Talking With 'Anatomy of a Fall' Lawyer Swann Arlaud, Who Has No Hair-Care Routine

You’ve worked on a lot of shows and films about crime and justice. What draws you to these projects?

I’m interested in stories, and maybe I’m more touched or moved when there is a subject with a lot about injustice and French social problems. It’s not a choice. It’s intuitive. I go where I feel something and when I want to be part of it.

What do you think about this story that has captivated so many people?

There are so many things—people like stories about crimes, courtroom scenes, and everything. Also, I think there is something modern, feminist, in a way because the first character is a woman and she’s free and maybe that’s a reason why she’s accused, like she’s free to be a good writer, she earns more money than her husband.

It’s precise. It’s brilliant. But it’s not like, “Okay, we’re doing a feminist movie.” Cinema used to show women as objects of decoration. I think this is a point that’s important about the success of the movie.

Obviously, the dog was so good, too.

Yeah, I was going to ask you about the dog.

The fun fact was that we have, of course, cats or dogs trained for cinema, but he was not. I think Justine [saw] the dog and the woman who was taking care of him and asked, “Do you want him to play in a movie?” The last scene when Sandra goes into the office, lays down, and the dog comes to her, is not scripted.

Your hair was like a character of its own in the film. What’s your hair care routine?

I don’t do anything. It’s funny because Justine said, “Okay, I want you with long hair and I want it like this,” and she showed me some pictures of me at an awards ceremony and said, “Yeah, I want you to have this haircut,” so that was her idea.

You shot a lot of this film in the French Alps. Did you get to explore much of the area?

Yeah, it’s a strange region. It’s really beautiful, but on the other hand, there is something very scary about it. When the sun sets, you begin to feel like, “Okay, there is some ghost, maybe, in the house.” Maybe that was because of the story we were shooting, but yeah, there was a strange feeling in this area.

Do you think that Sandra killed her husband?

Nobody knows. I don’t know. It’s like in the movie—every person, each one of us, has to choose. Justine didn’t want to give us an answer, and when Sandra was asking her, “Just tell it to me. I have to know. I have to play guilty or not. Tell me,” Justine was like, “I don’t know.” Me, as my character Vincent Renzi, I believe she’s innocent, because I have to believe it and I have to convince everyone of her innocence.

It’s the same when the kid is like, “Okay, I don’t know now. What can I do?” Marge Berger [the court monitor in the film] tells him, “If you have a doubt, then you have to choose.” For the child, this will change everything in his life. He had already lost his father and he cannot lose his mother—so, yeah, he would think that she’s innocent. But nobody knows. I think this is the strength of the story, is that the movie ends and we still don’t know, and we see that child and say, Okay, you’re going to live your whole life without knowing really if your mother killed your father.

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