"Ma Vie en Rose" is "the age-old story of sidelong glances, disapproving neighbors, gossip, and being ashamed of what is different," says first-time feature director Alain Berliner.
Played with an even-keeled, matter-of-fact charm by newcomer George du Fresne, Ludovic is a boy who knows he is a girl and puts his trust in God that this error in his given gender will be righted. Full of hope and raised on fairytales, he believes that a supernatural force will make his dearest wish come true: to be back in the body of the girl that he is meant to be. When Ludovic says, "I'm a boy now but one day I'll be a girl," it makes perfect sense to him. It's like saying, "One day I'll be a grown up."
Says Berliner, "The movies often treat sexual identity as comedy material. With 'Ma Vie en Rose,' I wanted the child's innocence and his amazing certainty make his questions touch our hearts and allow us to understand them. There is a lot to laugh about in the film, but there is also a good dose of drama."
In today's world, popular culture has reflected a change in society where, as Berliner puts it, "the gender cards are being re-dealt." But even as boundaries blur, and more difference is becoming acceptable and even celebrated, particularly in popular culture, the pitfalls of sexual identity for the individual -- and for children in particular -- are still deep. Says Berliner, "To my knowledge, no one has covered this topic at this age before, the age when the question of sexual identity appears." But Berliner is also quick to point out that his film is not meant to come down on one side of what is right or wrong for all children. "In making the film, we were not concerned with Ludovic's future. Maybe the episode described in the film will lead to something, maybe nothing."
Instead, Berliner, writer Chris vander Stappen and producer Carole Scotta set out to examine how having a child who is different can effect the parents, the neighbors and the entire community in which they live. "For the parents, it takes real courage to accept their child's difference because what terrifies them most -- and terrifies just about everyone -- is the prospect of being different themselves, of being seen as different by other people. Neighbors," observes Berliner, himself a father of two, "are like so many mirrors: when one of them reflects a distorting picture, you do your utmost to throw it out." To keep the tone of the story he was telling on track, and in working with actors Michele Laroque and Jean-Philippe Ecoffey, who play the mother and father, Berliner reminded himself of one thing: "I never stopped telling myself that if something like this happened to me, I wouldn't know how to react."
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