The Mif: group of girls

The Ciné Agenda: This film seems intimately linked to your past as an educator

Frederic Baillif: It is true that becoming director, I stopped working for institutions as an educator. In spite of everything, I have kept one foot in the field of social work. I have a lot of contacts, relationships and even interests!

And I’ve always made social films, at least as far as my documentaries are concerned. With this fiction, I had this desire to talk about the issue of sexual abuse, but indirectly. And this environment that I know well could be a good source for telling these kinds of stories.

In fact, the question of sex shows up multiple times in your film and for different reasons. Was this question salient when you were an educator?

It was there, but we didn’t talk about it much. He was actually quite taboo. I am fortunate to have this past as an educator, to be able to really look at the environment from the inside, because I know, I have worked on it, I have lived there. But as with making a documentary, I also relied heavily on research.

Either we talk about what we know or do extensive research. I have had the opportunity to do both. I find Claudia Grob in particular – in the film she plays the character of Lora – who was really the manager of a hostel for 20 years and who was my boss, since I worked in this hostel 25 years ago.

Her testimony on what she experienced, in particular on these issues – the sexuality of minors in institutions – had a great impact on the story I wanted to tell. He talked to me about these difficulties in dealing with these problems, about the pressures that she has often endured … as we see in the film.

Your film looks like a documentary, to discover that we are in a fiction. Why this choice?

Yes, because I come from the documentary. And then I really like reality cinema. As a spectator I like to believe it. Obviously I was inspired by the work of many people. Between the walls by Laurent Cantet dodge by Abdellatif Kechiche… they are excellent references for me on the subject.

Since this is my third fiction feature film, I have developed a working method to convince non-professionals to act, to direct them, not to let them act!

Your film is also interested in the difficulties encountered by educators and the director, struggling with various injunctions, in particular that of the right distance to have with these young people who are under their protection.

This distance question is fundamental and I wanted to ask it. We have created systems for the protection of minors that make the notion of protection such a priority that it prevails over everything else. Do we really ask ourselves the question about the needs of these young people, of the people we work with? More than protection, don’t these young people need affection, love? But that, unfortunately, we do not have the right to give them, it is forbidden.

These questions haunted me throughout my career as an educator and I really wanted to talk about them … which I do thanks to my film.

A few words about the title of the film The Miffamily in verlan

Amélie, who plays Alison in the film, used this expression regularly, with the impression that it was always a little ironic, even a little desperate. I took it as a provocation. I also took it as a way to question ourselves. As if we educators were asked if we would really love them, how their parents could have loved them. This impression is omnipresent in our relationships with these foster girls. By repeating this expression often, even during filming, Amélie gave me the idea of ​​the title.

Above all, don’t miss this film, which has already won numerous awards, including the Bayard d’Or for best film at the latest Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur.

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