Roadside Attractions releases Aline in select theaters on April 8th, 2022.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Why did you decide to begin the film with the dreamlike scene of Aline laying in bed with a lot of white all around her?
Valérie Lemercier: I've made 6 movies. It's the first time that I had actors at the beginning, very early, as the first image and the last image. I think that it's very important to know how your movie begins and how it will finish. It's the same song. The first one is "Ordinaire", sung by Robert Charlebois, and at the end it's also "Ordinaire", sung by Aline. I saw a video of Celine [Dion] who was alone on a white bed and Kleenex, and I wanted something very white. I know that she was sleeping with her twins. What's funny is that we tried to reduce the budget of the movie because it was too expensive, and I cut that sequence one time. My Continuity girl, [Diane Brasseur], asked me, "Why did you cut it? It's my favorite. You have to put it back again." She was right. It was so important. I think I would've been very sad to cut that scene because Aline is alone, in fact. She's not sleeping. She has very fashionable glasses and has music. I saw her new loneliness like that. She remained alive. It was the first image that I found.
NYC MOVIE GURU: How challenging was it to show the process of time throughout Aline?
VL: I learned a lot from Amelie to make jumps in time. The movie goes through 80 years, so it begins in 1932. That's why we spent 9 months doing editing because sometimes we jumped 5 years or 10 years. I think that the thing that's very simple to understand is when she's by the bedside of her small baby and says, "Have a good night. Mommy will come back when she finishes playing in Las Vegas.", the shot just after is when the boy is 10 years old and has longer hair, and she wakes up the little boy who's 5 years older. I spent a lot of time making such a jump in Aline's life because this movie is 2 hours long and couldn't be longer.
NYC MOVIE GURU: I think that Aline is fundamentally about a romance between Aline and herself. She learns to love herself and to see herself as a human being. How do you feel about that? Do you agree?
VL: Yeah. It's the first time that I've heard that, but I think that it's a very good analysis of the movie. For me, it's a movie about the artist's life. I spent 30 years on stage, and I know about the feeling of loneliness when the show is over. I know what's on the stage. I don't play to such a large audience, but I think that you could play such a rock star only if you know what it means to be on stage. It's a tribute to René Angélil, [Celine Dion's ex-husband], because I think a lot of artists would be so happy to have such a partner by her side. Also, to the make-up artist, Fred, who's not a role based on real life, but I wanted to speak about the special relationship that you have with such people. Where you're shooting, you wake up at 4 in the morning and they see you in every mood. Sometimes you're sleepy, sometimes you're very sad, sometimes all is okay. They transform you and make you beautiful. I also wanted to speak about being well-surrounded and protected by your crew, by your husband and by your family. When you saw Madonna: Truth or Dare, the documentary about Madonna, she had a problem with the microphone which wasn't correct, but you never saw Celine [Dion] with such problems. She only asked, and it's not a small thing, to sing. When I was doing the movie, the crew knew at that time when I was on stage, when I was singing, that I don't care about anything around me. All of them were very well-prepared. They knew that I didn't want to see what happens behind [the stage] and that I have to be 200% in my songs. It's the first time that I'm crying in one of my movies. It wasn't difficult, but it was like that, especially when she sings for her mother because the big love story is also the story with her mother and the lost little girl.
NYC MOVIE GURU: Aline is very charismatic and so are you. How do you define charisma? Can you detect your own charisma?
VL: I never think about my own charisma. I like not being myself. I think that Celine has a lot of charisma. I've seen her on stage. I love being on stage, but I've never seen myself playing. I'm the only one not to record my own shows. I've made some shows since I was 25. There are no DVDs and nothing on TV. I make them only for an audience. So, I don't know if I have charisma or not, but I'm totally here when I'm playing. And I'm playing little girls--that's why I wanted to play Aline also when she's not a big, glamorous star. I wanted to play that part of that first growing pains of adolescence that I felt when I was small and not so secure. I can't speak about my own charisma. I try to have joy. I think that people on the film shooting were feeling how happy I was to play Aline and to be totally devoted to the movie. I spent 4 years totally alone to be 100% in Aline.