Pourquoi pas moi?

France/Spain/Switzerland 1998

Reviewed by Paul Julian Smith


Our synopses give away the plot in full, including surprise twists.

Southern Europe, the present. Camille, Eva and Nico are three queer professionals in their twenties who run their own publishing house in the city. Confident Camille lives with insecure Ariane, a mature student; Eva and Nico have many partners but are looking for true love. They have come out to everyone except their families. Camille suggests they all get together at her liberal mother's house in the country and tell their respective parents that they are lesbian or gay. Lili, their straight secretary, accompanies them and pretends to be lesbian.

The puzzled parents duly turn up. Eva's father José is a bullfighter and is accompanied by her glamorous mother Malou; Nico's mother Sara is a celebrated Italian chanteuse; Lili's parents Diane and Tony are unsuccessful travelling musicians. Ariane's mother Irène, a financier, and father Alain, a geneticist, are the most conservative couple in the group and react badly to their daughter's announcement that she's a lesbian. Over the weekend Diane and Sara renew their love affair, begun many years earlier; Irène ditches her homophobic husband in support of her daughter; and Eva and Nico find their perfect partners. A Virgin Mary descends from the skies lip-synching to Patsy Cline's 'Crazy' and blesses the new state of affairs.


In Pourquoi pas moi?'s credit sequence Amira Casar's Camille, black-clad and sardonic, sashays down the street to the strains of the Isley Brothers' 'That Lady'. Stéphane Giusti's first feature, a comedy in which a group of thirtysomething professionals come out to their parents, is just as self-assured. The ensemble cast of cute girls and one guy are skilfully established without heavy-handed exposition (funky Camille likes Star Wars, intellectual Ariane prefers Hegel). And the script is full of smart one-liners, some of them featuring untranslatable French puns. An avant-garde theatre production is compared to "a weekend in Mykonos with Ceausescu"; making love without a man is like "walking without crutches"; and a lesbian ill at ease in a dress says she's been "wrapped by Christo". When Camille and her lover Ariane finally settle their differences, they agree, fusing pop-culture and high-art references, that Fox Mulder's first wife must have been Medea.

The parents are also deftly delineated. They range from the left-leaning mother who is more militant than her lesbian daughter and raises a rainbow flag "to honour the dead of Strangewall" (sic) to the glamorous mother who dries her eyes on her feather boa, by way of a driven businesswoman who insists that her daughter's wedding will be sponsored by Danone. It's a particular treat to see Marie-France Pisier, fresh from Raúl Ruiz's Time Regained where she played a more discreet lesbian (society hostess Mme Verdurin), going native here in a leather jacket in a dyke bar.

Giusti, an experienced screenwriter, clearly has a knack for plot, dialogue and characterisation. But his film technique is equally assured: director of photography Antoine Roch's hot citrus palette, all lime and tangerine, conjures a vivid sense of the Mediterranean locale. Giusti also experiments insistently, but not intrusively, with different shooting styles: standard reverse angles give way to whip pans during the extended dinner-party scene when the hosts come out to their parents. Quick cutting keeps the rhythm fast as in the earlier sequence depicting colleagues Eva and Nico's response to Camille's proposal that they organise such a coming-out party. Performances are uniformly excellent. Fresh from his fortieth-anniversary concert at the Eiffel Tower, Johnny Hallyday, France's very own bargain-basement Elvis, has a craggy dignity in the unlikely role of an ex-bullfighter, a performance which reminds us that his previous screen credits include films for Jean-Luc Godard and Costa-Gavras.

Pourquoi pas moi?'s queer French farce echoes Josiane Balasko's 1994 Gallic lesbian-triangle comedy Gazon maudit and its Latin effervescence brings to mind early Pedro Almodóvar. But if Giusti's sunny sensibility lacks the craziness and pain that haunt Almodóvar's comedies, it goes way beyond Balasko's flirtation with diesel-dyke stereotypes. Coming-out dramas have always been rare in Latin countries, where, unlike in the US and UK, notions of queer identity and community have not until now been widely accepted as touchstones of lived experience. By refusing to specify Pourquoi pas moi?'s generic locations (the anonymous city where Camille and her colleagues work is in fact Barcelona), Giusti, an Italian born in Provence, gestures towards a new Latin cinema in which frontiers, thanks in part to the growing links between member states of the European Union, have faded away. In its small but effortlessly enjoyable way, Pourquoi pas moi? points to a new regime in European cinema where Latin queers, more secure in their sexuality than in their nationality, speak in their own voice.


Stéphane Giusti
Marie Masmonteil
Caroline Adrian
Stéphane Giusti
Director of Photography
Antoine Roch
Catherine Schwartz
Art Director
Rosa Ros
©Elzevir Films/
M6 Films/Glozel/
Maestranza Films/
Sogedasa/Alhena Films
Production Companies
An Elzevir Films/M6 Films/Glozel (P. Goter)/
Maestranza Films (Seville)/Sogedasa (Barcelona)/Alhena Films co-production
With the participation of Sofinergie 4/Sofinergie 5
With the participation of Canal+/M6
This film was supported by Eurimages/Procirep
Screenplay developed with the support of Programme Media de l'Union Européenne
Associate Producers
Elzevir Films:
Denis Carot
Maestranza Films:
Antonio Perez
Julio Fernández
Production Managers
Elisabeth Giusti
Victoria Borras
Unit Production Manager
Marta Rigau
Unit Manager
Ivan S. Mas
Location Manager
Cris F. Vila
Assistant Directors
Didier Carteron
Chema Linares
Script Supervisor
Agathe Sallabery
Stéphane Foenkinos
Teresa Estrada
2nd Unit Photographer
Xavier Gil
Steadicam Operator
Arturo Aldegunde
Catherine Rigault
Eric Bigot
Jorge Perez
Valérie Tranier
Murielle Brot
Chief Hairdresser
Jean-Jacques Puchu
María Sánchez
Music Supervisor
Eric Michon
"Canzone per te" - Vittoria Scognamiglio, "That Lady" - The Isley Brothers, "Sexy, sexy" - Baby do Bresil, "Oh Lori" - Alexi Brothers, "Ponette en cuatro",
"Mi, Linda" - Los Amigos Invisibles, "I Will Follow Him", "Crazy" - Patsy Cline, "Aberaume" - Les Valentines, "Malafemmina" - Peppino Di Capri, "In the Bush" - Musique, "I'll be Watching You (Nu Zagreb remix)" - Eddy & Dan, "People Hold On" -Lisa Stansfield, "Le Salon de coiffure" - Nicolas Emura, "It's Oh So Quiet (Jetzt ist es still)" - Betty Haman
Sound Mix
François Groult
Sound Engineers
Gilles Ortion
Miguel Rejas
Studio Recording
Eric Ferret
Studio Recording Engineers
Lahsen Benbraham
Carl Goetgheluck
Sound Editor
Christian Dior
Sound Effects
Laurent Lévy
Jean-Louis Le Bras
Michel Filippi
Amira Casar
Julie Gayet
Bruno Putzulu
Alexandra London
Carmen Chaplin
Johnny Hallyday
José, Eva's father
Marie-France Pisier
Irène, Ariane's mother
Brigitte Roüan
Josepha, Camille's mother
Assumpta Serna
Diane, Lili's mother
Elli Medeiros
Malou, Eva's mother
Vittoria Scognamiglio
Sara, Nico's mother
Jean-Claude Dauphin
Alain, Ariane's father
Joan Crosas
Tony, Lili's father
Montse Mostaza
Marta Gil
Adrian Collado
Albert Lopez-Murtra
Jean-Michel Portal
Edith Fambuena
Paco Barrera
Amel Djemel
the Madonna
Millivres Multimedia
8,485 feet
94 minutes 17 seconds
In Colour
Last Updated: 20 Dec 2011