Actress Kate Moran took a trip down memory lane with fellow actress and friend Mélanie Thierry. Together they discuss Mélanie’s unusual start in acting, how inhabiting a character is like giving birth and what it was like to work with Spike Lee on his latest movie, Da 5 Bloods, where she found herself to be the only female actress in the cast.
Kate Moran. At what age did you start performing? Or was there a play or a film that you saw and thought, “Oh I want to do that?”
Mélanie Thierry. The thing is, I started pretty young, I was a teenager, and everything arrived completely by accident when I was like 14 or 15. I did my first movie when I was 16, and what was strange was that I grew up in the suburbs in a place that is very nice, very warm, but far away from the cinema world. And when I started, I didn’t have this sacred fire, it isn’t like I had this desire to be an actress deep inside me, I didn’t have any idols or references because everything happened by accident..
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140 HD Screencaptures from the short film La Dernière Nuit (2018) have been added to the gallery
Flaunt Magazine – There’s perhaps snakebites, landmines, trauma, and psychological cluster bombs to consider, but first, actor Melanie Thierry, who features in Spike Lee’s latest, Da 5 Bloods (Netflix), is talking about birdsong. And while the phenomena of birdsong round the world in a time of isolation and quarantine has become something of conversational de réserve, Thierry’s relationship to this uncanny candor from our avian pals in surrounds is unusual: her witness borne has been elective, not circumstantial. We had the opportunity to go to our house by the sea,” she says, thinking over the past several months, “but we preferred to stay in our apartment in Paris, just to be witnesses to what was happening in our town. It was a unique experience, and it was much stronger to live it in actuality.”
This is not a surprising stance for the French actor, who for the better of 20 years, has immersed herself in an acutely elective profession, a wealth of roles that demanded participation over observation. “It’s been very oppressive: one day you need a certificate in your pocket to go outside, you cannot bury your dead, and I was very worried for my parents, of course. But I was lucky, because I wasn’t in extreme solitude. I didn’t have to confront myself without people around me. And so, from my point of view, quarantine was tenderness with my family, and Paris without any planes. No motorhomes, no crowds of tourists, and it was like the pigeons of the city had taken control. The city became theirs.”
The reclamation of our cities by our cosmopolitan feathered friend—as the lion’s share of anxiety-inducing, metropolitan noise, exhaust, trappings, and hustle was suspended—serves an apropos pivot point for a prevailing theme in Da 5 Bloods: going back to get what’s yours. And it’s a Spike Lee Joint we’re talking about: a signature, prismatic blend of self-mythologizing, rawness, banter, wounds physical and metaphoric, and pride. As such, the reclamation in question is of the heavy-duty, no holds barred, fuck the history books variety, all set atop a postmodern, postcolonial, postwar jungle stage, that endeavors to reconcile the puppeteering strings of its past as much as it does the M-16 toting grandchildren of former Vietnamese soldiers, hot on Da Bloods’ trail, and hungry for a taste of that shimmering gold (more on that in a moment) as much as the next guy.
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V Magazine – Confronting American society in a release that couldn’t have been more timely.
“In the Civil War, 186,000 Black men fought in the military service, and we were promised freedom and we didn’t get it. In World War II, 850,000 people fought, and we were promised freedom, and we didn’t get it. Now here we go with the damn Vietnam War, and we still ain’t gettin’ nothin’ but racist police brutality, et cetera.” (Bobby Seal; Oakland, CA; 1968)
Above is one of the statements that open the latest of Spike Lee joints Da 5 Bloods — a bittersweet comedy poignant with political criticism and social commentary that has premiered exclusively on Netflix earlier this month. Dealing with a subject that is oft-overlooked in American film, it’s a charming chronicle of a male group of friends growing old buried in a sobering statistical subtext: in 1967, 16% of all draftees and 23% of all combat troops were Black, never mind that only 11% of all civilians living in the United States that year were Black.
The story follows a group of four 60-something Black Vietnam War vets (also known as the “Bloods”) making their way back to Vietnam decades later with the intention of recovering the body of their fallen squad leader, Stormin’ Norman — and retrieving a cache of gold bars along the way. Arriving amidst the protests that decry systemic racism, it reminds one of the complex history of race relations in the 1970s, the Vietnam War, and its remnants of aircraft wrecks, landmines, and the general antipathy of Vietnamese people towards Americans.
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Mélanie appears on this week’s cover of Io Donna, the saturday supplement of the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera. Scans are now available in our gallery!
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