“The relationship of the director to “his” actress, supposed to be based on “seduction”, is removed from the usual regulations of the work”

Lhe cultural universes are based, very largely, on beliefs: belief in the value of works, in their creators, belief in the need to commit “body and soul” and, if necessary, to make sacrifices for “ enter the industry”, make a place for yourself and, why not, establish yourself. In the name of the common idea according to which “art is life”, artistic work conceived as a “vocation” implies the blurring of the boundaries between professional and private life.

Furthermore, we often forgive “geniuses” and other “sacred monsters” for their eccentric behavior, their whims, and the fact of “going beyond the limits”. This can even be seen as the extension of an “inspiration” which cannot be limited by social conventions and, sometimes, by the law.

Cinema is all the less an exception as it presents specificities conducive to the exercise of certain forms of domination, the most visible proof of which today is the repetition of testimonies about sexual assault. Cinema indeed enjoys a particularly desirable status: undeniably recognized as an art – the 7e –, it allows access to media fame rarely matched by other artists, under the seal of “glamor” regularly used by the luxury industry. As the attractiveness of university courses and film schools shows, working in cinema constitutes a project that nourishes powerful desires.

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Finally, the status of author which established itself during the New Wave confers on directors, particularly in France, a central authority which makes them legitimate to preside, as an inspired demiurge, over the entire creative process.

Underrepresented women

Although demographics and practices are changing, men continue to be over-represented in the production of feature-length fiction films, films for which the aura of “real” remains particularly strong. And, although cinematographic creation is the place of production systems very rationalized by decisive economic imperatives, certain parts of creation continue to perpetuate enchanted representations of this universe. That of the director’s relationship with “his” actress is particularly ambiguous: supposed to be based on “seduction”, this relationship is thus removed from the usual regulations of the work.

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Cases of sexual assault don’t just happen during filming. They can in fact occur in any space of expression of the aura of renowned authors, notably in the image of festivals, places of consecration, of festive moments and especially of recourse to young interns or volunteers, often feminine. How can we bear the story of one of them recounting how organizers asked her at the end of the evening to accompany a world-renowned director, while her producer, staying there, knew exactly what was going to happen once the door closed?

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