Where are the women of the 7th art?

Les Effrontées: feminine cinema

Tuesday, October 25 at 9:10 p.m., on France 4

It begins with a slap in the face, the one inflicted by Simone Signoret on Serge Reggiani, in golden helmet. The scene, which is intended to be vengeful, is not like this ambitious documentary on the place of women in cinema. Already broadcast in the wake of the last Cannes Film Festival on France 2, but in the second part of the evening, this collection of four films is broadcast on France 4 at prime time.

In the first episode, we listen to invisible directors of French cinema. And in particular, three little-known figures who had their hour of glory before being erased from the annals of the 7e art.

The documentary thus rehabilitates Alice Guy, secretary of Louis Gaumont, presented as the inventor of fiction cinema at the end of the 19th century.e century – even if it meant forgetting Méliès? But it also shines the spotlight on pioneers like Germaine Dulac, in the surrealist vein during the 1920s, and Jacqueline Audry, in the more commercial style of adapting novels to female characters in search of emancipation. (The Misfortunes of Sophie, Gigi) under the IVe Republic. Without forgetting Agnès Varda, who directed in 1954, five years before The four hundred Blows and Breathless, The Short Tipmanifesto film of the New Wave… « A woman’s gaze is not the same », affirmed the director who died in 2019. The question of representation is at the heart of the excellent second part, evoking the Smurfette syndrome, the only female presence in a male community… Enamelled with very interesting insights from Brigitte Rollet, historian of the cinema, this series shows that women still do not occupy the most popular positions on the sets, such as production and direction. As points out Coline Serreau, director of Three men and a bassinet (1985), “equality is when women will make as many turnips as men”.


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