Interview by Alexandre Arditti – Photos: Philippe Schaff
His first film, Remembering the Beautiful Things, was a master stroke. Since then, she has been one of the most popular French actresses and directors. It is in Olmeto, in Southern Corsica, in the idyllic setting of the Hotel Marinca & Spa, that the sparkling Zabou Breitman put down her suitcases with her daughter Anna, the time of a few well-deserved vacation days between mother and daughter. . For Voyages et Hôtels de Rêve, she looks back on the trips of her life, her favorites and her happiness in discovering the Island of Beauty for the first time. Facing the Big Blue, meet an inspired artist.
Are you a frequent traveler?
Zabou Breitman: Yes really, and since I was little. My mother is from Quebec so when I was a child we went to Canada at least twice a year. Later, I started traveling with films. I got a taste for it despite my fear of flying. To heal myself, I had to spend a lot of time in the cockpits during takeoffs and landings! With Unifrance – the organization responsible for promoting French cinema abroad – I have also had the chance to make several great trips to represent my films. For example, I was recently in Rome, but I also went to Yokohama in Japan, to Shanghai in China… When my children were younger, we went to discover a new country every year. Suddenly, they caught the virus and have been traveling the planet for many years. My daughter Anna, now lives in New York.
Yet this is your first trip to Corsica …
Z.B. It is true ! It’s pretty incredible indeed because it’s only two hours from Paris, yet the opportunity never presented itself. I have Corsican friends, but ultimately it’s a bit like the Parisians who don’t visit the Eiffel Tower, we sometimes go on vacation to the end of the world, forgetting that here too, wonders are reaching out to us. In any case, I am really delighted to discover Corsica, it is as beautiful as I imagined, these small coves, these steep reliefs, this nature in all these states, this calm and this blue sea … It’s so wild that we could believe ourselves at the end of the world!
Which trips and which countries have marked you the most?
Z.B. New Caledonia, a very wild land, with in particular a fabulous region called the Forgotten Coast; Reunion, always for the very wild side. Over there, it almost feels like Jurassic Park with those famous volacnic circuses, these waterfalls; Iceland with its black volcanoes and incredible landscapes; Canada of course since I am half from Quebec; without forgetting the United States which I like very much, especially the Great West, San Francisco, the great national parks, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon, Yosemite Park, the Grand Canyon… I am very fond of nature as you have understood ! On the Asian side, I really liked southern Thailand, but also China for its impressive and energetic megalopolises. Finally, I fell in love with Ethiopia of course, because I discovered it in incredible conditions with Frédéric Lopez during the show Rendez-vous en Terre Inconnue.
In fact, tell us about this experience in Rendez-vous en Terre Inconnue…
Z.B. I didn’t know the show when Frédéric Lopez offered it to me over two years ago. After watching it, I said to myself: why me? How lucky to be chosen! “This is the person that interests me,” Frédéric replied. The only requirement to go was to speak English and be a woman for this particular episode, but you couldn’t know in advance which country you were going to go to. I had to try on fleece clothes like swimsuits! I was afraid until the end that the show would be canceled, so excited I was about this project. Whether it was before the start or on site, I was totally confident with Frédéric and the film crew so that I had absolutely no fears or apprehension. And yet, I am rather fearful! Two years after meeting Ethiopia and my friends from the Nyangatom tribe, I am still amazed to have had such an experience. I immediately realized that I was living a unique moment!
Why do you think this show is so successful?
Z.B. It’s a smart show. Also, the fact that we stay there for two weeks is very important. It’s because you stay so long that all of a sudden you feel like something’s going on. Suddenly, those people, these tribes that seem to come straight out of a picture book become your next door neighbors! The show brings people together and that’s why it’s so popular. Of course, personalities are a vehicle for bringing audiences to the show, but the real stars are there, with exceptional characters every time. Why not go back there with my children to share this extraordinary experience with them for a few days, but for the moment there are political problems in the region and we have to wait for things to calm down before considering be able to return.
Which countries do you dream of visiting today?
Z.B. I plan to go soon to Cambodia, then why not to Vietnam, and to India in the Kerala region for an ultra zen stay around yoga and Ayurveda!
Your daughter now lives in New York, is this the opportunity for you to stay there frequently?
Z.B. Yes, this is my chance to visit him in between plays. For now, she is considering her life there and is starting a promising singing career (under the name Kiddo editor’s note). Sometimes I also tell myself that I will be fine spending a year abroad, why not in Rome because I love this city very much. I feel particularly good in Italy. And in France, where do you go to recharge your batteries to disconnect from Parisian life? Z.B. Without hesitation, the Arcachon Basin. This is my refuge, I used to go there with my parents when I was little and I feel at home there. We are at the Hotel Marinca & Spa in Olmeto, in the south of Corsica, where you spend a few days of vacation.
What attracted you to this establishment?
Z.B. Besides its exceptional location facing the sea, I love the small, peaceful coves that bathe the hotel. Looks like they’re private. I also appreciated the private spa for clients, it is rare and very pleasant. You can both enjoy the swimming pool, the hammam, and then indulge in a massage in peace. The masseuses here are particularly talented and when it comes to massages, I know all about it! On the table side, the chef treats us with a very gourmet menu. As for Corsican wines, I was also delighted to be able to discover very pretty wines that I did not know! Finally, the suite with the outdoor jacuzzi is very pleasant and offers a breathtaking panoramic view of the Gulf of Propriano, I love it!
Finally, for you, what is luxury?
Z.B. For me, it doesn’t have to be about comfort. Of course, it’s nice, but for me, luxury is more like having the chance to admire a unique landscape, with birds you’ve never seen, taste a dish you’ve never eaten, in short , obvious, this little something that can bring an extra soul …
When you are preparing a film, how do you choose the shooting locations?
Z.B. When I write, I don’t necessarily have any preconceptions to begin with. Rather, it comes in small touches with images, colors, sensations … The location and the choice of different filming locations occur later in the creation process.
- Hôtel Marinca & Spa
- Celebrity Consulting : Eric Ritter