“Sage-homme”, illuminating comedy on an ultra-feminized profession
Wise man **
by Jennifer Devoldere
French film, 1 h 40
With the strength of desire, Leopold had drawn his future: a fine career as a doctor to save lives, like that of his mother, who died of cancer when he was 8 years old, could not have. But too far in the ranking of the entrance examination, he must choose between physiotherapist, dentist and midwife, training for which he opts before, he hopes, to return to medicine by a bridge.
Congratulated by his family before announcing his results, Léopold gets caught up in a lie: he hides his studies at the school of midwifery where he clearly displays his lack of interest. Nathalie, with her assertive personality, supervises her internship and does not hear it that way.
Jennifer Devoldere reverses the issue of unequal access to work by showing the difficulty for a man to find his place in an ultra-feminized profession, where only 4.5% of the workforce is male. The filmmaker explores the confrontation of two worlds: the very masculine universe tinged with sexism of the student, who lives with his father and his three younger brothers, and the sphere of midwives, between the medical and the intimate feminine.
A realistic picture of midwifery
Jennifer Devoldere, who devoted time to observation and documentation, delivers a very realistic and enlightening comedy on this profession “where there is more good news than bad”, according to a fellow student of Leopold. It also shows the difficulties, between lack of resources and pressure from the administration.
Certainly the story unfolds without great surprise, but the accuracy of the painting and its performers hits the mark. Impressive by nature, Melvin Boomer subtly goes from scowling student to apprentice midwife (“woman” since this word designates the patient and not the caregiver, but the profession is declined in the masculine), soothing with future mothers . Karin Viard excels once again in a character of a rough woman who reveals herself to be of great humanity.
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