Named among UniFrance’s 10 Talents to Watch 2023, rising star Nadia Tereskiewicz is poised to breakout.
After stepping onto the international stage for work on Monia Chokri and Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi’s 2022 Sundance and Cannes headliners “Babysitter” and “Forever Young,” the Franco-Finnish actor will step into the spotlight next, hitting the French awards circuit with Francois Ozon’s “The Crime.” Is Mine” while promoting “Forever Young” — a star-studded showbiz caper that puts Tereskiewicz front and center.
And the performer’s upcoming lead roles in Stephanie Di Giasto’s “La Rosalie” and Robin Campillo’s “Vajaha, The Strangers” seem likely for many repeat festival visits. diversity Unifrance spoke to the actress as part of a rendez-vous in Paris.
How did you get into filmmaking?
I trained as a dancer and for a long time I wanted to make it my profession. Later, I studied literature, and decided to become a French teacher. When I discovered theatre, I found it connected to sound and body, it could connect dance to literature. I did my first screen role as an extra [Stephanie Di Giusto’s 2016 Loïe Fuller biopic] “Dancer.” It’s a period film, set in the early 20th century, full of crazy sets and costumes, and a story that blew me away. I immediately fell in love with the movie, but I wasn’t sure how I felt about the acting on screen. After shooting Dennis Berry’s “Wild” for two months in Portugal with another co-star, I also love acting.
Dance is still a key to your process, right?
Every actor does it differently and I do it through my body. As with Mania Chokri’s “Babysitter,” it’s exciting to either subvert gender clichés, or to establish a physicality that conveys a sense of permanent discomfort. [the upcoming film “La Rosalie”], or to display a sense of complete freedom and abandon, such as “forever young”. As women, we carry all those elements within us, so these are smaller versions of me that I can explore for roles.
I admire great actresses like Jenna Rowlands, whose body speaks with her every movement, and Marion Cotillard, who takes a very physical approach. I think it’s important in cinema, because that’s where the work is most exciting: you have this text, this world and this body that you can use to bring your character to life.
You mentioned “La Rosalie,” which is now your second film with director Stephanie Di Giusto. How did that come about?
When I shot with Stephanie in 2015, I was still studying literature. I had just arrived in Paris and knew nothing about film. I passed some auditions, and shot for a few days as a background dancer. I never heard from him again after that. And then, two years ago, I was walking down the street, wearing a mask during Covid, and she recognized me! He saw that I had changed, and asked if we should do some tests for his new film. It was so impossible! It felt like a sign, like destiny.
What can you share about the project?
This is probably my most physical role so far! The image is inspired by Clementine Delight, the first bearded woman. Only very loosely inspired, because it’s not a biopic. My character runs a bar with her husband, played by Benoit Magimel, and the film is a love story. It questions desire and acceptance, it considers women’s place in society and asks what defines us as women. It is a film with a difference, and the screenplay impressed me.
You are also starring in Robin Campillo’s “Vajaha, The Strangers.” What can you tell us about one of the most anticipated French films of the year?
It takes place at a French airbase in Madagascar in the late 60s. “Vajaha” means “white” and the film is about the end of an era, the last years of this period of carefree colonialism. And as a result, soldiers’ lives are coming to an end in this colonial world. It’s a moment Robin himself lived through — even if the film isn’t pure autobiography. The film is a truly emotional experience, as Robin works to reimagine this period through the eyes of a child, exploring its impressions and sensations. How does a boy perceive his childhood in this situation? How does he see his mother?
And you play mother?
Yes. Her name was Colette, and she had three children at a young age. She’s a housewife, always a bit down, or at least quiet and reserved. Spanish star Quim Gutierrez as the father. I haven’t seen the film yet, so I can only go by my feelings from the shoot. Robin’s direction was so sensitive and creative; It was truly an artistic experience.
And after all that, what comes?
I have a few projects lined up, but I’m working so hard that I need to take some time to experience something on my own. You can’t just shoot and shoot and experience your personal life. As a result, I don’t throw myself into projects. I need to fall in love with them. I’m going to be shooting a project in Chile this summer, and I’m definitely in love with that one. For now, I’m reading a lot, waiting, promoting “The Crime is Mine,” traveling, meeting other filmmakers. I’m glad I have time to be curious.
After Canada and now Chile, are you looking at other international collaborations?
Shooting a film abroad means seeing the world differently, so of course, I would love to do it if the project makes sense. I speak English as well as Finnish and Italian, so I would love to work with Juho Kuosmanen who created “Compartment Number 6” or with Alice Rohrwacher, who I think is a genius. And obviously, I would love to work with Greta Gerwig in the US…