Over the age of 50, they decided to count on movies

Katherine Piferti will long remember her 50th birthday. In the week leading up to her birthday, the actress received a casting offer for a hearing aid advertisement, which stated that the actress must be in her fifties.

When the young casting director saw him, he asked if he had gone to the wrong house. Tit for Tat, Catherine Piferti answers: “You expected a wrinkled woman, with long white hair, wearing a very delicate purple dress?” The coward shook his head. “So you’re looking for a 75-year-old woman, because a 50-year-old woman is that.”, He said pointing at himself. The actress draws a conclusion, which she likes to repeat. “When I came out of that audition, I realized one thing: ‘Those who are not represented do not exist.'”

Although one in two adult French women is over 50, they are largely absent from the screen that forms our society. A special invisibility in the world of cinema, as evidenced by the Associated Actresses and Actors of France (AAFA), who created a commission in 2015 called “The Tunnel of 50-Year-Old Actress”, which was conducted by actress Mariner to me. According to a calculation conducted by the association, in 2020 only 9% of roles in French cinema were attributed to women 50 years of age or older. And this, when the big screen is social and political, as shown again by 75e Cannes Film Festival Edition.

Pictures of the past

“We’re dragging the presentation from another century.”, Catherine Piffaretti deplores, also co-referenced the commission’s “50-year-old actress tunnel”. He recalls the ethnographer Franোois Heritage about two carvings of the epinal representing the epoch of life: in one, the 50-year-old man alone and bright; Women, on the other hand, regardless of their age, do not enjoy loneliness and are usually accompanied by a male character (doll, husband, child, grandson, great-grandson). The legend of the engraved depicting the age of the woman reads: “At 50, he stops; at the grandson, he celebrates.” “We are still there, the woman stopped again. Epinal’s picture today, it’s a movie “Catherine Piferti mourned.

In cinema, the decline of the proposal began even in the forties. And the change happened at the age of 50, as shown in a Collectif 50/50 study on French films released in 2019. Before the age of 50, the share of roles played by women is 42%; Between the ages of 50 and 64, it drops to 26%. Notable facts, however: Virginia Ephera, a 45-year-old actress and member of the group, is none other than the concubine of the Cannes Film Festival 2022.

For Catherine Pifaretti, if the change occurs at 50, because it is the average age of menopause, that is, where women stop procreation. “Continuing not to represent us means telling us: ‘You are only useful for your sexual and desirable role.'”, He adds. A worthy rejection “Social Menopause” Melissa-Asli Petit, chief sociologist at Mixing Generations, a research office on aging.

According to Catherine Pifaretti, a case of Omerta: “No one has seen the actresses disappear with age. You have to die with your mouth shut, otherwise it will be detrimental to our careers.”Before explaining why the actresses took the matter, he regrets: “We wanted to prove that our disappearance is not an illusion, but a figment of imagination, but a systematic reality.” The challenge, above all, is to silence the argument, which is often used, of counter-examples: “Just because you can have ten names doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The stars of the screen are the trees that hide the forest.Insistently, tired, Sophie Deschamps, from the height of her forty-three-year career as a screenwriter.

Women’s clothing,
Men at the shooting

Because it’s often referred to as Fanny Ardant (73), Isabel Huppert (69), Sophie Marceau (55) or Karin Weird (56), how many had to drop the lawsuit? According to activists, the process of making women over the age of 50 disappear is well-established: as soon as a role is of moderate importance, “Anyone with a name is privileged.”, Sophie Deschamps, screenwriter but former chairman of the board of directors of the Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers (SACD) testified. For small roles, they are often less thoughtful and less feminist, “And no one peels them.”.

“If we disappear from the image, we disappear from the collective unconscious. It’s a double-edged sword, age-old and sexist. “

Katherine Piferti, actress, co-referee of the commission
“50 year old actress tunnel”

A film is a composite product, yet the reflection of the presentations should be at the beginning of the creative process. To ensure their visibility, the presence of women in the film industry is therefore a prerequisite for screenwriters: “If we had equal opportunities at the beginning of our careers in cinema and television, there would be a better balance of perspectives. It needs to be fixed urgently. “ According to research by the National Center for Cinema and the Moving Image (CNC), women occupy the positions of screenwriter, costume designer or dresser, hairdresser and make-up artist, while men are responsible for construction, sound or video recording. .

These works, as well as the release of speeches born out of the #MeToo and #Balancetonporc movements, have inspired initiatives to fight sexism in a cinematographic environment. According to Catherine Pifaretti, enough to change a presentation that worries society as a whole: “The fight for the unseen is not only for actresses and women over the age of 50, but also for young women.He argues strongly. If we disappear from the image, we disappear from the collective unconscious. It’s a double-edged sword, age-old and sexist. ”

I cover these bodies
Can’t see

Scraping women over the age of 50 really goes hand in hand with the young man identified as the eternal cursor of beauty. In this entrenched youthfulness, the signs of old age must be faded, hidden, transformed, and the women who succeed in doing so – willingly or unwillingly – know it very quickly. “I often hear this phrase, which should be taken as my compliment: ‘You shall not do these things.’ I look my age, I look my age, but people think I’m not 57. “Excited Catherine Piferti.

Business is a particularly visible phenomenon where beauty capital is based on employability. “Society tells women that you only look at them when they are young and beautiful.”, Analyzed by Thierry Delcourt, an expert psychiatrist in the industry. Actresses are thus pressured to adapt to the notion that there may be an attractive woman to keep working: “If you are no longer seen as a girl who can be naked or swim in a two-piece, you have to fight to compete for an attractive role.”Testimony of screenwriter Sophie Deschamps.

No wonder, then, that it is common to lie about your age in casting. New example: The latest frustration of French actress Agnès Château, who starred in the series More beautiful life: “Fifteen minutes ago I got a negative reaction for a character because I wasn’t old enough. The character was 70 years old. I’m 68 years old, but I’m too young to look. You should have been identified.”He says on the phone.

That’s why screenwriter Sophie Deschamps, who is involved in representing women over the age of 50, is honored to match the actual age and age of the role: “People are their age. When I mark 50 years, then 50 years. We have to give up the year of Malia by acknowledging the age of the role of actresses and stopping the revival of women in the role of power. Or the role of a lover, like a movie EiffelReleased in 2021.

Old goat or grandmother cake?

But the opposite tendency has to be thrown in the basket of ‘Grandma’. Sociologist Melissa-Asli Petit acknowledges a trend “To be considered a homogeneous group of people in their 50s, as if they were all too old and losing their autonomy.”. Witness the clich roles that stifle existing presentations quoted by Katherine Pifaretti: “Dried old goat, sweet grandmother and cougar.” Women over the age of 50 are trying to change the empty images to get rid of the clich যাs that are losing their vitality on their screens.

“Are we being given the reality of women who say ‘you see, I can’?”Melissa asks Asli-Petit. “We have to stop making housewives. We’re not jam nanny or crazy people who talk to their pan. A woman doesn’t talk to her suspen. He has friends, he has life, he has a job., Protest screenwriter Sophie Deschamps. This is what the series wanted to show Grace and FrankieBroadcast on Netflix since 2015, which fights these stereotypes by telling the story of two 70-year-old women.

According to storytelling researcher Monica Sizkar, this kind of innovative story series is more easily exposed to the diversity of communities present on the streaming platform, “Those who have found a wide range of presentations and expressions there”. Movies, too, are increasingly affected by this phenomenon, like PinkFrancois Fabian rediscovers his sexuality as a 78-year-old widow.

If private enterprises appear in professional environments and associations, then all creative professions and organizations still need to be trusted, as Catherine Piferti reminds us. “AAFA interviewed all of them: director, screenwriter, producer, casting director. Now you need to be able to work with them. Without it the mentality will change in fifty years. We don’t have time to wait. “He is angry, his voice is calm but determined to move the line, and this is in partnership with various actors in the film industry.

Recently, at the end of a meeting with the CNC, its commission found exactly one success: the focus on actresses, which was only once in 2020 to study the place of women in the film industry, will be fixed. It will now be published every two years, with the next deadline set for the end of 2022. A working group will also be formed jointly with the CNC and the Ministry of Culture. The goal, according to Katherine Piferti: “Together we see how we can change representation.”

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