We had already talked, a while ago, with Victoria Lacoste and her Edelweiss Productions and we are happy to have her back with us. If the first time she had seemed an interesting woman, now she appears to us as if she had really climbed a hill of very important thought processes. Introspection, sexuality, listening to herself, no doubt the pandemic has made the soul of this young actress grow. Let’s see her latest projects, between art and cinema, including a short film with Penelope Caillet.
We are happy to talk to you again, the last time was almost a year ago and you had many projects in the pipeline. How did this year go? First it seemed to be out of the pandemic, then back in, it must be very difficult to get everything working on a cinematic level, this way.
The pandemic has been so hard on all of us, but personally, I’ve really witnessed how it can affect creativity – for both myself and for those who surround me. Stop and go can be incredibly taxing when you’re trying to bring to life something that already feels vulnerable and unprotected, in many ways. But on the other hand, nothing is ever perfect – especially when it comes to filmmaking. Some of my biggest sorrows creatively have come from this pandemic, but some of my biggest accomplishments have too.
Project wise, I’ve started and stopped quite a few due to logistical issues, many regarding the pandemic. But I’ve also somehow managed to produce some of my best work. I think the music video, KESTA KESTA, was a great example of this, as it was shot completely in lockdown, alongside stringent safety guidelines. It made us hunker down and focus on the task at hand with a completely different kind of energy.
The other big project that I worked on through the pandemic was the feature film, Les Indociles, starring myself and directed by Pascal Arnold (Being Light, American Translation), Jean-Marc Barr (Le Grand Bleu, Being Light) and produced by my production company, Edelweiss Productions and Toloda. It was entirely shaped by the pandemic, and in fact, takes place amongst the residents of a hotel amidst lockdown, exploring themes of intimacy, solitude, connection, love, and all the topics brought to the forefront for us all through the process of the pandemic.
You are now the protagonist of a beautiful short film focused on love, “Renaissance”. Love for ourselves. Something that is often overlooked, as if loving is only something that has to come out of ourselves towards someone else. Instead, it is basic to really love myself in order to love someone else, don’t you think?
Yes, this has been a personal journey for me, as I know it is for so many others. I think especially for women, we are taught both directly and indirectly, that we are not complete as ourselves and that we need a partner to bring us both happiness and to make ourselves whole. This film, in many ways, is about undoing all of that. And some of that can be very messy and wild.
I also agree with that last sentence so wholeheartedly. But I think that while it’s important for us to love ourselves before we can truly love another, I also think it’s important to understand that we don’t have to be perfect in order to be ready to give love. So many of us are in an ongoing process of healing that never really ends. It’s not about being perfectly happy within yourself or even with yourself – but rather to accept ourselves as the imperfect beings that we are – and to learn to nurture ourselves with all our hearts regardless.
The short film is based on the War Paint song “Billie Holiday”, and on this project you collaborated with visual artist Penelope Caillet. How did this idea come out with her?
I met Penelope Caillet when we brought her on to shoot behind-the-scenes photos for our music video shoot for Dani’s KESTA KESTA, ft JoeyStarr, directed by Michael Cohen. I had never seen anyone shoot behind-the-scenes photos in such a sleek, cinematic way. As a producer, I was really drawn to how she was able to portray so well the raw elegance of femininity and I really wanted to be able to showcase that in motion. For Renaissance, I wanted to develop a project where she and I had absolute control, away from industry, or any outside forces of influence, where we could collaborate in an organically synergistic way. Before filming, we had our story, design choices, and choreography, but when we started filming, we were led through it by the moment, our environment, and the music.
Loneliness then, is always seen as something negative, never as a growth or a personal choice.
Absolutely. I think this is a great disservice to the collective human psyche to see it as such. I think the ability to be alone and to be comfortable with solitude is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. And in fact, there are studies that directly link being able to be alone with generally experiencing more positive emotions as a whole. I think this makes complete sense as the more we are able to remain within ourselves, the less we are likely to be swayed by external factors.
The same goes for experiencing emotions that are negative. We are taught to run – to do anything to put space between ourselves and them, to distract ourselves. But feelings like loneliness and even sadness and frustration are our psyche’s way of telling us we need something. And if we don’t learn to listen with compassion, and to accept ourselves imperfectly with all the highs and lows, we’ll never hear the message. And we’ll never truly know ourselves.
Sexuality is obviously a subject immediately following this and equally important when it comes to internalizing and discovering oneself, so to speak.
Yes. Sexuality is a form of knowing ourselves. Unlike the world would want us to believe, you don’t need anyone but yourself to express and also celebrate your sexuality. It doesn’t start with another person – it starts with your intimacy with yourself.
What are your best memories on sets? Any funny anecdotes? What about your worst memory?
A lot of my time being on set becomes a blur until watching it back, later, actually. But I think the moments that really seal themselves as memories are when I hit a new point emotionally while filming. That’s when I feel like acting becomes a cathartic act, mirroring the realism of what it’s like to just navigate being alive. One of my best and worst memories, however, happened off-set on a night where I was so tired after filming that I decided to just drive straight home with blood still on me from the final scene. And of course, that was when the police decided to pull me over!
Fortunately, it was right by the studios in LA so not as uncommon as it might have been elsewhere, which I think helped my cause!
About your choice of emerging directors and productions, is there a particular character you hope to work with in the future? Maybe someone to let us discover who inspired you so far, which you think is not talked about enough?
Right now, I’m letting the right projects find me instead of going out and searching for them, but I’m always looking for self-starters who challenge cultural norms in their own unique way. I think film is more multi-dimensional than the traditional industry model allows for and I’m eager to put my efforts into giving life to all of its facets and dimensions. I’m increasingly interested in how art and movies overlap as modes of expression but also by the concept of art where film is simply just a medium and nothing more – and not a school of thought.
We are pleased to see you still are that woman. Do you want to talk to us about other projects in the pipeline with your production company, Edelweiss Productions?
Yes! I just recently purchased a home and am just wrapping up on remodeling it, so I’ve taken it a little more slowly in the last few months because redoing a home is truly a project on its own!
However I’ve also been exploring the intersection of media and art a great deal. Edelweiss is one of the sponsors for the Yves Brayer exhibition taking place at the Yves Brayer Museum in the South of France. I’m supporting Gabriel Boutros (who was also the composer for Les Indociles) who created a sound installation for the exhibition. It’s accompanied by a visual installation of different artworks by Yves Brayer. It’s a huge honor, as Yves Brayer’s work is world renowned. And it’s wonderful to work with Gabriel Boutros again in a new way.