“My films are all connected to one another because they are so personal”

Mia Hansen-Løve on One Fine Morning, her latest and most intimate film.

14 June 2023

By Catherine Wheatley

One Fine Morning (Un beau matin, 2022)
Sight and Sound

Mia Hansen-Løve’s films might best be described as ‘autofiction’, although the stories she tells aren’t always her own. Past features have drawn on the lives of her uncle (All Is Forgiven, 2007) and mother (Things to Come, 2016). Bergman Island (2021), meanwhile, visited her own romantic life. One Fine Morning marries the two, yoking the romantic reawakening of forty-ish translator and single mother Sandra (a luminous Léa Seydoux) with her married friend (Melvil Poupaud) to the slow demise of her philosopher father (Pascal Greggory), the result of a neurological disorder that is robbing him of sight and language. Sorrow and hope interlace in Hansen-Løve’s most intimate film yet, which stars her grandmother and incorporates writings by her father. 

Mia Hansen-Løve
© Judicaël Perrin

We’ve met versions of these characters before, particularly in Things to Come. Do you think of this as a sequel of sorts to that film?

When I started writing it, I thought the film would be part of a diptych with Things to Come. Later, I thought it actually connects with Goodbye First Love [2011] because they are probably my two most autobiographical films. And then later still, the film it felt closest to was All Is Forgiven, which is another film about a relationship between a father and a daughter and the intuition that, at some point, the father will disappear. In the end, I think my films are all connected to one another because they are so personal.

Both Things to Come and One Fine Morning start in summer and end at Christmas. There’s a coda here, though, which takes place in the spring. What inspired that?

Because it was a darker film, it was important for me while I was doing One Fine Morning to have some light at the end. In fact, the last scene is where the film really started for me, and that’s the one that is the closest to reality. My father was actually in the very same nursing home that we see in the film, and I happened at one point to go there and walk the steps up to the Sacré-Coeur with my boyfriend and my daughter. In that moment, where sorrow is intertwined with the possibility of happiness, I had the feeling of abandoning my father, but at the same time I needed to abandon him in order to live my life.

In the film, Pascal Greggory reads a text written by your father, ‘Ballade en Maladie Rare’. It’s a very powerful moment, a kind of resurrection for him.

It was very important to me that there was going to be a moment where we hear this voice, which is not only my father’s voice, but Pascal’s too. It made me sad when I started writing the film that the one film I was going to do that was directly inspired by my father, it would be about him being sick, because that reflected only the last part of his life. Before then, he had been so different. In a way, it made me angry, when I wanted to make the film at this point where it was too late and where the disease was taking up so much space. My father was somebody who wrote very well; it was very important for me that there was a moment where we would at least get a notion of who he was, back when he could speak.

One Fine Morning (Un beau matin, 2022)

You’re a huge admirer of Éric Rohmer and both Pascal Greggory and Melvil Poupaud have appeared in his films. How was it to work with them?

I’ve admired them both in different films by Rohmer. A Summer’s Tale [1996], with Melvil Poupaud, is maybe one of the first Rohmer films I saw, but my connection to it – it ’s not even to do with Rohmer, really. It ’s a connection to teenagehood. I would spend some of my holidays in Dinard, the same place where they shot A Summer’s Tale. It very much felt like [Poupaud] was part of my world, but I’d never met him [before]. I think he actually hates being always associated with this one role, and I understand that completely – he’s been in many other films where he was great. So I tried to not insist too much on my love for Rohmer when we were making the film. It’s thanks to both actors that, even if the film was inspired by things that were painful, I could still enjoy making it. Pascal Greggory’s character [is] not an easy part [to play], and he trusted me completely. He knew that because I knew this illness so well, I could help him find the right tone and music in his way of talking. That trust made everything so easy.

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Hamaguchi Ryūsuke: insights on and from the Japanese auteur Plus: Mica Levi on their innovative score for The Zone of Interest – Víctor Erice interviewed about his masterful return to feature filmmaking, Close Your Eyes – a festival report from a politically charged Berlinale

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