Léa Seydoux talks about sadness, the superficial and her sadistic new film

This film – which Cronenberg said would cause swoons and walkouts – premiered at Cannes to warm reviews. It’s daring to imagine a world in which our bodies become canvases for extreme, surgery-based art, and each incision invokes an orgasm. Seydoux stars alongside Viggo Mortensen, who plays his brooding partner, Saul, and Kristen Stewart, who plays a shy assistant at an organ registry, eager to learn more about the couple.

Caprice is arguably the film’s most tender and complex character: a trauma surgeon-turned-artist who, when faced with the opportunity to stage the couple’s most controversial show to date, recoils and bursts out. in tears. “I wanted to bring tenderness to this film, says Seydoux, because David’s universe is tough.

She is one of the finest plumbers of pure emotion on the screen: in 2013, Seydoux won the prestigious Palme d’Or, the first prize at Cannes, generally awarded only to the director of a film, alongside by Adèle Exarchopoulos for their moving rotations in Blue is the hottest color, the controversial yet highly acclaimed queer drama that put Seydoux’s name on the world map. In this film, as in later projects, her tears always seemed to come from a real place. “Well, the cinema really saved me from my grief,” she confirms. “I always felt like that. I had this melancholy in me when I was a child, and I still carry it. It’s something I try to do in my films: to transform this melancholy into something beautiful.

She seems tired when we talk, but again, the festival feels like a circus. “Cannes is, more or less, the right balance between superficial and deep art,” she says, a smile revealing the famous gap between her teeth. Since 2013, she has returned for all festivals except last year, when she was diagnosed with the coronavirus shortly before the start of Cannes and missed four world premieres of her films.

She’s happy to be back in the throes of it all, though. “You know, I like superficiality,” she says, her voice so calm you have to lean in to hear it. “I need it, because otherwise the world is too heavy.” You might assume that an actor whose directing collaborators include some of cinema’s most renowned names – Wes Anderson, Yorgos Lanthimos, Arnaud Desplechin, Cary Joji Fukunaga, Xavier Dolan – might have a more haughty view of the tasteless side of this stage. Instead, she admits to scrolling through her friend’s Instagram accounts to observe “those girls who are going through this and making it a success,” she says. “They created meaning out of emptiness.”

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