Directed by Marianne Farley, “Marguerite” is the tender story of an aging woman who comes to terms with her queer sexuality late in life.
Nominated for an Academy Award in 2019 — and premiering online today, exclusively on Vimeo — the film examines love, desire, and intergenerational connection through Marguerite’s friendship with her much younger nurse, Rachel. When Marguerite learns of Rachel’s girlfriend, she reflects on the feelings she once had for a woman, finding acceptance in the process.
In honor of today’s premiere, we reached out to director Marianne Farley to learn more about the film and its origins. Here’s what she had to say.
On the inspiration for “Marguerite”:
“The story came to me when I realized how fortunate I was to have been born in a time (and place) that allows me to be who I am and love who I want. I’ve never had any taboos about sexuality; I wasn’t raised that way. But for my grandmother’s generation, it wasn’t so. Women had to marry and have children. Most of them didn’t work, and their primary focus was to make their husbands happy. It was never about the woman’s needs, dreams, or aspirations.
Back then, society had rigid rules when it came to love, desire, and sexuality — and unfortunately, in many countries, that’s still the case. In my film, Rachel (the nurse) expresses herself in a way that shocks Marguerite at first, but in the end, it opens her up to a much more inclusive view of the world.”
On why “Marguerite” was an important story to tell:
“With ‘Marguerite,’ I wanted to start a conversation about LGBTQ issues and the elderly, and create a unifying film that uncovered loneliness and regret while embracing human vulnerability. I was inspired by the idea that a short film could serve as a bridge between people of different generations and different communities. Hate crimes against LGBTQ people are rising, and I felt an urgent need to bring this story to the screen. I’m a passionate defender of human rights. I believe wholeheartedly that only love, empathy, and compassion can conquer discrimination and injustice. This film stems from that conviction.”
On the hardest part of making a film:
“The most challenging part for me is the writing. It’s such a delicate art — especially the screenwriting. I have to go through so many stages before I have a draft that I’m satisfied with. It’s easy to get lost along the way, and finding my way back can be painful. I prefer films that don’t have too much exposition, but it’s tricky to try and sneak in information. I’m still learning to trust the process and let the words come to me.”
On directing style and working with actors:
“I know firsthand how challenging it is to be in front of the camera, and I think that makes me sensitive to my actors’ vulnerabilities. I try to keep my emotional antennas up so that I know exactly what they need at any given moment. Sometimes it’s just a kind and gentle word of encouragement, and sometimes it’s about giving guidance or getting someone out of their comfort zone. I believe it’s the director’s job to adapt to each actor, because each actor is unique. And it’s precisely that uniqueness that you want to bring to the screen.”
On what’s next:
“I have a feature film in development (North of Albany, co-written by Claude Brie and co-produced by Benoit Beaulieu) and another short film in the works (“Seize,” produced by Charlotte Beaudoin-Poisson and Sophie Ricard-Harvey). Hopefully both will be shot this year. I also co-produced a feature film (Les Nôtres, directed by Jeanne Leblanc and co-produced by Benoit Beaulieu) that will be coming out soon.”