French banned from 'Mona Lisa smile' on photo IDs

Oliver Gee
Oliver Gee - [email protected]
French banned from 'Mona Lisa smile' on photo IDs
You can forget a smile like this on your passport photo.

A Paris court has ruled that the French can't do a "Mona Lisa" smile on their ID cards, after a disgruntled Frenchman fought for his fellow citizens' right to be cheerful.


The Paris Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday that the French would have to have a "neutral face" on their passport photos. 
This means, the court said, that "the requirement of a neutral expression excludes by its very nature any kind of expression like a smile". 
The case began when a French civil servant decided to try and change the law "and give the depressed nation a morale boost".
After getting his own photo rejected by authorities, the Frenchman claimed that he wasn't actually smiling and actually had a neutral face - it's just that the corners of his mouth were raised.
The lawyer who took on the court of appeals had said that allowing a smile would give France's morale a boost. 
"Is it really responsible, in a depressed France, that the authorities forbid the French from smiling?" the lawyer said. 
While the Frenchman may have lost the case, he can at least be glad to have prompted a few smiles across France. 
"For several days now French people have been contacting me to show their support," he told the L'Express newspaper.
"Now I have an army of smiles at my side."


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