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.


Peau D'ane (1970) 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) 97%

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) 80%

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

Fox News Crackle DC Comics DC Universe political drama screen actors guild YouTube Premium obituary Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt spain space Funimation popular women new zealand wonder woman SXSW travel comic toy story ABC Signature kong Toys lord of the rings CBS 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Amazon Prime Video 2015 Shudder Thanksgiving die hard talk show A&E Marvel Television Character Guide Trophy Talk TCA Winter 2020 basketball concert 99% boxoffice Sundance TV Stephen King heist movie Alien National Geographic hispanic heritage month discovery Tarantino Acorn TV IFC crime drama ABC Martial Arts canceled TV shows justice league 20th Century Fox a nightmare on elm street Masterpiece kaiju Biopics Western legend spy thriller mcc comic book movies Countdown films stop motion comic book movie Spectrum Originals slasher Kids & Family NBC Pet Sematary art house breaking bad Trailer Peacock king kong razzies Awards dreamworks See It Skip It Sundance 24 frames sequels mob worst movies best Trivia Rocketman Sundance Now Awards Tour Musicals cancelled TV series children's TV A24 Black History Month Classic Film Heroines Mudbound Sneak Peek Infographic book Showtime hist Amazon Prime Grammys halloween stoner award winner robots Hulu historical drama science fiction E! all-time Cannes Amazon Studios Anna Paquin television Comedy Central American Society of Cinematographers RT21 Rocky Winter TV Comic-Con@Home 2021 Binge Guide boxing Marvel Studios Shondaland Hallmark nature PBS Chilling Adventures of Sabrina godzilla Vudu adaptation singing competition debate news TruTV Country transformers dramedy james bond Oscars golden globe awards spider-man rt labs critics edition Epix Ellie Kemper rom-coms critics free movies king arthur Star Trek BBC America TLC joker sitcom Pop TV video Nominations toronto Opinion Mary poppins Women's History Month Arrowverse posters GIFs dceu versus Creative Arts Emmys laika golden globes BET Marvel game of thrones Fall TV revenge spanish ITV Paramount Network zombies marvel cinematic universe Britbox Exclusive Video what to watch Ghostbusters festival 73rd Emmy Awards Mary Tyler Moore royal family worst biography high school nfl cults AMC Plus australia Tomatazos blockbuster movie TBS international casting unscripted name the review TCM prank serial killer cinemax 93rd Oscars documentaries cars Film Festival Esquire cooking south america live action Disney Channel NYCC Valentine's Day Turner witnail TV One Red Carpet Emmys social media cats scene in color HBO Max movies Cartoon Network X-Men TNT Rock Action supernatural Summer Baby Yoda binge History superman MCU Spring TV hidden camera IFC Films marvel comics Captain marvel Television Critics Association crossover Tokyo Olympics 90s Set visit asian-american theme song YouTube Red MSNBC twilight 2016 Tubi crime vampires know your critic dragons adenture 2018 docuseries french thriller psychological thriller Animation Broadway CBS All Access 21st Century Fox streaming movies TV movies spanish language Disney streaming service The Academy latino comedies FOX SundanceTV Christmas reboot aapi Legendary black comedy Crunchyroll documentary book adaptation live event criterion CW Seed TV renewals Mystery VOD Apple TV+ Comedy kids teaser new york telelvision ratings El Rey emmy awards Premiere Dates Disney Calendar black aliens YouTube werewolf ID saw DGA scary Syfy cops The Walking Dead BBC Nickelodeon Netflix OneApp Elton John Star Wars slashers based on movie Warner Bros. Music Lifetime Christmas movies Horror FXX sopranos NBA Rom-Com Superheroes Pirates rt archives Apple TV Plus olympics Box Office doctor who President WGN war Polls and Games japanese Tumblr sports Amazon zombie blockbusters ESPN Apple sag awards DC streaming service Lifetime quibi young adult genre streaming 2020 Neflix Pacific Islander Endgame archives Instagram Live The Witch cancelled TV shows venice BBC One psycho stand-up comedy Pixar Superheroe Mary Poppins Returns trailers Netflix Christmas movies 45 rotten movies we love TCA VH1 universal monsters animated directors mutant pirates of the caribbean Interview Photos anime comic books Certified Fresh Family Turner Classic Movies Holidays Holiday Best and Worst Drama critic resources The Arrangement nbcuniversal football OWN ghosts LGBT WarnerMedia Hallmark Christmas movies satire hispanic scorecard Schedule cancelled television police drama Super Bowl The CW series true crime Song of Ice and Fire zero dark thirty reviews romance Adult Swim new star wars movies SDCC Travel Channel TCA Awards screenings Academy Awards blaxploitation Bravo 71st Emmy Awards Ovation First Reviews suspense Starz miniseries ViacomCBS canceled vs. classics dc 2021 E3 japan Podcast facebook Cosplay HBO diversity Sony Pictures YA anthology festivals gangster Disney+ Disney Plus GLAAD 2019 franchise remakes scary movies superhero adventure The Purge Television Academy Image Comics Watching Series feel good hollywood 1990s Fantasy CMT cancelled Extras target Pride Month Freeform Comics on TV Logo crime thriller dark DirecTV Winners Lucasfilm Paramount Plus Wes Anderson harry potter period drama Paramount RT History TIFF spinoff comics technology ABC Family PlayStation spider-verse The Walt Disney Company Universal Pictures composers docudrama action-comedy FX on Hulu rt labs Reality independent parents jurassic park TCA 2017 72 Emmy Awards Year in Review Fox Searchlight finale christmas movies Musical batman Video Games dogs fresh jamie lee curtis Discovery Channel Universal AMC green book LGBTQ 2017 sequel Food Network BET Awards MTV 4/20 Writers Guild of America Nat Geo natural history 007 Avengers Spike strong female leads TV Land renewed TV shows medical drama Columbia Pictures IMDb TV PaleyFest USA Network politics Emmy Nominations GoT foreign cartoon VICE USA tv talk Chernobyl Pop New York Comic Con Black Mirror Brie Larson Walt Disney Pictures halloween tv Mindy Kaling indiana jones Election deadpool indie mockumentary chucky Marathons game show Quiz Sci-Fi richard e. Grant Dark Horse Comics elevated horror comiccon Hear Us Out Film BAFTA Lionsgate Teen monster movies biopic APB rotten Reality Competition First Look fast and furious TV FX HBO Go video on demand disaster CNN Comic Book Disney Plus San Diego Comic-Con child's play romantic comedy italian mission: impossible dexter