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Marrakech Film Festival: Tilda Swinton on Her Passion for Experimentation


Marrakech Film Festival Tilda Swinton

It comes as no surprise that Tilda Swinton has established a space in the cinema world that she shares with no other personality. The Scottish actress is a shape-shifter, seamlessly embodying characters with an intensity and authenticity that leaves an indelible mark on the audience. 

She stands as an icon of unparalleled artistry and versatility. To this day, the Oscar-winner considers herself an outsider in Hollywood and believes that commercial success is part of her overall experimentation.

Tell us about your relationship with the Marrakesh Film Festival…
I am very fond of this festival; I've had the great honor to serve on the jury a couple of years ago and the films were a revelation. There's something about the range of films that Marrakech manages to catch in a way that other film festivals can't. And so being in Africa, and feeling that scope, is really inspiring. And as I've said before, the audience is really passionate about cinema, very educated, and very much looking for new cinema. You come, you see other people's films, and then you move on with new ideas of your own.

You talked earlier in your masterclass about the power of cinema to reinvent itself. How do you think this can happen in this day and age?
I think it's up to the programmers, I think it's their moment. We need to really support them, encourage them, bully them into being more and more bold in their programming. One way for them to really strengthen their programming is to show the last over 100 years of cinema and build up this knowledge and hunger in younger audiences and show it alongside modern cinema. That's what I would do.

You lately said that you want to stop acting…
Honestly, I've always been wanting to stop, I never really intended to start. It's not new that I want to stop. But I have an I have other creative avenues that really nourish me. I produce work, and I write and I work in other ways. But it's true that during the pandemic, I said that I was seriously thinking of retraining and training to work in palliative care. I'm very invested in really good end of life care.

Hollywood actors above a certain age have lower job opportunities, have you experienced that?
You know I am not in Hollywood. So, I don't know about Hollywood, I'm on another planet. I'm always working with filmmakers developing work. So no, if anything, my work is becoming more and more enriching for me. My children are now 26, so, I have less school organization to do and I have more time. In fact, in recent years, I've been able to be more involved in projects that take up longer time.

How do you come to a decision with say Chanel or Haider Ackermann and choose what to wear?
I'm actually a very shy person. When I go out in public, I need my friends with me. And to wear clothes that are made by my friends is a way of being with them. I do love it. It's like setting up a little safe environment for myself, and I'm fortunate enough to have these close relationships with people who I feel represent me well. Haider Ackermann, in particular, is someone who I'm very close to, and we work things out together in a very conceptual way. You know the choice of color, shape, or whatever, is incredibly important for the occasion. I couldn't necessarily wear any of the looks that I wear anywhere else. They are for this moment, that place, this particular film, this particular festival. It’s a piece of work. And I really enjoy being engaged in that today.

And how much has this muse status contributed to your career?
I mean, I'm a dinosaur. I don't do any social media and I never had. I don't know the impact. I really don't do it for impact. I do it for how it makes me feel.

What about your work with Chanel?

My work with Chanel has a very particular part in my life because I also have the honor to be their ambassador for arts and culture. Chanel's commitment to arts and culture, and especially in the last few years, is off all the scales. They're investing in young artists, there's two prizes that I'm fortunate enough to have been part in launching in the last year. There's the BFI award for filmmakers, not just for one film, but for their creative audacity. And then there's the extraordinary The Next Prize, which is for 10 artists of all disciplines from around the world. I'm fortunate enough to be on the jury, and they each get 100,000 euros as a genius grant. So that's a million euros that Chanel is giving every year to that price. They're so serious about it. And I'm so impressed by that. So that's much more than wearing a dress and I love that relationship.