“Love are two autonomies that meet to add joys”

A race against time. Jacques Gamblin tries to rekindle the flame of his couple in “Let’s smile for the photo”, the first film by François Uzan, which started with the special jury prize at the Alpe d’Huez 2022 Festival.

This sunny, fun and tender comedy about parent / child relationships and marital bonding, which stands the test of time, is to be discovered in dark rooms from 11 May.

The actor slips into the skin of Thierry, a father of two children, who spends his days with his nose in the past, classifying his family photos. But when his wife (Pascale Arbillot) announces that she is leaving him, Thierry, desperate, offers to redo “Greece 98”, their best holiday, to spend a last week all four of them, but above all to win back the heart of his wife.

Your character wants to relive the past, frozen in photos dating back 20 years, convinced that the best is behind him. Are you sensitive to nostalgia?

I’m not susceptible to nostalgia. But sometimes it reaches you and we don’t know. There is a form of regret in nostalgia, and regret is not my friend. It prevents me from moving forward and is useless. I’m not one to look back on.

“Let’s smile for the photo” evokes the difficulty of finding the complicity of the beginnings and putting an end to years of life together. What do you think a couple is?

Defining the couple is like defining love, impossible. There are as many definitions as there are pairs. But in my opinion they are first of all two autonomies that meet to add up the joys, in an ideal way.

In a couple, humor is a pedestal, a stepping stone to longevity.

If we are talking about a couple who already have a certain duration, it means being brave, being able to talk to each other, putting things on the table when they are difficult and having a sense of humor in common, humor is a pedestal, a stepping stone to longevity.

Being in a relationship means not being afraid of each other and not asking the impossible from your partner, because it is suspicious. It is a connivance, a complicity. It is when two beings who do not necessarily look alike enrich and improve each other.

Why do you think this feature speaks to everyone?

Because we are all children of parents and we will be for life. Even when they are gone, we are still children of our parents’ imaginations. This film is about generations and being together again. It is an extraordinary first film, I admire the work of François Uzan.

Not taking pictures is a way to exercise memory.

It makes us laugh too. And it’s nice to air his brain. Humor is a form of stepping stone to emotion, however it is a starting point. Patrick becomes tender because he makes us laugh with his obsessions and his principles.

It doesn’t matter that the photo is well framed. What matters to Thierry is to capture the moment. Is it really important to capture everything?

We are in an era where photography is omnipresent. We try to capture every moment with our phone. But the trap is no longer being in the moment, but in the communication of this moment, and seeing everything through a screen, and not with your eyes.

When I am alone, I am sometimes tempted to share this moment with others, but no, this moment is mine, I have to enjoy it alone. I do mental work so that I don’t regret or get frustrated at being alone. And then I get close to a form of happiness.

Not taking pictures is also a way to work on memory, sensors, image and imagination. These are stolen moments.

I only went on vacation three times with my parents.

Are you, like your character, a dad always behind the camera, to build memories?

My mom has done a lot of albums, and it’s great, even though we were tired of posing. And over time we realize that it has all the memory of the family, and that we can pass it on in turn.

But personally, I’m not always a dad behind the camera. Digital photos are affordable, but in the end we don’t look at them much and don’t take the time to print them to archive.

Also, what is your best memory of a family vacation?

I didn’t have the opportunity to travel often with my parents because they were traders in a seaside town. I only went on vacation three times with my family. But I remember in particular a walk in the woods, in the snow.

It was a moment for us, and it is unforgettable because we had this difficulty finding our way back, but I felt protected by my father, who was very different when we left. But I was only able to see it three small times.

Dozens of them can weigh, but they are also okay, because you can no longer cheat.

Looking at a photo in an album also means realizing that time is passing. You are 64 years old. Do you say it easily? Are you aware of aging?

When you’re an actor, you don’t want people to know your age because you want to be available for different roles, knowing that in this job it’s your age that matters most of all.

But I can no longer hide the years that pass and I have stopped this fight of coquetry. Dozens of them can weigh, but they are also okay, because you can no longer cheat. Ultimately, these numbers calmed me down. I tell myself, there are, so go with it. Don’t be sad, but proud.

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