“The Emperor”: “the construction” of an aggressor before the #MeToo movement
It is particularly disturbing to witness the « construction » of an attacker in the series The emperor, which will be presented on Noovo from January.
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This new production will certainly be talked about, as Pet did it on the same antenna this fall.
Christian Savard, played by Jean-Philippe Perras, had it all when we discovered him in 2005. He had just joined the advertising agency Primal as a creative. Ambitious, charismatic and confident, Christian even engages in a friendly cockfight with his boss Antoine (David Boutin). His girlfriend Olivia (Geneviève Boivin-Roussy) and he love each other, which does not prevent him from jumping the fence one evening of a drunken (and powdery) office party, while sleeping with his colleague Manuela (Noé Lira).
This is the first incident – of a long list – that we witness in this series written by Michelle Allen and directed by Adam Kosh. Little by little, we discover what really happened in the apartment of the young woman, who did not want to have sex with Christian. But the latter is not even aware of Manuela’s non-consent.
In the first three episodes – out of a total of nine – watched on Tuesday, Manuela is still at Christian’s side, 10 years later, when the latter has more power than ever as a business leader. He is also involved in a foundation, thus maintaining his image of a perfect handsome guy and an impeccable family man. The two eras are alternated continuously, which shows that mores have changed a lot, with women no longer accepting toxic or abusive behavior from men in 2015. The previous year, the Fédération des femmes du Québec had also launched the hashtag #AggressionNonDenounced to allow women to break the silence.
When waitress Marilou Côté (Charlotte Aubin) is attacked in a hotel in 2015, Christian is not the first suspected by Manuela or by her sister Audrey (Madeleine Péloquin). It is rather a politician, Marcel Pelletier (Luc Boucher) who is believed to be guilty because he had drunk too much that evening. But was it Christian who raped Marilou?
In The emperor, we are before the #MeToo movement, a choice assumed by the author, who wanted to show the world in which women evolved before the denunciations of Weinstein and Rozon. « What interested me was how, before this movement authorized or freed speech, we managed with things that existed, that we integrated, that we hid, that we put under the carpet », said Michelle Allen in the round table.
The character played by Macha Grenon, Edith, the deputy CEO of Primal, is interesting insofar as this woman, more mature than Manuela, has « learned to navigate » in a world where some men thought they were allowed anything. Edith is also the one who wins us a smile or a laugh, here and there, by her replies and her well-felt intonations.
Power and control
In Christian’s case, and surely in many narcissistic perverts and manipulators, the abuse is not limited to sex. Power and control are much bigger drivers. This is without taking into account Christian’s visceral need to be loved and his thirst for recognition. But there comes a time when you have to answer for your actions. His victims will take their courage in both hands and try to bring him down.
Produced by Sophie Deschênes, of Sovimage, the series The emperor will be broadcast from Wednesday, January 11, at 8 p.m., on Noovo.