Official Selection 2022
Emily Barbelin

POUR ÊTRE AIMÉ PAR QUI
TO BE LOVED BY WHOM

Belgium, France / 2022 / Colour / 63’
World Premiere

This is a piece of dramatic fiction resting on a subtle balance between social realism and highly stylized theatrical directing. In her first film, Emily Barbelin depicts the lived experience of a bunch of sex workers in a microcosm ruled by male desires that form the pattern of their nights. These men are barely seen, for in fact they are fleeting figures, either sleeping or caught in violent frenzies. In a voice-over, a woman calls out to some faraway mother, as a wintertime landscape is passing by from the window of a train, echoing the words. To be loved by whom has no plot to speak of, and is informed by a crescendo that leads to a liberating zenith. The editing is not linear, and is patterned by outbursts (of laughter, of violence, of tenderness). Why do they do this job? There is a myriad reasons, really, that may be guessed at. The film doesn’t try to explain them. The director chooses to stage the women’s shared intimacy through moments that are peripheral to their performed job: collective baths, drunken nights and joyrides, discussions around a table feeling snug in their hoodies, waiting for customers in a dark hostess bar… When she zeroes in on gazes and tired faces, her film is successfully informed by the choreography of bodies, neither sensual nor erotic. The three young women look remarkably alike. They are not sisters but together they make up a common body. “All for One, One for All” is what seems to be Emily Barbelin’s message. To be loved by whom navigates the discrepancy between the cheap costumes, the artificial, shady spaces (evocative of Fassbinder) and, on the other hand, the hypersensitivity of exchanges. These “straw girls” are universal and are caught between their quest for poetry and the dodgy triviality male desire reduces them to.
(Claire Lasolle)

Technical sheet

Original version : french, russian
Subtitles : french
Script : Emily Barbelin
Photography : Rui Poças, Camille Sultan
Editing : Lucas Furtado
Sound : Thierry Delor
Sound credits : Floxel Barbelin

INTERVIEW WITH THE DIRECTOR

Director

Emily Barbelin - Belgium, France

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