Role reversal movie stirs up passions

By John Lichfield

The movie,  Majorite Opprimee or Oppressed Majority , was made in 2010.
The movie, Majorite Opprimee or Oppressed Majority , was made in 2010.

Imagine a world where it is the women who pee in the street, jog bare-chested and harass and physically assault the men.

Such a world has just gone viral on the internet. A nine-minute satirical film made by Eleonore Pourriat, a French actress, script-writer and director, has clocked up hundreds of thousands of views in recent days.

The movie, Majorite Opprimee or Oppressed Majority, was made in 2010. It caused a flurry of interest when it was first posted on YouTube early last year. But now its time seems to have come. "It is astonishing, just incredible that interest in my film has suddenly exploded in this way," Pourriat said. "Obviously, I have touched a nerve. Women in France, but not just in France, feel that everyday sexism has been allowed to go on for too long."

The star of the short film is Pierre, a slightly gormless stay-at-home father, who spends a day besieged by the casual or aggressive sexism of women in a female-dominated planet. The film begins in a jokey way and turns gradually, and convincingly, nasty. It has a Swiftian capacity to disturb by the simple trick of reversing roles.

Pierre, pushing his baby-buggy, is casually harassed by a bare-breasted female jogger. He meets a male, Muslim babysitter, who is forced by his wife to wear a balaclava in public. He is verbally abused by a drunken female down-and-out. He is sexually assaulted and humiliated by a knife-wielding girl gang.

A scene from 'Opressed Majority' by Eleonoré Pourriat.  Photo / YouTube
A scene from 'Opressed Majority' by Eleonoré Pourriat. Photo / YouTube

He is humiliated a second time by a policewoman, who implies that he invented the gang assault.

Pierre's self-important working wife arrives to collect him. She comforts him at first, calling him "kitten" and "pumpkin" . When he complains that he can no longer stand the permanent aggression of a female-dominated society, she says that he is to blame because of the way he dresses: in short sleeves, jandals and Bermudas.

Interest in Pourriat's highly charged little movie has exploded on social media and on feminist websites. Some men refuse to see the point. "Sorry, but I would adore to live such a life," said one French male blogger. "To be raped by a gang of girls. Great! That's every man's fantasy."

Pourriat, 42, says:"What angers me is that many women seem to accept this kind of behaviour from men or joke about it. I had long wanted to make a film that would turn the situation on its head. It is important to use humour, or derision, to hook the audience, but it's not intended as a funny film. It's a very serious subject."

- Independent

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