For the needs of his social comedy “Les Invisibles”, director Louis-Julien Petit went to meet associations that help homeless women.
Preparation and documentation work
After Discount and Carole Mathieu who were already dealing with social issues, Louis-Julien Petit is interested this time in the Invisibles, these homeless women who we do not see and who nevertheless represent 40% of homeless people. It is by discovering the work of Claire Lajeunie – her documentary for television Invisible women, surviving on the streets and his book On the road to the Invisibles – that the director decides to make these women the subject of his new film.
Not to be redundant with the work of Lajeunie which he adapts, Petit decides to tell his story from the angle of social comedy. Despite this, he takes care to document himself and meets homeless women for more than a year in various reception centers across France, discovering at the same time the profession of social workers, mainly women.
He requires the same investment from his actresses: Audrey Lamy went to a reception center in Grenoble where she helped volunteers with shopping and cooking. For her part, Corinne Masiero was already well aware of the cause: very committed, the actress has been developing for several years a project for an eco-citizen integration structure to fight against precariousness and exclusion.
actresses from the street
Around his troupe of actresses also composed of Déborah Lukumuena and Noémie Lvovsky, Louis-Julien Petit chose to bring together non-professional actresses to embody the homeless women in his film, with the exception of Sarah Suco and Marie-Christine Orry. He wanted to hire women who had known the street and who had managed to get out of it or who were living in foster homes.
Thus, 150 women were “auditioned” during interviews where they spoke for an hour in front of the camera about their lives. Workshops were then set up to observe them in groups and better understand their personalities. Many of them left the ship after the first day of filming, discouraged by the scale of the undertaking or simply not interested in the experience.
To make it easier for these budding actresses, the story was shot in chronological order. They also each chose a pseudonym, which corresponded to that of their character and which also became theirs on the set. By sheltering behind this pseudonym, they felt freer to open up in front of the camera.
Their lack of experience was made up for by the truth they conveyed, as Audrey Lamy recalls: “In terms of interpretation, these women, who, to a certain extent, “re-enacted” their lives, stunned us with their naturalness, their strength, their commitment, their patience and their… punctuality. By choosing them , Louis-Julien was not mistaken. We, the “pros”, had to work twice as hard to rise to their level”.