reality Competition true crime Amazon Prime Dark Horse Comics BAFTA based on movie AMC ghosts strong female leads anime romance BBC America DGA Funimation Fall TV theme song Disney+ Disney Plus Musicals SDCC richard e. Grant Disney TBS mockumentary vampires concert Warner Bros. foreign Photos crossover Sundance Best and Worst TCM Character Guide 2020 nature discovery Sci-Fi superhero crime thriller Cartoon Network cars spider-man HBO Writers Guild of America Kids & Family game show DirecTV historical drama Holidays OneApp werewolf reviews Disney streaming service Star Wars spinoff zombie TruTV Nickelodeon Election GoT Mary Poppins Returns LGBTQ mutant Pop franchise Schedule hollywood revenge scary movies hispanic Apple TV+ A&E stop motion period drama