“Never let someone tell you that you can’t do something”

An emblematic figure in the films of Robert Guédiguian, her companion, Ariane Ascaride won the César for best actress in 1998 for Marius and Jeanette. At 68, the actress multiplies theatrical projects. She is currently on two stages in Paris, at the Lucernaire for poems by Bertolt Brecht and at La Scala for Gisèle Halimi, a fierce freedom, where she tells, alongside Philippine Pierre-Brossolette, the itinerary of the famous lawyer, a fighter. Like her.

I wouldn’t have come here if…

If I hadn’t been born into a modest family, the last after two boys.

Why is this position in the sibling important?

I was born in Marseilles, in a family of half Italian origin, at a time when the girls, in a popular environment, were there to help their mother, bring coffee in bed to their brothers, and perhaps after marry. If they were studying, we were happy, but it was not put forward. My father was happy to have a daughter, but by arriving much later than my brothers, in this already chaotic family, I upset the balance that had been established.

This feeling of difference between girl and boy, did you feel it very early?

I felt it almost physically, because one day my father cut my hair. Until the age of 8, I had long braids, pleated skirts and everyone said I was very nice. When my mother untangled my hair and combed my hair, I cried a lot and it made her late for work. She was an office worker. One morning, my father, a former hairdresser who became a representative for L’Oréal, said: “That’s enough, I’m cutting his hair. It was snowing in Marseilles. My mother had bought me pants. I went out in the street with this outfit and my short hair. That morning, the baker said to me: “Child, who are you? I loved it, it was like I was transgressing something. I could finally run like a boy. I had the feeling of great freedom, which has never left me.

You talk about a “chaotic” family, what does that mean?

My parents didn’t get along at all. My father had mistresses, he was often absent. This couple neurosis has passed before us. They never discussed the fate of their children. They were in a fight. My mother always loved my father, he was the only man in her life so she closed herself off, became very hard to get by. It was a time when we stayed together no matter what. They never left each other. Anyway, for my mother, it was not possible to leave. She could not have made it financially with three children. My parents no longer spoke to each other, except to argue. With my brothers, we pushed a bit on our own. You just had to do well in school. That was fundamental for my parents.

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