Ma vie en rose
|Ma Vie en Rose|
|Directed by||Alain Berliner|
|Produced by||Carole Scotta|
|Written by||Alain Berliner
Chris Vander Stappen
|Starring||Georges Du Fresne|
|Music by||Dominique Dalcan
|Edited by||Sandrine Deegen|
|Distributed by||Haut et Court (France)
Sony Pictures Classics (US)
Ma vie en rose (English translation: My Life in Pink) is a 1997 Belgian drama film directed by Alain Berliner. It tells the story of Ludovic, a child who is seen by family and community as a boy, but consistently communicates being a girl. The film depicts Ludovic's family struggling to accept this transgressive gender expression.
When the Fabre family move into their dream house with wonderful neighbors, everything seems perfect except for one thing - the youngest child Ludovic wishes to function as a girl; while she was assigned 'male' at birth, she feels that she is a girl and wants to live as a female. The rest of the family humor her as best they can, rationalizing that Ludovic is only trying to find "his" identity and will be over it soon.
Trouble begins when Ludovic befriends Jérôme, the son of her father's boss, and expresses a desire to marry him when Ludovic is finally "not a boy." When visiting Jérôme's house, Ludovic enters his sister's room and puts on one of her dresses, not realizing that the sister is deceased and the room was merely kept in memory of her. Jérôme's mother sees this and she and the rest of the neighbors are horrified. The community turns against Ludovic and, by extension, the rest of the Fabre family. After Ludovic stands in as Snow White in a school play, the parents of the other students send in a petition to have her expelled. Ludovic's father, under strain as an employee of Jérôme's father, is unable to cope and causes conflict within the family. After a particularly bad argument, Ludovic attempts to mend the situation by hiding in a freezer to commit suicide. She is found in time and allowed to wear a skirt to a neighborhood party. While the other neighbors greet her warmly, Ludo's father gets fired the next day and finds his house spray painted with graffiti. Ludo runs out of the house, distraught. Hanna, Ludovic's mother, gets furious at Ludo for saying that. She blames Ludovic for everything that has gone wrong. Hanna wants to set Ludo straight so she cuts her hair to make her look like her brothers. Ludo hates her mother for doing this and wants to live with her grandmother.
When Ludo and her grandmother go visit Ludo's parents one weekend, the father announces that he has a new job, but it is out of town, and that they have to move.
At their new house, Ludovic is befriended by Christine "Chris" Delvigne, a young person whose mother sees him as female but who prefers to be seen as a boy. Chris' mother invites Ludovic to Chris' dress-up birthday party, which Ludo attends in a musketeer outfit. Chris, unhappy in a princess outfit, asks Ludo to swap and has the other young party guests force Ludo to do so upon refusal. When Ludovic's mother sees her in the dress, she fears that their troubles are beginning again and lashes out by hitting Ludo until the other party guests restrain her.
Hanna follows Ludovic to a billboard where she is shocked to see Ludovic in the picture, running away with a living Barbie-like doll named Pam. When she tries to follow, she falls through the ground and awakens at home. She and Ludovic's father assure Ludo that she may wear skirts if she wishes and she in turn assures her mother that she never really intended to run away with Pam.
- Georges Du Fresne as Ludovic "Ludo" Fabre
- Michèle Laroque as Hanna Fabre
- Jean-Philippe Écoffey as Pierre Fabre
- Hélène Vincent as Élisabeth
- Daniel Hanssens as Albert
- Laurence Bibot as Lisette
- Jean-François Gallotte as Jeannot
- Julien Rivière as Jérôme
- Gregory Diallo as Thom Fabre
- Erik Cazals De Fabel as Jean Fabre
- Cristine Barget as Zoé Fabre
- Delphine Cadet as Pam
- Raphaelle Santini as Christine "Chris" Delvigne
- Marine Jolivet as Fabienne Delvigne
- Anne Coesens as Teacher
- Vincent Grass as Principal
Title and names
The film's title may be intended as a reference to the song "La Vie en rose" where being en rose (in pink) means being in love; in the film, it refers to Ludovic's female gender identity.
The film features a fictional fashion doll brand, Le monde de Pam; this brand is fashioned after the similar, yet real, doll line, Barbie.
The gender-ambiguous "Chris" (Ludovic's counterpart) near the end of the film has the same given name as screenwriter Chris Vander Stappen, who has written and directed several films involving lesbian relationships.
Although internationally presented as a Belgian film because of the nationality of Berliner, its director and co-screenwriter, the film is an international co-production between companies in Belgium, the United Kingdom and France — the majority of the production work was done by the French independent film house Haut et Court and the shooting took place south of Paris, France, near the commune of Évry.
The color timing in the film is significant — it changes as parents exit from the school play, switching to cold-blue tones.
In the United States the film received an R rating by the Motion Picture Association of America, an unusual decision because the film has minimal sexual content, minimal violence, and mild language. Those opposed to the rating believe that the rating was the result of transphobia.
- Childhood gender nonconformity
- Cross-dressing in film and television
- Gender identity
- List of Belgian submissions for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film
- Transgender in film and television
- Ma vie en rose at the Internet Movie Database
- Ma vie en rose at AllMovie
- Ma vie en rose at Box Office Mojo
- Sony Pictures Section on the film
- Why is Ma Vie en Rose rated R?