The Heroine’s Journey of Crystel Amsalem

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

The best thing that I love about my work is how, while using my own imagination, it can bring me to a place I would never expect to be able to go through if I didn’t get the chance to discover my genuine passion for writing, directing and acting. When I’m in a creative process, even if I get stuck sometimes, I always can find a way to explore, discover and feel alive. I become another person.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

I would say when I am in perfect agreement between what I think, what I do, surrounded by people I feel truly connected to. When you feel immortal, you know what I mean? Like when you’re making love or shooting a movie! But to tell you the truth, I don’t really believe in « perfection ». I think that happiness can come through imperfection too. Life is a gift and it doesn’t mean you have to be happy every day. As an artist, I think that sadness is a vital source of creative energy as well.

What is my greatest fear?

I don’t want to get in touch with fear because I don’t think that fear will give you the good energy to succeed in what you’re doing. Doesn’t mean I never doubt myself but I prefer to work on a daring version of myself. I escaped death twice in my life and I’m still alive… so I prefer to follow my instinct, not my fears.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

That I can be so slow sometimes to figure out who’s using me for their own interest. In other words, I have a tendency to be too kind and too understanding with malicious persons. But I’m getting better at identifying them!

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

There are so many! But to name a few living filmmakers that inspire a lot: Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Jim Jarmush, Jacques Audiard, Paul Thomas Anderson, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, David Fincher, Almodovar, Spike Lee, James Gray, Jean Marc Vallee. And for the living actors : Robert de Niro, Dustin Hofmann, Jack Nicholson, Jake Gyllenhaal, Gena Rowlands, Cate Blanchett, Julianne Moore… The list is too long.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Maybe to be able to change my mind a hundred of time before doing crazy things, like unconventional things. But I love so much acting « outside of the box ». It reminds me that I’m alive.

On what occasion would I lie?

Me lying? Never! And by the way « I always tell the truth, even when I lie », that’s my favorite line from « Scarface ». More seriously, I can lie if it’s a question of life or death, but usually, even if I try, I’m not very good at it!

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

Having to convince, convince and always convince people like decision makers or money people when they don’t know enough about creative people (not all of them, hopefully) It looks like we’re not talking the same language.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

Definitely when I was doing my first feature film « Quand les anges s’en mêlent… (When angels interfere… ». I love each stage of my work : research, writing, prep, casting, shooting, editing, but shooting is still the most beautiful rewards. And the feedbacks of the public is the cherry on top.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

Nothing, because I’m just perfect (Ah! Ah! Just joking, of course). More seriously, since I don’t believe in perfection, I wouldn’t change anything about myself. I’m just trying every day to improve myself. In « Night on earth », a Jim Jarmush’s movie I love, Winona Rider tells Gena Rowlands: « Like papa says: I am what I am! »

What is my greatest achievement in work?

My first feature film as a screenwriter and director, so far.

Where would I most like to live?

I love my city (Paris), but I’d love to live in New York because of the energy that this city brings me each time I spend time there.

What is my most treasured possession?

My family.

What is my most marked characteristic?

Let’s say I’m open minded and always curious to discover new things, new places on earth, new people. That’s where I can find inspiration as an artist. But maybe my most marked characteristic: a combination of sensitive, tough and wild.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

The waterfront in Paris around l’ïle de la Cité and l’ïle Saint Louis. Water is a source of inspiration to me.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

There are many. But I would say Miss Ko in Paris, (https://www.miss-ko.com/) a restaurant designed by Philippe Starck. Because it combines food, art and curiosity and because the sushis are just amazing and so delicious.

What books influenced my life and how?

There are many books that influenced my way of thinking and my way of seeing life but again, to name a few, I would say : « The Catcher in the Rye » by J. D. Salinger because I’m fascinated how Salinger makes us get inside the head of this strange, rebellious protagonist. All the novels by Raymond Carver because of his talents of observation and his capacity to transcribe ordinary people’s lives with tremendous sensibility. « The stranger » by Camus because I’ve discovered something important about my father who was born in Oran, Algeria.

Who are my favorite writers?

To name a few : Albert Camus, Françoise Sagan, Albert Cohen, J. D. Salinger, Gustave Flaubert, Francis Scott Fitzgerald, William Shakespeare, Philip Roth, Raymond Carver, Bret Easton Ellis, Joyce Carol Oates

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

« Nothing Can Come Between Us » by Sade because it’s about faith, it’s about trust, and because I believe in true love, when nothing can pull two people apart. And also because Sade’s voice is so soft, warm and unique.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Catwoman. I always loved her because she’s feline, mysterious, sexy and tough in the same time. I feel related to her as an antiheroine, often doing the wrong things for the right reasons. And, by the way, she’s Batman’s most enduring love interest. Who wouldn’t like to have a relationship with him?

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

My parents. First, because if they didn’t meet and loved each other I wouldn’t be here today to tell you about me! Also, because they always have been an inspiration to me. They gave me this unconditional love that gave me all the strength to become what I am right now. For all these reasons, they are my heroes.

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Difficult for me to say because there are more than one, but, actually there are two movies : « The purple rose of Cairo » by Woody Allen because it combines all what I love in movies: fantasy, poetry but also ironies, deepness and intelligence.

And « Barry Lyndon » by Stanley Kubrick for the stunningly perfect aesthetic in each shot (all the movie has been lit only by candels) and the way we follow the greatness and the fall of Barry Lyndon. This man makes the mistake of his life by giving his second chance to a rival. A perfect tragedy.

What role plays art in my life and work?

A world without art? It’s just something that I can’t imagine. Art from any kind always fascinated me since I’m very young. And it soon became clear to me that it would take a hudge place in my life. Art is a way for me to be creative and express myself. To communicate with others, to get to know myself better, to feel free and to get more thoughtful. Art is one of the entire reasons I get out of bed in the morning.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

Patrick Levy ; writer, director, producer http://zakfish.wixsite.com/patrick-levy. He’s my partner in crime and my husband. We’ve started together in the movie business. He’s my greatest fan and I’m he’s! We love each other and sometimes we hate each other (laugh). We are perfectly compatible like the yin and the yang and, at the end of the day, we always learn from each other.

Whom would I like to work with in 2019?

With all the creative and inspiring people with whom I could share something strong and that could understand me and my creative world.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2019?

I don’t want to make plans. I’ll see what’s going to happen and I’m just trusting my instincts here.

What project, in 2019, am I looking forward to work on?

First, on my feature film project « Art, Love & Money » which is ready to go, by the way. I’m just waiting for the greenlit from investors. And there are two other projects I’m developping: a musical and a series. I’m always in a creative process.

Where can you see me or my work?

You can find my first feature film « Quand les anges s’en mêlent » (When angels interfere) on the net and you can check my showreels as an actress and as a film director on my personal website : https://crysams.wixsite.com/crys – Or on IMDB: imdb.me/crystelamsalem

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

It means that when you’re really passionate about your work, it becomes more than a passion, it’s a way of life, it’s something you NEED to do to keep breathing. It’s something you’ll definitely do until your last breath.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

Any women from any background, any culture, any color and any age who are authentic, passionate and involved in what they’re doing.

How can you contact me?

On my personal website : https://crysams.wixsite.com/crys

Or you can also find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/crysamsfilmdirector/

Or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/crystel.amsalem



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