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"Emily in Paris", or the revenge of actresses over 50


Playing a sexy and caustic French boss in "Emily in Paris" not only allowed Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu to relaunch her career. At 59, the Franco-Italian almost eclipses Lily…

On the platform, we can see her both in "Ten percent" (for which Cédric Klapisch had called on her when her career was at a standstill), "Emily", which will launch her internationally, and the final season of "The Crown."

In “Emily in Paris” – whose season 3 is broadcast on Wednesday – she plays Sylvie Grateau, a director of a French luxury marketing agency who reluctantly welcomes Emily Cooper from the United States.

A character infused with American clichés about the Parisienne: chic, thin, disdainful, perched on endless heels, cigarette in mouth.

But under her air of a brittle boss and femme fatale, the character comes to tease the injunctions of society with regard to women over 50.

"The underlying message of the series is that no matter the age and the history of people, Darren (Star, creator of the series and cult "Sex and the City") advocates a certain freedom of characters," Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu told AFP.

"These characters say that you have to break certain labels, that people are multifaceted, you don't have to judge them," she adds.

In season 2, Sylvie Grateau begins a love affair with a photographer younger than her and suffers a remark from a waitress who takes her for her mother.

“In season 3, we will see more of her vulnerability,” says the actress.

The sex life of women in their fifties is currently on the screen with films where Emma Thompson ("Mes rendez-vous avec Leo") and Cécile de France ("La passagère") establish relationships with younger men.


"Let's stop showing only young women as objects of desire", confided Cécile de France recently to Elle magazine.

For Philippine Leroy-Beaulieu, however, the series and the characters should not be over-interpreted.

One day, "Darren asked me if we could learn from French women their freedom. Compared to American women who are more prisoners of certain codes, we have this reputation... which is not necessarily true", says -she.

Cliché or not, her character captivated Yvonne Hazelton, an American author who lived in Paris and wrote about the city and the series.

"Sylvie's character is the most fascinating; she is inspiring," she told AFP.

In addition to her sense of chic, "she is competent and masters every situation even in the face of problems".

While "American women are generally more conservative, it's fair to say that many middle-aged women behave" like Sylvie in terms of romantic relationships.

“For a woman like me who divorced in her early fifties, the feeling of freedom that we feel is enormous”, further specifies the author.

Nominated for the César in 1986 for her role in "Three men and a basket", the one who had started her career with Roger Vadim, became the incarnation of the Parisian, while paradoxically she had hated Paris in the past.

Having grown up in Rome alongside her actor father and her mother who worked for the Dior house, she had returned to Paris after their divorce and often spoke of the humiliations of her high school friends who made fun of her level of French.

Today, she revels in the role of the Frenchwoman who makes life a bit difficult for the ingenuous American.

"There is an America who, like Emily, wants to conquer the world and knows how to do everything better than the world but she comes up against someone like me who says to her: + I am Asterix and I will not let you in on my territory", she smiles.

© 2022 AFP

Source: france24

All news articles on 2022-12-19

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