Laure Calamy: “There are still women anchored in that archaic idea of ​​being rescued by a prince charming” | Pleasures | S Fashion


The French actress Laure Calamy (Orleans, 49 years old), is recognized for her role in the series Call My Agent! and the second feature film by Caroline Vignal, Vacation with you… and your wife, with which she won the César Award for best actress in 2021. Now, in her latest film, she plays Iris, a woman with a wonderful husband, two perfect daughters and a successful business, who when she turns 40 realizes that she something important is missing: an active sexual life. At that moment, she begins to plan how she can feel wanted again. The film is a 98-minute manifesto in favor of female sexual desire.

The idea for this comedy was born four years ago, when its director, Caroline Vignal, spoke at a party with a friend she had not seen for a long time and she confessed that her husband had left her after 20 years together. To get over the breakup, Vignal’s friend signed up for a dating app where she discovered that there was a world full of men who could feel sexual desire for her, something she had not experienced in a long time. The movie Iris, which premieres in Spain on May 31, is precisely about that search for sexual desire and how recovering it makes its protagonists feel alive again. As she passes through Spain, Calamy talks about sexual pleasure and what the process of interpreting the character of Iris has been like.

Director Caroline Vignal and actress Laure Calamy, during the filming of ‘Iris’.Julien Panié © CHAPKA FILMS – LA FILMERIE – FRANCE 3 CINEMA

Do you think women feel free to explore their sexuality?

It’s curious, because I have talked a lot about this topic with my friends and I have discovered that those who continue to think that it is a sin or feel guilty for feeling sexual desire or find it ugly to touch themselves is because they are anchored in that archaic idea of ​​wanting to be Sleeping Beauty and are waiting for their Prince Charming to rescue them. Many women are still very anchored in these patterns, but curiosity is awakening more and more.

But what about guilt?

Women are starting to get rid of the guilt. I think it’s time to reaffirm our sexuality without feeling judged. The wave of feminism has helped a lot to make this happen. However, I am not sure that we will ever free ourselves from this idea of ​​being judged completely, and I think it takes time and for men to also participate in this new construction of sexual desire without guilt.

Have you felt judged for experiencing sexual pleasure in your life?

It is a very personal question. Of course, I remember that when I was a child they told me that I was a failed man. I didn’t like dolls or dresses. I always wanted to be barefoot playing in the trees. Something of that has stayed with me in my life and the way in which I have discovered my sexual desire. I have always felt like the one calling the shots.

Do you think that women become invisible when it comes to sex with age?

In the case of Iris, what happens to her is that she closes herself in her role as a mother and forgets her sex life. Her motherhood becomes the place where she finds her value as a woman and locks herself in there. However, Iris is like a volcano that she has awakened and she begins to experience things that even when she was younger she had not dared. In cinema, fiction is increasingly used to talk about women’s sexuality.

A picture of the movie.

Hadn’t female sexuality reached the big screens?

Cinema is behind on this issue compared to series. In the series they have dared to go further in the theme of exploring women and their sexuality. For example, I think of a series like Girls, where that feminine point of view is shown, real bodies of young women who are not afraid to experiment with their sexuality. On the other hand, in movies, sex scenes continue to be presented from the point of view of male sexual fantasies. In this film we have tried to go further and make the sexual scenes look like what they are. We have to understand that the sexual act belongs to both women and men.

Do you think Iris is a reflection of what happens to most women?

Yes, without a doubt, it is a topic that must be talked about openly. At the beginning of the film, Iris does not have confidence in herself, but from that first meeting she has with that first man, who she does not like very much, she gains confidence and from there she feels alive again and becomes the teacher. of his own fiction. It is she who takes the lead of her pleasure and her sexuality and who decides how she wants to experience it, that is how it should always be.

What role do costumes play in representing Iris’s transformation in the film?

The wardrobe is essential. With the film’s costume designer, hairstylist and makeup artist, we tried to give it a classic, old-fashioned look that was very successful. But Iris’s wardrobe evolves as the character opens up, comes to life, regains her desire. Iris rejuvenates. It is clear that the clothes are part of the narrative thread of the story and show the liberation of the character.

What was the biggest challenge when playing Iris? Has the way she conceives female pleasure changed?

Iris has been a challenge in my career because of the choreography we did Its Raining Man and for trying to make the public believe that she really was a dentist, but with respect to the sex scenes, none. I am an actress who comes from the theater and I assume that my body is an instrument to tell what we are.