Natalie Portman is back with a film in a new chilling and evocative drama called “Planetarium,” which is in French and English. The Oscar-winner stars in the film alongside Lily-Rose Depp and Emmanuel Salinger — the film is also being released on DVD today.
Written and directed by Rebecca Zlotowski, “Planetarium” is set in Paris in the late 1930’s. It tells the story of two sisters, Laura Barlow (Natalie Portman) and Kate Barlow (Lily-Rose Depp), who are believed to possess the supernatural ability to connect with ghosts. The film explores anti-Semitism and the rise of fascism, and hidden agendas as the sisters become more and more visible in the public eye.
So, does Portman believe in what we consider the supernatural? She previously said she doesn’t “really believe in this kind of stuff, even though I think it’s possible.”
She went on to say, however, that psychic abilities gave women during that time credibility:
Men didn’t want women to speak, but they believed that women, like children, could commune with ghosts because they were simpler. Women pretended that ghosts were speaking through them and would have séances where they’d tell the men how to spend money or to give women the right to vote.
It gave women credibility. These otherworldly voices gave women a voice that society couldn’t censor.
I think the film made me think about the connection between a desire to speak with ghosts and movie-making. It’s interesting, when you make a film you can communicate with people forever. You can still experience people who are long dead. Even people who died this year, we can watch their movies.
In terms of the historical context of the film, Portman added that it showcases what France was like during World War II:
It’s really devastating. The reality of France isn’t talked about as much. France was really, really complicit — the government at the time — in sending away a huge percentage of its Jewish population.
I think that there’s a line in the film where she says, ‘You never know when you’re right before a war.’ You don’t know it’s pre-war Paris. It’s always when you’re on the brink of something dangerous.
Watch the trailer below: