Rampling through the ages: from ‘Georgy Girl’ to ‘The Night Porter’ to ‘The Sea’

Charlotte Rampling has wandered the international cinema scene for a half a century, forever seeking challenges and shrugging off controversy. She talks about her new Irish film, an adaptation of John Banville’s ‘The Sea’, as well as projects both famous and notorious over the years

Fri, Apr 11, 2014, 00:00

“Both those things. You’re temporary. And you’re adjusting. You’re never really part of a society. You’re not quite part of the little town or suburb you’re in. You learn to let go at an early age of the sense that you’re going to see these people again. Vague. And you get on with another way of dealing with the world. And film is very close to that in a way. Every time you make a film you adopt a family around you. And you become very close. It’s a temporary family and a temporary society. The stories that you’re telling. But why not? That’s wonderful.”

Army life also goes some way to explaining Rampling’s aptitude for relocation, a gift that has allowed her to become a star of French, Italian and Anglophone cinema.

“I have searched that out too,” she says. “From very early on. I’ve sought out novelty and different languages. I have made that a priority, to penetrate as many cultures and ways of being as possible I can. I’m very much inside my head anyway. I’m very up. I’m very down. I’m very hot. I’m very cold. I’m all that anyway. So then a character joins me. And I’m off the hook for a while. I’m protected. I’m looked after. I have words to speak. And I get to absorb other experiences.”

Following Rampling’s Italian period, she relocated to France with her second husband, composer Jean-Michel Jarre, in 1976. They divorced some 20 years later. Since then she has been involved with a Parisian businessman and become a muse for France’s younger auteurs, working with Laurent Cantet on Heading South,Dominik Moll on Lemming and François Ozon on Swimming Pool, Sous le Sable, Angel and Young and Pretty.

“When Ozon first phoned me for Swimming Pool we had no money, but I knew that was what I needed to do. It turned out to be a very good move. Of course it could have been a bad move. And that’s how I’ve always done things. The mind chatters endlessly. It can do dastardly things to you. So you need to be guided by instinct.

“Nothing has been a career move. That doesn’t matter to me. That’s not what I’m doing. I’m not doing a career.”

yyy The Sea opens on April 18th