In “CE2”, the film by Jacques Doillon, questions surrounding the casting of children


In front of the camera sits a little girl 8 years old, white sweater and shoulder-length black hair, intimidated. In front of her, invisible on this video recording dated January 29, 2020, the casting director launches her on the theme of bullying at school: “Tell me about when you say you know ,” asks the cinema professional.

School bullying isn’t very nice, replies the little girl. We are often humiliated, we lose friends. Because those who harass you can make you believe that you are bad (…) .

– Has this ever happened to you?

Yes. Sexual harassment.

You can tell me ?

I don’t really want to.

Was it at school?

Yes, but I don’t really want to talk about it.

Let me insist a little bit because this is exactly what happens to the characters in the film.

All right. Sexual harassment?

What happens at school?

Yes, there is a girl, she was quite aggressive. But I don’t want to talk about it.

Tell me why.

Because it was a very difficult phase for me. »

“How was she mean to you?” »

Despite the child’s suppressed cries, the casting director asks again: “Was that last year?

Yes.

– But you know, sometimes it feels good to talk about it to get rid of it. »

After a long silence, the schoolgirl implores: “I don’t want to talk about it at all. Please. » Aware of the trouble, the casting director broadens the discussion on the phenomenon of harassment. But, three minutes later, she returns to the child’s personal experience with “that girl from last year” : “How mean was she to you? And no one saw him in the class? » The little non-actress ends up saying that she was threatened by her comrade, before engaging in a long improvisation exercise, during which we see her twisting in her chair, her voice gone, holding back a few tears and asking a glass of water to recover.

This disturbing video raises questions, because the child’s wishes do not seem to have been respected. It is taken from tests carried out with children aged 7 or 8 for the casting of the film CE2 by Jacques Doillon, i.e. several hours of recording dating from the beginning of 2020, to which Le Monde had access. Their raw viewing questions the way in which the cinema sector can approach minors who are sometimes very young and vulnerable, inevitably impressed by the system deployed around them and the promises of an industry that shines. What place is guaranteed for their consent and their privacy? How can we avoid inflicting psychological violence on them?

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