From Slot Machine and Loco Movies, New Directors Buzz Title ‘Woman at Sea’

From Slot Machine and Loco Movies, New Directors Buzz Title ‘Woman at Sea’


“Woman at Sea” (“Grand Marin”), a beautifully filmed adaptation of the best-selling book of the same name, stars in the prestigious New Directors’ section in San Sebastián and marks the directorial debut of Russian actor Dinara Drukarova, who also starred in the movie shines.

“Woman at Sea” is sold by Loco Films and is produced by Marianne Slot and Carine LeBlanc at the Paris-based slot machine game (“Melancholia”). Shot in Iceland, the film captures the struggle for integration and the search for oneself, all in the film’s stunning yet cold seascapes.

Drukarova’s character Lili follows in the footsteps of the book’s author, Catherine Poulain, who spent 10 years working on fishing boats in Alaska, as described in the book.


“Woman at Sea” is about a woman who works on a boat. I understand you live on a boat. Is there a connection?

I have lived on a boat for over 20 years. My children were born on the boat. The man I love already lived on the boat. I like living on a boat because it’s about the idea of ​​nomadism. cast off. It’s so romantic. Living on a boat is like living inside a very big fish that lives. The water gives you energy and calms you. When I’m upset, I look at the river and say, “This will pass like the river.” You have no neighbors. So I can party till morning. Yet the film is inspired by the book ‘Woman at Sea’.

How did the project start?

It all started with the book ‘Woman at Sea’. When I read it, it occurred to me. It was something crucial. It has changed my life. Sometimes a book or a painting gives you an answer to a question you ask. I read it and said, “I want to make the movie.” For me it was a metaphor, and a universal story of a human being who wants to leave everything behind and go to the end of the world to find out who she is. I found the song of the author Catherine Poulain and met her. It was vital to me. It was something to me like I couldn’t live if I didn’t.

What inspired you in this true story?

Catherine inspired me. She’s wild. The story of her life. She is a modern day adventurer. She has lived in Alaska for 10 years. Then the immigration authorities caught her and sent her back to France. When I went to visit her in Bordeaux, I spent an evening with her and we drank two bottles of rum. I said come what may, I want to thank you for writing this because it gave me what I needed to keep going. Two days later she gave me the rights.

What was the making of the film like, especially given the pandemic?

It was a long way. It was very complicated. My producer said it’s your first movie, and it’s an edit, and you have to work with someone who’s already known. But I was upset by the resulting script and told me to write my own. Then it was time to find the finances. Presenting the project to film committees. It’s like being a prisoner and having your last word.

Why did you film in Iceland when the story is set in Alaska?

In France, the rule is that if they fund it, 50% must be in French. The original story is set in Alaska, but this made me think of Canada. But then COVID-19 arrived and the Indian reservoir we wanted to shoot was locked. Then my producer closed the shop. I suggested the project to Slot Machine instead. They said, “Let’s go to Iceland.” I said, “Why not?” It’s like the end of the world. We have spent five months in Iceland from January 2021. It was COVID time. Everything was closed and it was so complicated.

How did you develop the style of the film?

I wanted poetry in the images. Poetry is very important in cinema.

I wrote DP Timo Salminen. He is Finnish. He doesn’t really talk. He just says “yes” or “no”. But he got it. When I first looked at him, I said this is my husband. I looked at his eyes. This was my alter ego. We made a short film first and it worked. I am now preparing a documentary. It is a triptych with “Woman by the Sea”. That’ll be the end, and then I’ll do something else. Maybe become a sailor. Life is too short to do just one thing.

What was it like to star in the film and direct at the same time?

It was something I did in a very special frame of mind because it took extreme concentration for me to play and direct because I didn’t want to lose anything.

What do you think of the result?

I wanted to defend freedom of expression in the cinema. Not to follow tradition. I don’t want to think people are stupid. The poetry and beauty of film and art, and the questions that film can ask you, were the most important to preserve and defend in the making of the film. It must be sincere. It had to be fair. Straight to the point. And it was for all my love for film. It was crazy to be alive. I got burned. I lay in the ashes afterwards. Like a Phoenix, but it allowed me to be reborn. I hope I’ve created something that the audience will feel with me. That it will have an echo in their hearts, and that they may ask a question and have something very personal to think about.


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