Vive la Différence!
An interesting example of change
Recently, I went to see the French film ‘Normandy Nude’, the title does not do it full justice but does reflect the central theme. It is a funny and enjoyable film about how one small farming community tries to get their message out about the dire straits that farming is in, prices are too low for long-term sustainability (which will resonate with many Australian farmers, I think).
But the main thing that struck me was that every single female role (from a teenager through to an aging grandmother) represented a strong, self-determining character facing each crisis, realistically, courageously and with good humour. It is the male characters who are angry, anxious and despairing – needing encouragement and support to face up to the challenges.
There is a love story at the centre. A young man comes back to the town and falls for a young woman, they get together. He has come back to sell his father’s shop and move away again. As the film comes to an end, the young man decides to stay in the town and rushes to tell the young woman. She responds confidently and with a touch of amusement, “L’homme decide, les femmes applaudissent” – the man decides, and the women applaud. The man is completely confused, expecting the young woman to be overjoyed at his decision. Shortly, the young woman relents and signals that she accepts him back.
All in all, a promising sign of the times.