Julie Delpy is a bit of a warrior.
The French filmmaker, actress and singer-songwriter is best known for
starring opposite Ethan Hawke in the indie Before Sunrise trilogy, but
she’s also fierce and outspoken opponent of the anti-feminist forces in
Delpy’s sixth feature as writer/director/star is Lolo,
a French farce in which she stars as Violette, with Dany Boon and
Vincent Lacoste. Boon plays her new love, Jean-Rene, a bit of a hick;
Lacoste plays Lolo, her 19-year-old son, a bit of a sociopath. Nasty,
needy Lolo is intent upon keeping his mother and Jean-Rene apart;
Violette believes her son to be a sensitive genius, so it’s a comic
disaster all around.
The movie is blackly funny and bawdy. When Delpy, 46, was at the
Toronto International Film Festival to promote Lolo, she talked about
how some male critics were taken aback at the sexual humour. Her movie,
she says, made them angry.
“It shocks men. We’re living in a world where women are bought and
sold,” she says, “and, like, women make a joke about a penis and the
“It’s hilarious. Luckily, I surround myself with men who have no
issues with this. My dad is more of a feminist than my mom was. Thank
God there are men like that.”
Is it possible that some of those male critics have a false idea
about Delpy from her role in the romantic Before Sunrise movies?
“If they only knew how those movies were written, in the room with
Ethan [Hawke], Richard [Linklater, the director] and me, 90% of our
conversation was about sex!” She laughs again.
“If they only knew how dirty our conversations were, and how that gets us to writing romantic stuff, they’d be very offended.”
One of the influences on Delpy’s creation of the movie Lolo is her
own young son, Leo, from her relationship with German composer Marc
Streitenfeld. She was inspired by her own tendency, says Delpy, to
encourage her son, to think him brilliant, to give him confidence. “I
think it’s good for the mom to think, ‘My kid is brilliant,’ because
ultimately he’ll figure out maybe he isn’t, and confidence is so
important to a child.
“And then I was thinking, ‘What if you go too far with that?’ How do
you make a kid think he’s the centre of your universe, but not the
centre of THE universe?" Delpy is talking about her movie, but adds as
an afterthought, "My son said the other day, ‘Everybody is the centre of
the universe, because of the Big Bang Theory, mom.’ He’s six years
He understands her work, says the filmmaker, “And he loves movies. He’s just a bit disappointed I make comedies and not sci-fi.
“But I’ll get to sci-fi.”
Lolo opens in select cities this Friday.