After “Thank you Boss!” and “J’veux du soleil”, François Ruffin directs “Debout les femmes”, a “parliamentary road-movie” setting out to meet the women who take care of our children, our patients and our elderly. 5 things to know about the film!
Who are the women at the heart of the film?
Debout les femmes, a new documentary co-directed by François Ruffin and Gilles Perret, highlights what is grouped together under the broad name “link trades“.
These professions are occupied more than 90% by women, often precarious. These jobs are often part-time and wages are often lower than the minimum wage despite long hours.
Among these link professions, we find maintenance agents, the home help sector or even AESH (accompanying persons with disabilities).
Little by little, the film gives an increasingly important place to the words of these women. “A movement of the film is their access to the word. At the beginning, François carries it for them in the hemicycle, without being seen, without being heard. During our first meeting, some even hide their faces, but over the course of the sequences, they impose themselves in the foreground, until their words, their anger, their hopes resonate in the Assembly “, indicates Gilles Perret.
How did the context of the pandemic come about in the production of the film?
François Ruffin and Gilles Perret’s documentary project saw its production turned upside down by the containment and the outbreak of the Covid. Filming first had to be stopped, before being relaunched with even more burning news.
François Ruffin received calls from social workers, who alerted him: “We have to work, but we have no mask, no gel, no blouse… “And there, with Gilles Perret, the director said to himself:” If they continue, so do we. ! “
As the documentary recalls, Emmanuel Macron had mentioned all these professions, including those of “link“unable to stop despite the confinements and having to adapt to the unprecedented situation that France was going through in particular.
“It should be remembered that our country today is entirely dependent on these women and men that our economies recognize and pay so poorly.“, said the President of the Republic during one of his speeches at the start of the pandemic.
“Our film continues this battle, indicates the filmmakers. By showing them, listening to them, hopefully with screenings-debates all over France, we ask this question: why are these essential professions without status, without income? Why, for these women, the wages of poverty and the lives of galley? Frankly, who thinks for a moment that they are less useful than traders and advertisers?“Standing women thus found a renewed urgency.
A committed tandem
Behind Debout les femmes, we find two tandems: the one we see on the screen, composed of two men who are politically opposed, in this case François Ruffin (deputy in the first constituency of the Somme, under the rebellious banner “Picardy standing”) and Bruno Bonnell (deputy En Marche).
There is another tandem behind the film, made up of Ruffin and Gilles Perret. Both meet again after J’veux du soleil (2019). About the starting point of this new project, both explain: “For three years, I’ve been wondering how to film the Assembly, Gilles wanted to film me as a deputy already before J’veux du soleil! but I was reluctant. On the one hand, it is a fascinating setting, with its gilding, its protocol, its republican guards, etc. But basically, nothing happens there, nothing behind the decorum. It is not a place of power, just an illusion of power. So, as a subject for a film, showing emptiness, emptiness, it’s hardly exciting …“
“When I tore off this parliamentary mission on the “link professions”, I said to myself: now is the time, continues François Ruffin. Because, this mission, I did not see it as a static thing, locked in an office, but moving, in the open air, to meet people, women… This would be the first “parliamentary road-movie”! Above all, their jobs, for these women, affect the bodies, which they care for, wash and wear. And they put their hearts into the work. In short, the aesthetic of the institution, frozen, with its hollow, agreed language, was going to be counterbalanced by this flesh, by these emotions.. “
Our meeting with François Ruffin and Gilles Perret for the release of J’veux du soleil in 2019