There is an interview with Angelina at the DGA website where she talks about By the Sea: “For her latest movie, By the Sea, which she also wrote, Jolie Pitt could skip the meet-and-greets with at least two of her actors. She stars in the film with (Brad) Pitt. It’s about a deeply unhappy couple on vacation in France who becomes involved with a pair of newlyweds staying at their seaside inn. “I’d be directing myself and him in a scene where we’re having a fight, and I’d be pulling out the parts [of him] that have an aggression toward me or when you’re frustrated with each other—it was very heavy,” says Jolie Pitt. “We kept joking that all of the crew felt like they were living in a house where the parents were fighting and you don’t know where to stand or where to look.”
Filmed in Malta with a primarily European crew and cast, By the Sea was shot by Austrian cinematographer Christian Berger (The White Ribbon) who brought his Cine Reflect Lighting System to the mix. “There’s actually very little technical light in the room,” says Jolie Pitt of a system that involves using “paniflectors” to illuminate the actors. “It’s all based on using an outside source of light and using reflectors, a white plate, in front of the actors. And it felt like doing a play. You’re not conscious of the light and so you’re also not conscious of staying in the light or how you look. It made me act differently and made me direct differently too.
Described by Jolie Pitt as “an art film, the kind of movie that I like to see but not something I’m usually cast in,” she isn’t eager to direct a movie like By the Sea again soon. “We’re proud of ourselves for being brave enough to try it,” she says, adding that she and Pitt made it on their honeymoon. “I think By the Sea was the hardest film for me because it wasn’t [issue-driven]. It’s something I probably won’t do very much of.””