WRITTEN, directed and produced by Oscar-winning actress Angelina Jolie-Pitt, “By the Sea” follows American writer named Roland (Brad Pitt) and his wife Vanessa (Jolie-Pitt) as they arrive in a tranquil and picturesque seaside resort in 1970s France, with their marriage apparently on the rocks.
As they spend time with fellow traveler—young newlyweds Lea (Melanie Laurent) and François (Melvil Poupa ud), and village locals Michel (Niels Arestrup) and Patrice (Richard Bohringer)—the couple begins to come to terms with unresolved issues in their own lives.
“By The Sea” is Jolie-Pitt’s directorial follow-up to Universal Pictures’ epic “Unbroken.”
In its style, and its treatment of themes of the human experience, the film is inspired by European cinema and theater of the ’60s and ’70s.
Grief and love
Prior to her feature-length directorial debut, “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” and well before the beginning of photography on Universal’s World War II epic, “Unbroken,” Jolie-Pitt wrote the screenplay for “By the Sea” as an exploration of grief and love.
“I wrote ‘By the Sea’ thinking that I wanted to explore grief whether it was how some people haven’t been exposed to it, some have let it settle in, and others have found ways to overcome it,” Jolie-Pitt said. “Everybody in this film represents a different way of addressing that subject.”
Jolie-Pitt admits that she is fascinated by the fluidity of human existence, which informed her script.
“There is never just the tragedy or the humor of life or the pure joy of it,” she said. “It has extremes. Relationships also have those extremes. What’s relatable to people is that you can be absolutely, madly in love with the same person that you sometimes feel like killing. You can be giddy and silly, and also depressed and miserable with them. It’s the waves of a relationship. Things don’t perfectly make sense and wrap up, and that forces a freedom as a writer.”
Brad Pitt admitted that his role in the film was one of the most challenging things he has taken on.
“Our job as actors is to make it more personal,” Pitt said. “Suddenly, to make it that personal, it becomes blurred. We have such history and mutual respect… as well as expectations of each other and our family. It was one of the most challenging things I’ve taken on. But at the same time, there’s been a great freedom in that, because we can experiment and play.”
“By The Sea” opens exclusively at Ayala Malls Cinemas nationwide on Nov. 18.