Arte.tv interviewed Bel Ami directors Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod, and Christina Ricci about the movie.
Nick: It’s a wonderful story about a young man with barely any talent but who makes his way towards the French society in the 1890s.
Declan: He is a mini shark in a world of sharks. He’s learning to swim with them until he gets to become the biggest one. I thought it was an interesting modern parable.
Nick: It’s about a press that invents stories and that’s exactly what happens in …. situation in Britain today.
Declan: But at that time phone tappings didn’t exist.
Christina: Well, he’s seducing them and one of the ways of doing that is to give them what they want.
Declan: These women are all quite happy married in a way which is interesting. But they’re ready to do everything for/when it comes to sex which is something that is more male oriented, like we have many many very famous instances recently.
Declan: You hear all lot about women getting undone and ready to abandon everything because they’re irreparably attracted by a man who’s pretty much worthless. It’s intriguing and scary to see people being self-destructed because of this.
Declan: He mirrors what those women want to hear in the dinner scene. He’s waiting to hear what they’re going to say and then he replies what they want to hear. They think that they charm him and he’s charming back at them.