Rachel is a young and modest typist who meets the cultivated and polyglot Philippe of a bourgeois family in a café in the 1950s in the French city of Châteauroux. The spark ignites immediately and the couple gives free rein to a brief but intense relationship in which the handsome seducer makes it clear that he will never marry her because he does not belong to his social and economic class.
However, he has already entered her life and she does not want to let him go. For the wealthy donjuán there are three kinds of love: the conjugal, the passion and the inevitable encounter. And from this last one Chantal is born, a girl who will be involved in a turbulent relationship with her parents over the years, especially with an enigmatic and abusive father figure who comes and goes intermittently in her life and a mother who He insists at all costs on Philippe's recognizing his daughter, even though he chooses to distance himself and form another family.
Rachel is not a fictional character, is actually based on the mother of the writer Christine Angot, whose autobiographical novel An impossible love The French director Catherine Corsini has moved to the cinema with the actress Virginie Efira (20 years does not matter, A man of height) in the role of that woman humiliated in love for her social condition. "I read the book two years before the film was made and I felt that it spoke to me in an intimate way," says the Belgian interpreter in an interview to The vanguard. Efira knew that Corsini was going to take charge of making the film, so when he met her at a festival he took the opportunity to convince her, although "I was afraid that he would not give me the role, since until then he had mostly made characters of women safer, but once in the trials everything was shot, "he confesses.
The protagonist was mainly attracted to her "intellectual inferiority complex, as well as being a very solid and dignified person, capable of supporting everything. Also the social issue and its sexual and religious complexes that blinded her and made her prone to enter into a kind of stormy relationship that contaminated her union with the daughter ".
Corsini, who puts a finger on the sore in the social gap that separates lovers, as well as the prevailing machismo of the time, did not give many indications to create Rachel, so he had absolute freedom when exploring and to understand a woman whom she has shaped with situations of her own life, personal things that she usually throws into her characters, since she herself has run into some complicated romantic relationships, although none is as difficult as Rachel's experience, "That goes directly to hell".
Corsini puts the finger on the sore in the social gap that separates lovers
The protagonist is candid and strong at the same time. She is a modern woman who works and recycles professionally and carries the burden of raising her daughter alone. However, it is hard to put an end to a poisoned relationship with which Philippe, played by the French actor Niels Schneider, plays cat and mouse. "This kind of passion that reflects the film is not an old thing, love and reason have always been very close and despite the many advances that women have experienced over the past years, this masochist love devoid of all reason it is something that still exists today and that at the same time reflects personal traumas ".
Efira emphasizes that she is interested in "contradictory people who reflect mixed and different feelings". For that reason, she understands that her character protects her daughter so much that in the end she does not realize what is happening during those weekends that Chantal goes through with her father when they take up the relationship again. "It is difficult to assimilate and it takes time to verbalize," he says. The film is told in the first person by the daughter, whose voice-over guides the whole story, from beginning to end. Thus, we followed her from her birth on February 3, 1959, until well into her thirties, already turned into a mother and with a marriage that falters.
The masochistic love devoid of all reason is not something of the past, it exists today "
Corsini focuses precisely on showing the viewer the changes that occur within this mother-child relationship prone to conflict because of the appearance of a toxic and manipulative man who has played with them at will. Virginie Efira puts herself in Rachel's shoes from her youth to an advanced age, a process of physical aging for which she needed six hours a day of makeup. "Getting into the character as a major was easy because I saw myself in the mirror really like an old woman, in addition to getting used to the movements little by little without being exaggerated; the most complicated thing was to be credible as a 25-year-old when I was 40 and I was terrified that I would not go. "
Christine Angot has seen the film and loved it, according to the actress. Both have made good friends, but the most extraordinary thing for Efira has been to know the writer's mother personally: "I had so many things to tell her that when I saw her, I was speechless with emotion," she confesses. Accustomed to more romantic roles and comedy, the interpreter began to take a more serious turn to her career with her role as the lawyer of The Victoria cases, for which he chose a César award for the best actress.
Since then she has assumed increasingly complex roles, such as Rachel de An impossible love, with which he won another nomination for the most important awards in French cinema. And after collaborating in a secondary role in Elle, by Paul Verhoeven, the Belgian actress once again coincides with the controversial filmmaker in Benedetta, where she plays a lesbian nun in Renaissance Italy. Efira, who declares himself a fan of the director of Basic instinct from a young age, he defends that the shooting has been "the strongest experience I have ever had".
The face-to-face meeting with the real Rachel
I had so many things to say to her that, when I saw her, I was speechless with emotion "