Available on Netflix, this documentary film – directed by Mona Achache and Patricia Tourancheau – looks back on the hunt for Guy Georges. We tell you why it’s worth a look.
What is it about ?
In the 90s in Paris, a police commissioner and the mother of the murder victim track down a serial killer to stand trial.
Women and the Assassin, a film by Mona Achache and Patricia Tourancheau with Anne Gautier, Martine Monteil, Solange Doumic, Frédérique Pons and Patricia Tourancheau.
A history of women
It starts off very strongly with the testimony of a mother who lost her daughter. Anne Gautier is the mother of Hélène Frinking, murdered in July 1995 on her return from a party. The investigation stalled and Anne Gautier decided to investigate on her side. No offense to Martine Monteil, the first woman at the head of the criminal brigade, which is on the file.
Other women died in similar circumstances in the following weeks. The investigation is still not moving forward. Martine Monteil is enraged. And the case is starting to get talked about in the media. France is afraid: a killer attacks young women in the east of Paris.
This killer is Guy Georges but The Women and the Assassin is not a film which aims to draw its portrait of a serial killer and to mark any form of morbid fascination for the “killer of eastern Paris. “. It is a film of women. Directed by Mona Achache and Patricia Tourancheau. Produced by Angélique Sansonnetti and Elodie Polo Ackermann. With testimonies from women.
He is not the hero. It is women who are the heroines of this documentary.
“The angle, that of giving the point of view of women, is a collective discovery. It’s thanks to Mona Achache, the two producers and me. To revisit this affair with the eyes of the four women – I was not expected at the start – is to give another point of view. Men are not excluded, however!“explains Patricia Tourancheau, co-director of the film and one of its protagonists.
“But it’s a women’s affair. It was only young women who were killed. Beating, full of life, full of energy, hyper inserted into society with good jobs, the joy of living, who are not afraid to go home at night. And we decided to tell this story by fighting women, energetic, older but who have a bit of the profile of victims in character.“
It is this mode of narration that gives all its power to the film. “Moreover, Martine Monteil said at one point: “Somewhere, these girls, we wanted to avenge them. We saw it as a fair return of things compared to a guy like Guy Georges.“continues Patricia Tourancheau.
A striking staging
In addition to her co-director’s cap, Patricia Tourancheau – a rare occurrence in a documentary – is also one of the film’s five protagonists. Convinced by her producers, she also testifies. Logical since Patricia Tourancheau followed the case and the trial at the time for Liberation.
The film takes on another dimension – much more disturbing and fascinating – in its second part which focuses more precisely on Solange Doumic, the lawyer of Pascale Escarfail who was the first victim of Guy Georges, Frédérique Pons who defended the accused with Alex Ursulet, and Patricia Tourancheau.
They meet all three in the same courtroom, at the Assises, which saw the trial of Guy Georges take place twenty years earlier. “It came from conversations with Mona Achache where I told her about this hallucinatory moment of Guy Georges’ confession while mimicking the gesture (that moment when he raises his hand as if he was holding a knife, editor’s note). “
But during the trial, it is Solange Doumic who mimics this act and manages to confuse Guy Georges. “We decided it before and Solange played it back to us. It was quite natural for her and Frédérique Pons to do it.“And the scene freezes the blood, just like the one where Frédérique Pons relives her plea.”She is a seasoned lawyer who has pleaded a lot of cases. She replayed her plea and she was on the verge of tears.“
In this scene of reconstruction, the memory of the body almost reappears in spite of the interveners. The past and these emotionally charged moments impose themselves on them in a stunning way. After the trap set by Solange Doumic for Guy Georges by raising his hand as one brandishes a knife, Mona Achache’s camera turns to Frédérique Pons. “There, it is quite naturally that she plays again and turns to Guy Georges while the box is empty!“
It will be understood, Women and the Assassin is not yet another sensationalist documentary on the first French serial killer. “There is a time when you have to leave traces of this kind of business. Our goal was to transmit it through the voices of women, aimed at young people – the Netflix audience – a foreign audience that does not necessarily know this story. It is a French, Parisian affair but which has an international dimension.“