On Monday night the SVA community welcomed French filmmaker Benoît Jacquot (A Single Girl, A tout de suite) for a special screening and discussion of his latest feature, Villa Amalia. With its French release two weeks away, the film is already getting favorable notice from the American press, especially for actress Isabelle Huppert in the lead role. Huppert plays a pianist and composer who discovers that her longtime boyfriend is having an affair, abandons her life in Paris and eventually lands in Ischia, off the coast of Naples, where she takes up residence in an old house known as the Villa Amalia.
On stage at the Visual Arts Theater with Sal Petrosino, faculty member and director of operations in the BFA Film, Video and Animation Department at SVA, Jacquot talked about his collaboration with Huppert (they have made five films together) and his unusual methods. “Working together is like going on a journey,” he said through an interpreter. “We discover the movie while it is being made.”
This was a return visit to SVA for Jacquot, who led a screenwriting workshop with select students as he was completing the Villa Amalia screenplay last fall. “As they can tell you, I didn’t know where it was going,” Jacquot joked. The students’ contribution, which was made possible by uniFrance’s On Set With French Cinema program, earned SVA a place in the film’s end credits.
Image: Benoît Jacquot on stage at the Visual Arts Theater with Sal Petrosino; photo by Michael Grant.