In "The origin of the world", Laurent Lafitte abuses the image of "nice old lady"

CINEMA – In The origin of the world, Laurent Lafitte makes actress Hélène Vincent the key character in his crazy film, which hits theaters this Wednesday, September 15. And the actor, also a director, does not hesitate to manhandle the image of Épinal of the “nice old lady” as much as his spectator.

Laurent Lafitte had already shown his creaky humor trend “uneasy” at the Cannes Film Festival or the César. He continues to prove it with his first feature film, The origin of the world, adapted from the eponymous play by Sébastien Thiéry whose pitch sets the scene: while Jean-Louis’ heart has stopped beating, an obscure doctor promises to save his life if he manages to bring him back a photo of her mother’s vagina …

This mother, who undergoes all the stratagems of her son (Laurent Lafitte), his wife (Karin Viard) and his best friend (Vincent Macaigne) to try to take said shot, is embodied by the brilliant Hélène Vincent. But the one we naively take for a nice old lady at the start of the film turns out to be “a bitch” as her son unravels family stories, as the actress tells us in our video interview to see at the top of this article.

Between laughter and embarrassment

A jubilant role for the 78-year-old actress who confides “the incredible happiness of playing such a complex character, even and also in those moments when we say to ourselves: ‘but the bitch!’”. All the more so since Hélène Vincent testifies to the difficulty of existing for women in cinema: “After a certain age, we become invisible. We no longer exist. We take women out of the story! ”

An opinion shared by the director. “In the cinema, we are cruel to women. After a certain age, the roles are much less interesting and boil down to figures: the cake granny, the cantankerous old woman ”, he explains to HuffPost. “I wanted our relationship to this key figure to be completely destabilized, to learn things that break the empathy we have with her and to ask ourselves: ‘but who is this woman?’”

This is one of the strengths of history: Laurent Lafitte insolently gets rid of the traditional clichés of the roles of “old” in the cinema, to such an extent that it is sometimes difficult to know if it makes us laugh or if that embarrasses us. And if the director recognizes that his film could “upset some spectators a little too much”, he fully assumes his “freedom of tone”.

See also on Then24: Huguette and Raymond from “Scènes de Ménages”, too rare examples of “old people” on TV

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