Tecmerin. Journal of Audiovisual Essays

Issue 7 – 2021 (1)

Marion Cotillard Doesn’t Exist (And This is The Proof)

Elena G. Vilela  (Video Essayist)

How to cite this article: G. Vilela, E. (2021) Marion Cotillard Doesn’t Exist (And This is The Proof). Tecmerin. Journal of Audiovisual Essays, 7(1). ISSN: 2659-4269

What would happen if you found out that your life is a lie, and that you don’t exist? That the world that surrounds you is fictional? That you don’t have control over your life? That you are just a fictional character? This is what happened to Marion Cotillard, a renowned actress. Marion has devoted herself to cinema, has travelled the world, has gotten to know different cultures, has portrayed many roles and has obtained recognition.

Nevertheless, one day her world starts to collapse, and she realizes she has been fooled. She begins to question the space that surrounds her and the time that sets her life rhythm. The narrator of the story tries to reach her in order to warn her, since he can’t stand the lie she is living through. “Calm down Marion! I’m the narrator! I want to help you!”, screams in a hopeful way. But finding the truth may be a shock and not everybody is ready to accept it. The question is: Is Marion ready?

Marion Cotillard doesn’t exist (and this is the proof) is an audiovisual essay, a found footage short film that explores metacinema throughout 27 films from Marion Cotillard’s filmography. As Herrero points out (2017), metacinema is an interesting subgenre, whose films challenge fiction and innovate with cinematic language. This project’s goal is to question the limits between reality and fiction, invite the spectator to reflect and, as Marimón states (2014), find other ways of expression that move away from dominant cinema.

Today, we live in a hyperconnected world. As Burque points out (2018), thanks to the Internet we have access to many audiovisual resources, quickly and easily. We live surrounded by information. Images that can be reused with different purposes, stories that can be rebuilt to deal with other issues. As with everything in life, this has a positive and a negative side. And what happens to cinema? Can it also change in such a way? Why not?

Films are greatly created by editing, a powerful tool. As Murch remarks (2003), film editing is structure, color, movement and time manipulation. It is not based on dismissing “the bad parts” of a work, but on looking for the right pieces of the puzzle and putting them together to achieve a specific meaning. The pieces that compose Marion Cotillard doesn’t exist (and this is the proof) were hiding among 2,000 shots from the actress’ filmography. Putting them together has rendered a completely new story. 

Maybe Marion Cotillard, as a real person, has never questioned if she lives in a real world or not. The Marion Cotillard from this short film has; in fact, she resembles Truman Burbank, the main character in The Truman Show (Peter Weir, 1998). Both have lived in an oppressive world for years, lacking free will. But, after discovering this lie, they have tried to run away from the prison where they lived. Will Marion reach freedom?


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  • Marimón, J. (2014) El Montaje Cinematográfico. Del Guion a la Pantalla. Barcelona: Universidad de Barcelona, 393-411.
  • Murch, W. (2003) En el momento del parpadeo. Un punto de vista sobre el montaje cinematográfico. Madrid: Ocho y Medio, Libros de Cine, 23-27.


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Other videoessays in this issue

Tecmerin. Journal of Audiovisual Essays
ISSN: 2659-4269
© Tecmerin Research Group
Universidad Carlos III de Madrid