Woman Particolare: Anissa Bonnefont
Anissa Bonnefont is a French movie and documentary director who has her own production company in order to keep her artistic independence. She is known for her documentary Wonder Boy about the story of Olivier Rousteing (Balmain) which was nominated for the Césars and her movie La Maison starring Ana Girardot which is also nominated for the Césars 2023 in all categories.
You are currently promoting your film La Maison, which is the adaptation of a novel by Emma Becker, with Ana Girardot, Rosy de Palma, Aure Atika... What women particolare! How did this desire to talk about women come about?
I found a pity to say to myself that each time we have seen the desire of women embodied in the cinema, it is through the eyes of a man. The sexuality and freedom of women through the eyes of a woman seemed interesting to me, just because who better than ourselves to talk about it? We were a group of women who worked and exchanged things together. It's a women's story. What I wanted to show is that women are beautiful and complex, with no shame on that. It's intimate, you have to be a woman to feel that.
You make documentaries like Wonder Boy starring Olivier Rousteing or Nadia starring Nadia Nadim, the Afghan footballer from PSG football team. How do you choose your topics?
When I make these documentaries, I choose people in need of belonging, to give hope to young people. The common point between Olivier and Nadia is their difficult and painful beginning. They succeeded in transcending their lives to become what they wanted to become. They are both contemporary fairy tales. The message is that no matter where you come from, if you have a dream, you can achieve it because everything is possible.
Documentaries that speak about a quest. What is your particular quest?
When I was a little girl, my biological father gave up on me and I searched for my roots too. So the quest is a topic which I care deeply. Today I succeed to go on top of that and I got answers to many questions. I think life is a quest to aspire every day a little more to be the person we want to become by dropping the masks. Finding oneself, this quest is the adventure of a life.
You directed the video clip of Oxmo Puccino for the women's house whose lyrics are "between our women, our daughters, our mothers”. For Object Particolare, timelessness is a sign of transmission. Transmission is an important term for you?
Absolutely. In my last movie there is a lot of transmission. This may seem strange in a brothel story, but there are scenes that speak precisely of this primordial term. For me transmitting is sharing. For example, cooking is for me a way of transmission.
You are a director and you also producer, you have your own production company, does that make you more independent? What is a free woman for you?
A free woman is independent, she has the possibility of making her choices without depending on anyone. In my work, this is what I do so that no one imposes on me how I should direct. That's what I teach my daughter, to be financially independent for example, to meet and choose others for the right reasons. A free woman is also a woman who wants to move forward, who wants to discover.
You are interlinked to Italy for many reasons, by your private life, the father of your children is Italian, but also by your professional life, your next film is called a Night in Rome. Does this Italian universe guide you and inspire you?
I am very attached to this country which inspires me a lot. This is why my next movie will be in Rome, I've always dreamt of it. I used to go to Sicily on vacations. I love Italian food. There's a savoir vivre and a gentleness there that you can't find anywhere else. There is a form of “nostalgia”, it seems like if Italy continued to move forward with our world but at the same time it remained frozen in time. This is all its grace.
Which female characters and actresses attract you in Italian post-war films?
Italian cinema of that time is my favourite in the world! My favourite actress is Fellini's wife, Giulietta Masina. The film of my life is Le Notte di Cabiria. I also really like Claudia Cardinale and Anna Magnani who overwhelm me.
Which Object Particolare bag did you choose? Why?
I chose the Vitti Medium Black. First of all because it bears the name of an icon, so the bag is necessarily iconic for me. But also because it allows me as a director to be able to carry around my whole universe. It's an elegant, modern bag with a timeless classicism, and at the end it’s hard to find a bag that combines all three.