A film to “ask questions” on a subject that divides: in “La petite”, Fabrice Luchini is drawn into the twists and turns of surrogacy (GPA), banned in France, through the destiny of a man ready to everything to get his granddaughter back. Signed by Guillaume Nicloux (Valley of Love, 2015), this film, which opened the Angoulême Francophone Film Festival at the end of August, is released in theaters on Wednesday. It tells the story of Joseph (Fabrice Luchini), a somewhat gruff sixty-year-old who learns of the death of his son and his companion in an accident.
A tragedy which occurs while the couple is expecting a child via a surrogate mother in Belgium. Because if surrogacy is prohibited in France, it is neither legal nor explicitly prohibited in Belgium. A legal vagueness that makes GPAs possible.
“I know we're in the era where we just want to laugh, laugh, laugh, but this is not the case. It’s not a comedy!” declared the 71-year-old actor to AFP in Angoulême. “It’s a film which asks questions, which will bring tears to your eyes, perhaps make you laugh a little, but above all it’s a film which is not in the tyranny of the comic film,” he said. -he continued.
An existential quest then begins for Joseph: at all costs, to find Rita (Mara Taquin), the woman who is carrying his son's child. But the task is more difficult than he anticipated. Who has parental rights to this unborn child? Is he her grandfather in the eyes of the law? What about the surrogate mother?
“It’s not just a film about surrogacy,” insisted the actor, claiming “not to know what surrogacy was before making the film.” “It’s a film about filiation, life,” underlined the actor, himself the father of a daughter. A theme dear to Guillaume Nicloux, which he has explored since his beginnings in the 1990s with The Flying Children.
Through the search for Rita, Joseph also intends to reconcile with his deceased son, to whom he was never close. By featuring a woman who sees surrogacy as a way to earn money and a man driven by the visceral desire to honor his deceased son's desire to have a child, the film does not take sides. Opponents of this practice denounce the exploitation of women's bodies as well as the objectification of the unborn baby, while its defenders believe that we must respect the choice made by certain women to carry a child for someone else. A subject that divides even among the ranks of feminists.
President Emmanuel Macron spoke out against GPA, “an impassable red line”, underlined the French Minister of Justice Éric Dupond-Moretti during the debates on the opening of medically assisted procreation (MAP) to all women in 2021. “I have no opinion or conviction” on the subject, said Fabrice Luchini. “I know people who have used surrogacy, I know others who are opposed to it. Me, I do not know".