Former lawyer turned comedian, Caroline Vigneaux goes behind the camera with “Flashback”. In her first film, she plays the main role, that of a woman who goes back through the ages to learn a lesson in feminism. Meet.
Traveling in the past and meeting the greatest figures in our history is a fantasy that many have once imagined. Caroline Vigneaux has made a film of it. In Flashback. the comedian tells the story of Charlie, a brilliant lawyer with little concern for women’s rights, who finds herself propelled back in time to cross paths with those who changed everything. Joan of Arc, Marie Curie, Gisèle Halimi, George Sand… All of them are resuscitated during this comedy which honors the importance of their fights.
“Humor is a wonderful vector for conveying things, launches Caroline Vigneaux at AlloCine, time for an interview in the middle of his tour. I wrote this film so that the children could see it, I wanted to make it a family experience.”This former lawyer turned comedian goes behind the camera for the first time. Also a screenwriter and actress, she is inspired by the feminist commitments that nourish her shows to meet this challenge.
Humor and pedagogy
“The idea of Flashback comes from one of my sketches in which I return, for 15 minutes, to the history of women’s rights, she explains. Often, spectators thank me to tell me that they have learned things. I wanted to take a larger and audiovisual dimension to enter homes more easily. ” To justify this journey through time, Caroline Vigneaux relied on a fact that occurred in 2018, in Ireland. In order to defend her client accused of rape, a lawyer brandished the thong of the 17-year-old victim to prove her consent.
Distraught, the director and actress even replayed this scene for the needs of her film. “I like the idea that people believe that it was I who invented the story of the thong, that I went a bit far, when it is only reality, she recalls. We must not forget where we come from to go where we are going. There were real fights, women paid the price. I wanted to pay tribute to them at my level.”
To create the thread of this journey through time, Caroline Vigneaux plunged into a great deal of historical research. During the 17 versions of her screenplay, she also had to deconstruct her own knowledge. When Joan of Arc is presented for the majority as a warlord, Caroline Vigneaux had to reconsider her own education: “I had a Catholic education and I had this image of an innocent woman, a virgin, as if it was very important that she was a virgin.“
We learned a history of France written by men.
Flashback is also for the director the opportunity to bring to light figures often put aside. This is the case with Olympes de Gouges. “She is not one of the historical figures we are studying. We learned a history of France written by men. They give pride of place to men and forget about women. There are a lot of women who have entered into resistance, but only two or three are known.”
A costumed casting
Around her, Caroline Vigneaux invited an electrical distribution: Sophia Aram plays Gisèle Halimi – and rehearses her pleading word for word -; Sylvie Testud is Olympes de Gouges; Lison Daniel plays Joan of Arc; Florent Peyre becomes Napoleon and Gad Elmaleh, him, Robespierre. “Before accepting, he said to me: ‘Will there be a wig? Tights? So I do it! ‘”, She says with an amused air. For George Sand, the director made a dream come true: to play Suzanne Clément. “I had expressed my wish during the production, everyone was laughing and I was told: ‘Also ask Marion Cotillard!’, But we have the same agent, so I dared and she said yes.”
On the set, everyone had a great time. Caroline Vigneaux admits: “Going from the twenty-first century to the fifteenth to go back to the sixties was both marvelous and scary. In the same day, we played two eras!”To create the illusion, the director has surrounded herself with several big names, such as production designer Pierre Quéfféléan, who was awarded the title of Goodbye up there in 2018.
With Flashback, the comedian has discovered a new passion: directing. She dreams that the students see her film to learn while having fun, but especially hopes to direct a second feature film. “As for the concept of Flashback, why not take it up for other countries ?, she suggests. I admit that the history of women in Germany interests me.”
Flashback is available on Amazon Prime Video.
Interview by Thomas Desroches, October 25, 2021.