“Swimming Women”, a thousand and one stories of film women invite themselves to the theater


Interior at night. A large Art Deco cinema hall as we loved them so much, with hinged porthole doors and club chairs. It’s like being in a painting by Edward Hopper, with a woman shrouded in loneliness, waiting in the wings for the end of the session, the end of the dream. Except that the women here are numerous, they haunt the gambling machine imagined by Pauline Peyrade and the director Emilie Capliez or cross it with a crash.

They are the actresses and directors that the author calls together in a vast puzzle, which throws into the air and rearranges the representations of women such as the dream factory of cinema has put them in place since the beginning of the 20th century.e century. What makes the value of the project is that we are precisely in the theater, in its here and now, and that the show would be like a long sequence shot in flesh and blood, where a thousand and one stories swirl , in a kaleidoscope that is both enjoyable and reflective.

It all starts with Marilyn, of course, the ultimate myth, the sacrificial figure par excellence. The show opens with this quote from Blonde hairby Joyce Carol Oates: “Eyes wide open and seem to see, but it’s a dream she sees. » THE “swimming women”, it’s these Hollywood actresses, but it’s also Romy Schneider or Ludivine Sagnier, and many others. Like so many bodies, projection surfaces.

Figures of refusal and reconstruction

In a montage as playful as it is intelligent, Pauline Peyrade happily takes us for a walk and leads us astray – with the help of the Mulholland Drive by David Lynch − along a journey that is also one of emancipation. Ophélie Bau leaving the Cannes screening of Mektoub my Love: Intermezzo, in 2019, feeling cheated by Abdellatif Kechiche; Adèle Haenel rising with a bang from the 2020 Césars ceremony, indignant at the prize awarded to Roman Polanski; Chantal Akerman inventing a new cinema, with the divine Delphine Seyrig as her banner… So many figures of refusal and reconstruction.

Emilie Capliez, the director of the Comédie de Colmar (national drama center), places this journey in a very controlled staging, inventing a very particular space-time, which is neither that of cinema nor that of traditional theatre. In the superb decor designed by Alban Ho Van, the fragments collide in a whirlwind where we don’t always recognize all the stories, but that doesn’t matter. The puzzle can be put together afterwards.

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