Video. Cinema: Gad Elmaleh confides in the Sarlat Film Festival

In “Rest a bit”, the emotions are palpable. We go from laughter to tears. Do you think we can laugh at religion?

Totally. I really believe it. It’s healthy, it’s life-saving. This helps to de-dramatize but also to create a dialogue. And above all, I believe that within religions themselves, there are things that are intrinsically comical, comical, astonishing. On the other hand, you just have to have common sense, when you know that a community can be hurt by what you are going to say. But when it’s done with tenderness, even making fun, spoofing, stinging, not only can you, but you must, because that way, that doesn’t make religion something taboo that you can’t talk about.

The only atheist in the film is portrayed as a conspirator… Is there salvation beyond faith?

But of course. Fortunately. But that’s not for me to say, that would be completely prophetic. Then there are personal paths. I believe that the definition of salvation is specific to each person, to each denomination.

You’re squeezing secularism a bit…

The secularism to which I am very attached is essential in France, in a democracy, a country, it goes without saying. It is out of the question for the theological to be mixed with the political. The only problem is that very often, when we put forward secularism, we automatically eclipse the possibilities of spirituality, of faith. We are in a period where we are very attracted by all that is personal development, coaching, yoga, which we can also obtain in spirituality.

This is your first visit to the Sarlat Film Festival. Do you know Périgord, Sarlat?

I know the region well, having performed there very often. On the other hand, this is the first time that I have come to the Film Festival and that is important. If you knew how many times I’ve heard of it. It’s a strong event. All my film colleagues have come to Sarlat many times. Roschdy Zem told me about it again this morning: “You’ll see, it’s a crazy festival. But I haven’t had the opportunity with other films. I am delighted that this is happening with this film, so intimate, so personal. It’s actually luck. The opening of the festival! I’ve never done a festival opening. What allows me is this film, what I put in it, the subject.

Are you more city or country?

It is complicated. I don’t want to choose because I love both. One feeds the other. I just want to be able to get out of somewhere when I’m fed up and alternate the two. I love the energy of cities. I like to take energy slaps. I like the horns a bit, but at some point, the countryside, it makes me feel good.

It must not always be easy to shoot with the family. Do you have a shooting anecdote?

The funniest thing that happened was that my dad knew less lines than my mom. One day, my mother says her line right away and waits for my father to say his. And he does not give it. She gives him a huge nudge but in image. And I have to film that. I tell her, “Mom, you can’t do that. And she said to me, “You wanted the truth.” You wanted us to play the truth. That’s how it goes with your dad every day. I tell him that I can’t put that in my film. She said to me, “Fuck off with that. So it’s also very touching to shoot with his family.

You will meet high school students who want to work in the cinema. What advice could you give them to achieve their ambition?

Video. Cinema: Gad Elmaleh confides in the Sarlat Film Festival