De Plus Belle (Ladies)
Ladies (De Plus Belle), a French movie by Anne-Gaëlle Davalis, presents us with a colourful, romantic and somewhat comic tone, the contemporary theme of the struggle against cancer and the relationship with the body. We meet Lucie as she meets Clovis (Mathieu Kassovitz), a playboy, the sort of Hitch guy that knows how to hit on every woman who crosses his path – besides our protagonist, who at first rejects him. Lucie (stand-up comedian Florence Foresti) who, due to chemotherapy has lost her hair and with it all her sense of self and femininity, wears a wig to hide her battle against breast cancer and in a wig shop meets Dalila, sales assistant and dance teacher. Dalila (Nicole Garcia) helps Lucie rediscover femininity, guiding her through the exploration of the body, movement, dance and…striptease! Her brother (also her doctor), Clovis, and Dalila play fundamental roles in that they help and support Lucie to overcome the last step of her full recovery and finally reunite with her family and allow love back into her life.
The plot-driven movie, is simply shot and characterised by a summery and pastel colour palette. The witty interpretations by Mathieu Kassovitz and Florence Foresti translate director Anne-Gaëlle Davalis’s intention to keep a light tone. The film navigates themes of love, family and relationship to others and to the self in a tender, soft and gentle manner. Foresti’s character represents women who, in their everyday life, face the challenge of sickness and, first of all, of fear, beauty, expectation and prejudice. Lucie’s journey of recovery represents the rediscovery of an empowered, confident, loving self and in this draws attention to powerful and often overlooked themes of ownership and self-respect – necessary ingredients to survive and live a “joyful life”.
“Be soft, be kind, be a woman,” Dalila’s words offer much to reflect upon and this honest, touching and funny film perhaps challenges us to be brave like Lucie and repeat out loud these seemingly scary words: “Je suis belle!”. A hint… it might not be so scary after all.
Zoe Anne Rinaldi
De Plus Belle will be released nationwide 3rd Nov 2017
Watch the trailer for De Plus Belle here: