Is there such a thing as strictly feminine cinema? Is it more difficult for a woman than for a man to direct a film? Is gender parity necessary in the industry? Actress and producer Julie Gayet and actor and director Mathieu Busson ask these questions to twenty French woman filmmakers, who face a camera together for the first time.
After over an hour of lively, informal, spontaneous and funny interviews, it becomes obvious that these issues are still problematic and definitely worthy of a documentary. As Mia Hansen-Løve remarks, “In the eyes of the people, a woman’s film is always a woman’s film, while a man’s movie is simply… a movie”.
The Cultural Service
of the French Embassy:
for Documentary Screenings
Directors: Mathieu Busson, Julie Gayet
Producer: Christie Molia
Producer: Ciné +, Tournez S’il Vous Plait
Mona Achache • Josiane Balasko
Valeria Bruni-Tedeschi • Valérie Donzelli
Nicole Garcia • Yolande Moreau
Géraldine Nakache • Agnès Varda
Schedule & Presentation
Presentation by and discussion with director Mathieu Busson and producer Christie Molia
Choose a picture to see the filmography (source : IMDB)
We have to confess, at the beginning of this adventure, we were not really too convinced about the importance of making a film on this question: is cinema gendered?
Twenty-five percent of French filmmakers are women. It may seem little, but compared with the rest of the world, it is a lot: an incredibly isolated case. Acknowledging that cinema is not an exception when one considers the difficulties encountered by women to access certain professions, we decided to launch an informal and naive investigation among French female filmmakers. And, certainly because we are not journalists, about twenty filmmakers -from the pioneer Agnès Varda to the recent generation of daring young directors such as Céline Sciamma, Rebecca Zlotowski or Valérie Donzelli- accepted for the first time to take part in our documentary.
During the shooting, a surprising shift occurred: while most of the filmmakers started their interview by assuring that the question was not relevant at all, while in front of our camera, they finally drew a subtle, sincere and personal portrait of what it is to be a female director in France. Their difficulties, their questions, their angers. Most of them even confessed not knowing that the very first person who directed a feature film was… a woman: Alice Guy-Blaché.
With humor and simplicity, these artists, workers and mothers, reflecting on their paths and approaching the question with their own personal sensibility, took part in an open-minded conversation on a delicate issue often restrained by politically correct discourses and, it has to be said, a certain amount of misogyny.
We directed that movie as amateurs in the sense of the first meaning of the word, i.e. “the ones who love”. We love cinema, we love these female directors and we love their films. And if the initial question about a gendered cinema is still insolvable, the problem remains: too few women are telling stories using a camera today.