Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink)

Dir: Alain Berliner, 1997. Starring: Georges Du Fresne, Michèle Laroque, Jean-Philippe Écoffey, Hélène Vincent. Gay Cinema.
Ma Vie en Rose (My Life in Pink)

Ludovic is not a boy. God had a great big book and under the name Ludovic Fabre, "girl" was written next to it. God sent down Ludo’s other X chromosome, but it just got lost somehow…at least that’s what Ludo thinks. Ma Vie en Rose is the sweet and accurate tale of a family torn apart by the fact that one of their number will do anything to convince himself and his community that he was always meant to be a girl.

Hanna and Pierre Fabre (Michèle Laroque and Jean-Philippe Écoffey) move into a wonderful suburb and are now next-door neighbors with Pierre’s boss, Albert. They have a daughter and three sons, the youngest of them all being Ludovic (Georges Du Fresne). For years, Ludo has been convinced that he is a girl and waits patiently for his transformation, and comically, his first menstrual cycle. His family tries delicately to dissuade him from that belief but, in failing, they hope that he will simply grow out of it. For show-and-tell at school, he brings dolls and successfully confuses or convinces the children there that he is, or will become, a girl. During play, he dresses in only the prettiest princess dresses with lipstick and jewelry or dances in a wedding gown, hoping that when he comes of age he can marry his neighbor’s son. The only problem is that their neighbor's son is the child of his father’s boss—a sheepish and traditional family man who forbids his son to play with Ludo.

Rejection among children is a very sensitive subject and although the film is extremely colorful and cheerful for the most part, thanks to Ludo’s vast imagination, it is a very difficult story to see. It’s not that anything extremely violent or painful happens, but it’s the kind of film that plays on our emotions, as most coming of age stories do. And while we know that that Ludo is a boy who is attracted to other boys, he doesn’t understand what "gay" means and is forced to not only learn, but to see how society treats and understands people based on their sexual preference. Through trying to change his ways and "walk like a man" or taking up a sport through his father’s urging, we understand what is suppressed and have similar memories of parts of our personality that were snuffed out by either our parents, adulthood, or by society. Ludo’s family becomes the victim of countless blows, from anti-gay vandalism being tagged on their home, to financial strain when his father loses his job over Ludo.

But there is a sense of magic to the film as well. Ludo’s imagination, sparked from a girl’s TV show in the film, allowed for some very colorful and dreamlike scenes where Ludo is flying away from trouble or looking down at himself from above like an angel. And while there is a certain threshold for his family’s patience, as a whole, they are eager to accept him for who he is and shut out everything else. But just as society is affecting Ludo, it’s affected them as well and, in the end, life-changing decisions must be made that could either ruin their family or help them stand apart from everyone else. Well done performances from everyone in the cast, and especially from the actors who play his parents. A must see for anyone who refused to conform to the rules of their society and for those who think that you should always be yourself.

Posted by:
Edythe Smith
May 17, 2010 4:41pm
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