“s en France” on France 2: a wonderful documentary told by Vincent Dedienne

Their names are Sylvain, Arwen, Gabriel, Gérard, Angèle, Lou, Bernard, Léo, Mfaomé, Jean-Baptiste. They are 20, 30 or 70 years old, are commercial, singer, retired, journalist, footballer, student, ambador, or high school student. Anonymous or famous. Never mind. All have in common to be and for having agreed to confide in front of the camera.

He is a humorist and comedian as talented as he is known who has never hidden his ity. His name is Vincent Dedienne, he is 36 years old, and, this Tuesday evening, he tells us about their life course in a moving documentary broadcast on France 2 (at 9:10 p.m.). A wonderful film that he co-wrote with Aurélia Perreau and from which we do not come out unscathed.

“I am and, in France, there are quite a few words to say so… starts the artist all smiles as he rides his bike. There is queerof course, but also tarlouze, , tafiole – which I like, me, but it’s been a while since I’ve heard. And then, of course, there is pedal… This anthology of little treats to remind us with humour, and this is a great strength of the documentary, that in 2023 being gay or lesbian in France is far from easy. And what if marriage for all ten years ago is an undeniable step forward, the debate that brought ity into all French homes was of a rare violence, breaking all the locks…

These life paths are all marked by “how we discover it, how we hide it, how we accept it and how it makes us happy”, comments Vincent Dedienne. “ orientation is something that we feel growing in us since childhood, but the awareness is progressive,” confirms one of the protagonists. They all talk about their suffering, their loneliness, the view of society but also the beauty of their lives.

The heavy legacy of popular culture

This very strong film shakes us up and even makes us go from laughter to tears for the most emotional, so rich are the testimonies. That of Bernard, 70, on the relentlessness of doctors to make him “normal” when he was a child, is of rare intensity. Very complete, the survey reminds us that in 1973 ity was still a disease, and a psychiatric pathology until 1992.

Vincent Dedienne returns to the heavy heritage of popular culture which has long conveyed phobia. In 1977, the presenter of a program asked if it was contagious and the public was hilarious… It was also difficult not to be embarred when seeing the puppet ofAmelie Mauresmo in “Les Guignols” on Canal +. There is also this crazy page where we learn that the “I’m gay” (“I am gay”) pronounced by a hero of the American series “Dynasty” has been translated into French as “I am sick”. It is hard to believe.

And then there is the AIDS years, the “gay cancer”, proof that ity is a disease, inflamed phobes. We shed a tear again when the brilliant actress Clémentine Célarié kisses on the mouth a man with AIDS in front of the cameras of the whole of France. And we laugh when the singer Catherine Lara realizes her television coming out by saying that what she prefers in a man “is his wife”.

For its tone and its humor on such a sensitive subject, for these wonderful testimonies or the distilled information, and because phobia has no place in our societies, you have to see this documentary. With family, with young people, with friends, watch it. Thank you Vincent Dedienne and Aurélia Perreau.

Editor’s note:

Gays in France », French documentary written and directed by Aurélia Perreau (2023), narrated by Vincent Dedienne.

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