We spoke with Agnès Jaoui, the acclaimed French director of “The Taste of Others” and “24 Hours in the Life of a Woman” about her latest film “Let it Rain,” which depicts a camera crew’s contentious and wide-ranging interview of a politician (played by Jaoui). It opens at the Angelika Film Center and Lincoln Plaza Friday.
You were recently feted with a Lincoln Center retrospective. How did that make you feel?
Old first. Retrospective. No, but it’s true, I have to face it. I’m not a teenager anymore. And then, I’m very honored, it’s very chic and for me [and] the Lincoln Center also is a special place. … It’s a holy place. … It’s like the center of cinephilia.
Do you find the process of talking about this movie more than two years after you made it to be at all strange or surreal?
It’s very strange. It’s a strange process. You are doing a movie and it’s the center of your life during two, three years. Finally … people see it and again it’s the center of your life. It’s only two days after, I remember, the screening I see it and it’s past. I’m happy to speak about that because I’m happy to communicate and that people have a chance to see it, and also there are things that still interest me, but no matter if it’s one week or two years, it’s a very strange sensation that it belongs to the past.
Why is it important to disguise the messages your films communicate with humor?
Of course, our intention is, yes, to give messages, it is very old-fashioned but to give a point of view, to share it with somebody, to get it off your chest. To say something that you have the feeling nobody says. … We cannot help saying it in a funny way. It’s not to disguise [anything], because it is a way of seeing life that it is very hard and sad and very funny.
Why’d you frame the story around an interview?
This was a very good way for us to be at the same time funny, because it is almost burlesque, and also to say things, because all of what my character in the movie says I do agree with.
What makes Jean-Pierre Bacri (Jaoui’s husband and frequent collaborator, here her co-writer and the film’s star) such a great actor?
He is the coolest guy I ever met, in all the fields and in all senses. He’s very there. This is a mixture of his father, I guess, and his mother, lots of people because his father was very [earthy]. But also he has a clown in him and he has this unique sense of rhythm and humor. He’s very masculine and very feminine. He’s not afraid to cry a lot, for example.