Je suis Femen, an intimate portrait of an out of the ordinary feminist group
by Muriel Del Don
- Alain Margot, a highly adaptable Swiss director, is launching himelf into the risky business of translating into images the fascinating journey of the Femen
The statuesque bodies of members of the group, covered in aggressive slogans, which stake claims of freedom, tolerance and justice in a country – Ukraine – overcome by corruption, repression, symbolise an almost bodily will to express rage and indignation. The documentary by Alain Margot puts in evidence the complexity - which is often violent and risky - of these militants who, before anything else, have denounced the lack of functionality of a selfish government leading the country astray.
Everything started with a reportage in 2011 for a television programme on RTS named “Temps présent”. Our Swiss director was profoundly touched by the questions raised by these female warriors from the east. He decided to follow their evolution, following their demonstrations with a camera, but also gaining access to some of their most secret and intimate moments. Alain Margot wants to reveal to the public who these women really are, what lies behind their almost perfect faces and bodies, which are so instrumental to their struggle. Je suis Femen [+see also:
film profile] shows how this group of Ukrainian women were able to become a world phenomenon by getting press attention in venues across the world.
Alain Margot’s latest documentary is the result of three years lived in close proximity with the Femen group, divided up between victories and tough moments, also covering the moments when the struggle turned violent. Particularly incisive was the Belarus demonstration, where Loukachenko’s angels of death kidnapped and tortured two of the founding members.
Our director found himself close to the causes raised by this feminist movement, which came from the cold and calls for a more just world, where justice, democracy and freedom of expression rule. His is a sincere kind of admiration, a feeling of closeness to a universe, which is partly secret and dominated by women who want to change the world – not so much with guns but with the art of provocation. Alain Margot analyses its organisation from the inside, revealing secrets, showing various organizing steps, tactics put into practice of what has become coined as “sextremism”.
Je suis Femen is a film on feminism, on protest, on the opposition to a government, which no longer has anything to offer, but it is also an intimate portrait of a group of women who are searching for their paths in life in a world, which rejects them and refuses to listen. The main character is Oxana, the group’s artist, one of the founding members of the movement. She is the one who gives colour to demonstrations and transforms them into images. Alain Margot was completely taken aback by this strong woman, secret and elegant who is able to give life to a fascinating universe. Her beauty lies in her discreet nature, in her clear and lucid gaze watching the world around her. She seems conscious of the difficulties of living in a society, which bases itself exclusively on corruption. Sexy and never frightened to speak their own minds, the Femen movement has shot to fame and counts as one of their political nemeses Putin.
Je suis Femen shows us the intimate and sometimes human side of a group of women revolting, who have chosen to live according to their ideals. A documentary that is sure to touch.
Je suis Femen was given an award after its global premiere at the last edition of Visions du réel, the international film festival in Nyon, where it won the jury award-SSA/Suissimage for the most innovative medium or feature length Swiss film.
Je suis Femen was sold around the world by Be For Films.
(Translated from Italian)