Transidentity and the desire for parenthood are at the heart of this film, “A Good Man”, whose main roles are played by Noémie Merlant and Soko. We met its director Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar and actor Jonas Ben Ahmed.
The story: Aude and Benjamin love each other and have lived together for 6 years. Aude suffers from not being able to have children so Benjamin decides that it is he who will carry it.
DashFUN: What was the starting point of this film, A Good Man?
Marie-Castille Mention Schaar, director and co-writer: What started was a simple conversation, but one that I had never heard. This is a conversation that took place a few years ago between Jacob Hunt – which was the subject of a documentary my co-writer did on transidentity, Coby – and his older brother.
The subject was the situation he was in, namely that he had to do his hysterectomy (a surgical procedure that involves removing the uterus, Editor’s note.), And at the same time, he very much wanted to become a father, to found a family with its partner, who had terrible anxiety about pregnancy.
He realized that he was the only one in their relationship who, as naturally as possible, could carry their child, which was not at all obvious to him. Besides, he didn’t. But this discussion deconstructed a lot for me about what it is to be a parent, this very strong desire for parenthood, and the difficulty some have in accessing it.
All of a sudden, the audience sees this character, this love story, something embodied. It takes away this somewhat taboo, unreal, fantasized side, when in fact, it’s very simple.
I spoke a lot with Jacob following this documentary, and I delved into research to find that thousands of trans men in the United States were carrying their children every year. Discover these journeys, these fights, these difficulties … All this to achieve what millions of people arrive at with ease without even asking questions, without having any problem of legislator who comes to tell you “yes, you have the right to be a parent“.
This is also why I made the film. Because all of a sudden the audience sees this character, this love story, something embodied. It takes away this somewhat taboo, unreal, fantasized side, when in fact, it’s very simple.
To broach this subject, you had to make certain staging choices. There are strong images, but without being in the demonstration …
Marie-Castille Mention Schaar: What was important for me was to be at the heart of the subject and therefore of the feeling. The public had to be able to identify with it, even if at the start it may feel very far from this question, from this story.
And that is what is incredible in the projections that we make … People identify with each other: this desire to start a family, the love that we can have with our partner, our partner and that we want to transmit this love story and make it a filiation, people recognize each other. At the end of the film, many say to themselves: “In fact, these people look like me. I look like them. What is the problem ?“.
Who exactly is the audience you would like to reach? There is no doubt the idea of interesting viewers who are not necessarily aware of these subjects and make them change their minds as you said …
Marie-Castille Mention Schaar: That’s exactly what I want to do. Knowing that those who have the biggest a priori, it is unrealistic to think that they will come. Others, on the other hand, come for example because they have seen other of my films. They come even if at first the subject does not seem to concern them.
Viewers are often amazed at how much the film deconstructs certain things in their minds.
And then, they make comments at the end where they say they are extremely surprised at their reaction. They are amazed at how much the film deconstructs certain things in their minds. What stands out for them are very simple notions that they identify with, so they’re happy with that. These reactions are really touching.
Were you also able to present, during these previews, to the trans community?
Marie-Castille Mention Schaar: We did a screening organized by Representrans which is an association that was created after the first screenings of A good man a year ago precisely to help make all the players visible. Because I had a lot of problems accessing it.
The screening went very well. But it’s the same thing: those who came had an open mind on the subject. Initially, they …