“I wrote By the Sea because I wanted to explore grief,” Jolie Pitt explains in a behind-the-scenes clip exclusive to PEOPLE and EW.
“Much of the film and my character are very much about my mother and my feelings about my mother,” she adds.
Jolie Pitt’s mother, Marcheline Bertrand, lost her 7 -year battle with ovarian cancer in 2007. In a joint statement, the actress and her brother James Haven told PEOPLE at the time, “There are no words to express what an amazing woman and mother she was. She was our best friend.”
In the film, a barkeep played by Niels Arestrup tells Pitt’s character, “If you really love someone, you want more for them than you want for yourself.” Speaking on the scene, Jolie Pitt says, “When the bartender speaks, and speaks about loss, that’s how I reflect on her.”
According to Jolie, who wrote the script, “Everybody in the film represents a different way of addressing grief. Some have yet to experience it, some are able to come to terms with it and some are overwhelmed by it.”
Arestrup, who’s interviewed in the clip, adds, “It’s very daring on her part to have attempted this more experimental, even more marginal adventure, in which she is undoubtedly saying something which has lingered in her head and lingered in her heart.”
Pitt also commends his wife for writing a non-traditional narrative. “What Angie’s written is a very European film,” he says in the clip. “It’s sparse, very elegant in it’s telling.”
Jolie adds that when working with independent style films, “You can leave things open unanswered because that s life.”