Professional actresses play the social workers but actual women suffering from homelessness play, more or less, themselves in this feel-good French comedy hit about a shelter threatened with closure.
"A touchingly true chronicle of France's female underclass."—The Hollywood Reporter
For the homeless, a safe urban shelter can be the difference between hope and oblivion—even if the refuge is considered "illegal." This adaptation of a book by Claire Lajeunie follows the daily routines of a group of women who have fallen through the cracks of modern-day French society and the social workers who try to get them through each day with dignity. When the local government decides that the shelter, known as "L'Envol" ("The Takeoff)," is not sending enough people back into gainful employment, it is summarily shut down. However, two of the social workers—tough-as-nails Manu (Corinne Masiero) and the slightly naive Audrey (Audrey Lamy)—decide to keep L'Envol open in secret for as long as they can. There are no Eiffel Towers or idyllic cafes to liven up these streets; shot in a nameless city in northern France, the mise en scene here is perpetually gray and anonymous, illuminated solely by the vivid personalities of the women. Despite its grim subject, writer/director Louis-Julien Petit's Invisibles is still an uproarious comedy with many of the characters played by real homeless women, who inject the script with a riotous gallows humor and salacious wit that underscore the absurd predicament of this largely unseen, often desperate stratum of society.
Inspired by Roberto Benigni's Life Is Beautiful, Louis-Julien Petit wanted to make similar films at a young age, addressing serious subjects with a lighter approach. After several years acting as a director's assistant on feature films, Petit directed Discount (2013), a feature comedy about rebellious supermarket workers, followed by the thriller Carole Matthieu (2016). Petit returns to comedy-drama with Invisibles (2018), his third turn as a director and screenwriter.
Sponsored by Alliance Française de Seattle, In Memory of Tove Lund
- Original Language Title: Les Invisibles
- Director: Louis-Julien Petit
- Principal Cast: Audrey Lamy, Noemie Lvovsky, Corinne Masiero, Pablo Pauly, Deborah Lukumuena
- Country: France
- Year: 2018
- Running Time: 102 minutes
- Producer: Liza Benguigui
- Screenplay: Louis-Julien Petit, Marion Doussot, Claire Lajeunie
- Cinematographers: David Chambille
- Editors: Antoine Vareille, Nathan Delannoy
- Music: Laurent Perez Del Mar
- Website: Official Film Website
- Filmography: Carole Matthieu (2016); Discount (2014)
- Language: French
- Has Subtitles: Yes
- Format: DCP
- International Sales: Charades