LADIES / De plus belle

North American Premiere • Drama • France, 2017

DCP • 2.35 • Dolby 5.1 • Color • 98 min

Written and Directed by: Anne-Gaëlle Daval

Cinematography: Antoine Roche 

Film Editing: Frédéric Baillehaiche

Original Score: Alexis Rault                       

Produced by: Maxime Delauney, Romain Rousseau (Nolita Cinéma), Sylvain Goldberg, StudioCanal, France 2 Cinéma, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Cinéma

Cast: Florence Foresti (Lucie), Mathieu Kassovitz (Clovis), Nicole Garcia (Dalila), Jonathan Cohen (Frédéric), Olivia Bonamy (Manon), Josée Drevon (Yvonne)

International Sales: StudioCanal


Cancer survival is an established trope in film, but this empathetic debut feature tells the less familiar story of a woman trying to recover from her recovery. Comedian Florence Foresti shakes off her brash persona to inhabit the role of Lucie, a skittish and insecure single mother. Lucie’s breast cancer is in remission, but she left her self-esteem back in a hospital bed. Naturally she is dumbfounded when local lothario Clovis (Kassovitz) shows interest of the romantic sort. She can’t understand how anyone could love her. Then she meets Dalila, a vivacious dance teacher who knows what to do. Dalila convinces Lucie to enroll in a dance class tailored to women like her, a class that will culminate in a display of public nudity. Dispensing equal doses of touching intimacy and acerbic humor, De Plus Belle throws down a convincing challenge to conventional standards of feminine beauty.


If the themes of positive body image and questioning notions of beauty seem ambitious for a first film perhaps it’s because writer/director Anne-Gaëlle Daval had come to them in a roundabout way. Initially, Daval was motivated to write a script that would allow her to create cabaret costumes.  Since 2003, she has worked as costume designer for film and television. Daval was the costume supervisor for Kaamelott, the hit M6 comedy sendup of the King Arthur legend that ran from 2005 to 2009. After nearly 300 episodes of the show, she desperately wanted a break from all the armor and robes. But what began as a vehicle for cabaret soon evolved into a story about recovery and womanhood. Daval had expected to work with less established actors, so when Mathieu Kassovitz joined the cast, she rewrote the script to make his role more consequential.