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CULTURE

Miss France organisers taken to labour court over height and topless photo rules

French feminists have taken advantage of the country's strict labour laws to file complaints of discrimination against the Miss France organisation.

Miss France organisers taken to labour court over height and topless photo rules
Miss Ile-de-France Diane Leyre reacts as she is crowned Miss France 2022 (Photo by Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP)

There’s only one job where the advert states you have to be over 1m 70 tall and have never been photographed topless – and this week the French labour court is set to rule over whether that is discriminatory. 

Specifically, the Bobigny court was asked to determine whether Miss France contestants are employees or volunteers – a question which was raised by feminist group Osez-le-Feminisme (Dare to be Feminist) in October 2021. The group targeted the beauty pageant organisation Miss France – along with the television channel that airs the programme, Endemol Production – in its complaint.

According to Osez-le-Feminisme, which is representing three former Miss France contestants, the competition breaches France’s labour laws, as contestants had previously not been given work contracts for their time participating in the television show. 

READ MORE: New Miss France insists she’s a feminist

Essentially, if contestants are to be viewed as full employees – with employment contracts – then the labour code would apply – specifically, the legal framework forbidding companies from “discriminating on the basis of morals, age, family status or physical appearance” a lawyer for Osez-le-Féminisme, Violaine De Filippis-Abate, told RMC radio.

By these standards, some of the requirements that competitors with the Miss France competition are expected to follow, such as size requirements – a height of at least 1m70 – and expectations regarding personal behaviour, such as not having been photographed nude, could be ruled discriminatory under French labour law.

The verdict was set to be announced on November 8th, but the question will linger on until November 18th after judges were unable to reach a decision. 

After the original complaint was filed in October 2021, the Miss France organisation announced it would make some changes, including removing the rule that candidates must be under 24 years old, opting to make it so that anyone over the age of 18 could apply.

Alexia Laroche-Joubert, the head of the Miss France organisation, told Le Figaro in June 2022 that “from now on” candidates must be “over 18 years old, and at least 1.70 metres tall – because they wear designer dresses and a minimum height is required – and that they be female in their civil status, which was already the case before.”

The organisation also removed the requirement that contestants be unmarried.

In addition to charges of discrimination, Osez-le-Féminisme is also tackling the working conditions for contestants with Miss France. 

“The company makes a profit on the exploitation of women,” the spokesperson for the organsiation, Alyssa Ahrabare, told Actu Seine-Saint-Denis.

While the Miss France company agreed in December 2021 to create three-day work contracts for the 29 participants in the national contest, the feminist group hoped to place the spotlight on the labour that Miss France contestants provide during the weeks of preparation ahead of the show.

READ MORE: Miss France contestants to get employment contracts for the first time

“As soon as they are chosen in the regional contest, the candidates represent the brand Miss France with interviews, shows and time constraints,” said Ahrabare.

As for the Miss France competition – the 2023 winner will be crowned on December 17th, 2022.

Despite regular controversies, the contest remains very popular in France – the final is screened on primetime TV and regularly attracts audiences in the millions. 

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CULTURE

The English-subtitled French film screenings for December you don’t want to miss

As the film club that screens French films with English subtitles celebrates its seventh birthday, here are the movies you will want to see and where you can see them:

The English-subtitled French film screenings for December you don't want to miss

For the past seven years, Lost in Frenchlation, a company that regularly screens French films with English subtitles, has given anglophones living in Paris – and more recently across France – the opportunity to enjoy French cinematic culture.

Lost in Frenchlation has also expanded out beyond Paris, with screenings in Charente and Normandy this month. 

Here are the screenings across France that you will want to take note of:

Paris

Trois Nuits par Semaine – In this film, the main character, 29-year-old Baptiste meets a young drag queen, Cookie Kunty, and becomes mesmerised, even though he is already in a relationship. The film shows Baptise becoming immersed in Cookie’s world, and eventually the start of their relationship.

Cineuropa described the film as “conveying to perfection the vibrancy of this incredibly intense yet wistfully painful world” and that the complex film is likely “to divide audiences.”

The screening will take place on Friday, December 2nd at 8pm, with pre-drinks beginning at 7pm. Following the film, moviegoers are encouraged to stick around for a Q&A with the director.

It will take place at L’Entrepôt Cinema (7 Rue Francis de Pressensé) in Paris’ 14th arrondisement. Tickets are available online for €7 for those eligible for reductions, and €8.50 for all others.

Pétaouchnock – Set in the Pyrenees mountains, this film is about two friends seeking to pull themselves up from rock bottom. While trekking on horseback, the duo enjoy an unforgettable experience. Described by Le Parisien as having a “well-seasoned cast with a good dose of comedy.”

The evening will also celebrate Lost in Frenchlation’s seventh anniversary, with giveaways and stand up comedy. Join the group at 7pm for drinks, and enjoy English-language comedy from Sarah Donnelly and Luke Thompson at 7:30 before the show goes on at 8pm.

Taking place at the Club de l’Étoile in Paris’ 8th arrondisement (14 Rue Troyon), on Friday, December 9th, you can find tickets HERE. Reduced tickets will be available at €13, and regular tickets are available for €15.

Petaouchnok_TLR-Pulsar_H264_HD-239_24p_WEB20_EN_20221020-M141.mp4 from Lost in Frenchlation on Vimeo.

Les Miens – a film by the director Roschdy Zem, Les Miens is a personal portrait of a family resembling the directors’ own. The film portrays a relationship between brothers – Moussa known for being kind – and Ryad – a TV presenter known for being egotistical. However, when Moussa suffers from serious brain trauma he becomes almost unrecongisable, and his family relationships are forever altered.

The screening will take place on December 12th at 8:30pm, with pre-drinks starting at 7pm. Moviegoers are welcome to stay after the screening for a Q&A with one of the film’s actors.

The show will take place at Cinéma du Panthéon, in Paris’ 5th arrondisement (13 rue Victor Cousin). You can get reduced-price tickets for €6.50 and regular priced tickets for €8.50. For this film, tickets will only be available at the door, but you can make a pre-reservation HERE

Simone, le voyage du siècle –  a biopic about one of France’s most prominent women, Simone Veil, this film will take audiences through the renowned feminist and holocaust survivor’s early childhood, as well as her most pivotal political battles. Vogue has called it one of “the most anticipated films of the year.” 

The Women of Paris walking tour will also be organising an event before the start of the screening, at 5pm. You can reserve tickets for €15 at this website.

As for the screening itself, it will take place on December 16th at 8pm. All are welcome to join in pre-drinks at 7pm. 

The film will be shown at the Luminor Hotel de Ville cinema, located at 20 Rue du Temple in Paris’ 4th arrondisement. 

You can find reduced price tickets (€7) and regular tickets (€11) HERE.

 
Les Engagés – Running a little over an hour and a half, this film shares the story of David, a man who ends up helping a young migrant who is being pursued by the police. Based on a true story, the film takes place in Briançon, a town in the Alps near France’s border with Italy, and tells the tale of how David commits himself to helping the young migrant, at all costs.

This screening will also be in partnership with the association “Serve the City Paris.” The only English-speaking NGO in Paris, Serve the City Paris has grown from its start in 2012 as a small circle to become a mobile organisation with over 700 volunteers.

The organisation will be conducting a Christmas fundraiser at the screening, where they will accept money, in addition to physical donations (with priority placed on sleeping bags and tents large enough for for two to four people) for those in need. You can learn more HERE

Taking place on December 22nd, moviegoers are welcome to enjoy pre-drinks at 7pm before the 8pm screening at L’Arlequin in Paris’ 6th arrondisement (76 Rue de Rennes)

Charente

Those looking to enjoy a French film with English subtitles in Charente are in luck this month. The theatre is located in Marthon, about half an hour from Angouleme by car).

Couleurs de l’incendie – An adaptation of the 1927 saga, the film tells the story of Madeleine, a young heiress who must take over a financial empire after the death of her father, Marcel Péricourt.

You can find the listing for the film on the theatre’s Facebook Page. It will be screened December 10th at 5:30pm. If you need to contact the theatre for any reason, you can reach them at [email protected]

Caen 

English-speaking fans of French cinema in Normandy can rejoice, as Lost in Frenchlation has also expanded to Caen. Here is what is in store for December;

Saint Omer – In this film by Alice Diop, a young novelist has her convictions called into question as she attends the trial of  Laurence Coly, a woman accused of killing her 15-month-old daughter, who drowned at a beach in northern France. As the trial rolls forward, the novelist is struck by the words of the accused and the witness’ testimonies.

The screening will take place in partnership with the Café des images, which is dedicated to giving the international community in Normandy an opportunity to experience France’s cinema culture.

Taking place on Wednesday, December 14th, moviegoers are invited to join for a pre-screening get-together at Café Polyglotte at 7pm. The screening will begin at 9pm.

The theatre itself is located at 4 square du théâtre, 14200 Hérouville-Saint-Clair

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