“I made my body my brother’s mausoleum. Since his death, I live for him and me at the same time”


Eloïse Delsart made a name for herself in 1999 under the name of Ovidie, when she was a philosophy student and had just shot her first pornographic film. She quickly moved behind the camera, first making X films and then numerous documentaries. A feminist figure, she recounts today in a book published by Vanessa Springora at Julliard the journey that has led her, for four years, to “get out of sex”. At least temporarily.

I wouldn’t have come here if…

If I hadn’t taken part, in November 1999, in a much-watched program by Mireille Dumas, on France 2, whose title was: “You said porn”. I was then 19 years old, the first film in which I had just shot had not yet been released, but journalists heard about it. A young student who runs wild in X is a good subject. As I am a little clever, I accept the show. This is the moment when I must choose with certainty a pseudonym, which will constitute my new identity for eternity. Suddenly, I become someone else. A media character is created, this Ovidie that people will love, others will hate, without anyone really knowing me. Before the broadcast, Mireille Dumas shows me the edit and, foreseeing what awaits me, asks me if I really agree to the broadcast. I say yes, and my life changes.

For good or for bad ?

Both. On the one hand, thanks to this program, Canal+ asks me to write scripts. I accept, on the condition of realizing them too. Six months later, I finish my first film, I am often invited in the media, and there is a certain jubilation to find oneself in the center of attention. On the other, all the troubles anticipated by Mireille Dumas arrive. I’m starting to be recognized in the street, insulted, I sometimes fear for my physical integrity. Ovidie becomes a voodoo doll in which some plant needles. I try to keep control of this character, but I immediately understand that a part of me no longer belongs to me. I fall out with my family and with half of my friends, of my fellow anti-sexist and extreme left activists, who judge that I betray the cause, that I sell myself to the society of the spectacle that I claimed to be fighting.

At the University of Tours, where I am in my second year of philosophy, it is also complicated. They say nothing to me frontally, but the pressure is strong. Three days after the show, our Greek teacher gave us two hours of lessons on modesty… On the set, I had said to Mireille Dumas: “I’ll go as far as the thesis, no problem. In fact, I had to stop my studies for fifteen years. I never imagined the violence of the stigma that awaited me. I was spat on for ten years. My thesis, I only defended it at the end of 2020. And, although I have been teaching for six years, I still have the feeling of not being legitimate anywhere.

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