This Friday, France Télévisions is putting Split, Iris Brey’s first series, online. We tell you what we thought of the feminist and queer mini-series from france.tv slash.
What is it about ?
It’s the story of Anna (Alma Jodorowsky), a young 30-year-old stuntwoman, who falls in love at first sight on a film set with Eve (Jehnny Beth), the star of the film in which she is filming and who it doubles. She, who thought she was happy in her relationship with Natan (Ralph Amoussou), and who had even been trying to have a child with him for several years, wonders. Will she have the courage to leave heterosexuality to fully experience this emerging and overwhelming desire for Eve, an open lesbian?
Who is it with?
Split is not carried by one or more faces particularly known to the general public but counts on a cast of actresses and actors who are on the rise or who already have a solid career behind them.
Anna is thus played by Alma Jodorowsky, seen in the series Life Before They (2015-2017) and The Serpent (2021), as well as the film The Life of Adèle (2013).
Better known as a singer and musician, Jehnny Beth, who plays Eve, has already been seen in the films An Impossible Love by Catherine Corsini (2018), Kaamelott: first part (2021), Les olympiades by Jacques Audiard ( 2021), At the same time (2022), or Anatomy of a Fall by Justine Triet (2023).
Among the other main actors, we also find Pauline Chalamet, the famous sister of the French-American actor Timothée Chalamet, who plays Paola, Anna’s best friend, and who previously obtained one of the main roles in the series The sex lives of college girls (since 2021).
Ralph Amoussou has played Georges Diouf since the very first film Les Tuche (2010). The actor has also obtained a supporting role in the series Missions since its season 2. Recently, Ralph Amoussou appeared in the two films The Three Musketeers (2023).
It’s worth checking out ?
“I was lucky because france.tv slash is a kind of laboratory that allows new voices and new themes to emerge. I felt that with them, I could experiment with lots of things”says Iris Brey, the creator of the series, whom we were recently able to interview on the occasion of the online release of Split. It is clear that from the first minutes, we are struck by the richness of the proposition carried by the series, starting with its numerous explicit or hidden references to cinema and feminism, in particular to several works by Colette or Violette Leduc, for only mention them. And how refreshing that is!
Split is more than a simple love story since the series emphasizes that for Anna, leaving a man for a woman will not amount to the same thing as getting back into a relationship with another man to the extent that society will instantly change the view she has on her for a whole set of reasons mentioned briefly and in a rather educational manner at the beginning of the series.
Split is also more than a simple story of deception since the series is not really built around it, any more than on the usual twists and turns of this type of story. Here, no arguments, no rivalry, no misplaced pride. A lot of communication, respect and maturity emerge from the relationships between each character, which all seem healthy.
Split is, finally, more than a simple story of coming out since Anna welcomes her desire for Eve as anyone welcomes any new feeling, that is to say simply with surprise and curiosity. The plot of the series revolves around the budding romance between Anna and Eve and not, as is often the case, around an existential crisis on the part of the person concerned, or the apprehension and violence of a great announcing his sexual orientation to those close to him.
In short, the strength of Split is to never take the easy route and to succeed in taking the audience where they don’t expect it. A real breath of fresh air, both in terms of form, with the care given to the aesthetics of the plans or the recourse imbued with creativity and intelligence to split screen (visual effect which consists of dividing the screen into several parts to simultaneously show several images), that on the bottom, with consent made sexy or representations of women renewed and expanded, whether on the subject of pregnant women or fluids bodily.
For her first production, academic, author and film critic Iris Brey is doing well, with a series rarely seen on French television, both direct and sensitive in terms of representations of female desire and LGBT+ people. We can, therefore, regret that the creator’s ambitions were partly limited, both financially and creatively, by a society and audiovisual players who are still a little cautious on these important subjects.
“The people who make decisions and donate money are rarely our age or younger than us. It takes a lot of justification to make them understand that our stories are importantexplained Iris Brey to us. It was important to me that this series be visible outside of night hours, otherwise it would, once again, put us in a closet. I therefore shortened the duration of the sex scenes, and in particular the orgasms, so that the series could be categorized as ‘forbidden for under 12s’ and not for under 16s.”clarified the director.
Let us salute, among other things, the remarkable performance of the two main actresses Alma Jodorowsky and Jehnny Beth, who manage to make us feel all the sexual tension, the tenderness and the mystery which plays out between the two heroines. Let us also salute the performance of Pauline Chalamet, who stands out with her interpretation of the bubbly good friend whose role is not limited to being a confidante or support for Anna.
In another register, let’s, finally, think about the remarkable work of Maud Geffray and Rebeka Warrior on the music (the original soundtrack was, moreover, rewarded at the Séries Mania festival this year), which corresponds very well to the atmosphere of the series and remains a little in our heads.
Split by Iris Brey is a mini-series to discover from this Friday, November 24 on france.tv slash, the France Télévisions online platform.