“All the things I couldn’t say.” Madame delineates the complexities of repressed sexuality and the enforcement of gender in a dominating heteronormative, patriarchal Swiss family.
Stéphane Riethauser delivers an impassioned love letter to his late beloved Grandmother, taking us on his personal journey from infancy to self-discovery. Riethauser subtly highlights the parallels of his own and his Grandmother’s traditional upbringing in Swiss society that confined them both against their natural non-conformist attributes.
Madame presents us with a vibrant and bitterly nostalgic scrapbook of archival footage, candid photographs, and extracts from Riethauser’s personal diary entries containing explicit drawings and his private adolescent thoughts. We learn of his alter ego Ritor and his accompanying inner vices. Reithauser is beautifully blunt and honest in exploring his perspective on sexuality, gender, careers and relationships. He accomplishes this in a strikingly intimate manner, anchoring us in his experiences.
Riethauser’s film is brave in its transparency, He entangling us in his complexities, revealing his true authentic self. This explosively passionate and genuine account of his journey to self-acceptance and expression, is entirely human at its core.
By Orla Jones BA Film and Screen Studies, London College of Communication
Madame is streaming on Oct 31 & Nov 1.