When we think of the big city underworld, the first image that comes to our mind is made up of ugly, sinister and heartless thugs. But what if they told you that this time, at the head of a big drug ring in the French capital, there will be a sweet and petite fifty-year-old lady? Paris is known to be one of the multicultural cities where we find all kinds of ethnic groups, and Jean-Paul Salomé, the director who directed this detective comedy, he is fully aware of this, and thus shows us his point of view on women in charge of crime. To assist Jean-Paul Salomé in writing this film, we have the screenwriter Antoine Salomé. In the review by The Godmother – Paris has a new queen, today we will talk to you not only about the particularities of the film and the social complaints that will be shown to us through the humorous use of the characters, but also about the veiled message that is told to us: the difficulties of those who come from a foreign country and no longer want to survive but start living.
Based on the award-winning French novel La Daronne by Hannelore Cayre, sees as the protagonist Patience Portefeu. In the film version, which won the Jacques-Deray Award 2021 for Best French Detective Film, Patience is played by Marvelous Isabelle Huppert, who recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award, while the role of police commissioner Philippe is played by Hippolyte Girardot. The film produced by Kristina Larsen And Jean-Baptiste Dupont and distributed by I Wonder Pictures will arrive in Italian cinemas on October 14, 2021.
Plot, characters and curiosities
Patience Portefeu is an Arab-French translator who works for the police in wiretapping between Morocco and France, to stop drug trafficking in Paris. During an interception Patience understands that the pusher who has been intercepted is the son of the nurse who is taking care of the mother (Liliane Oak) in the nursing home, and decides to cover him up by warning him of the impending arrest. So the woman, given the large amount of drug found, thinks of selling it on her own, becoming part of a big tour all over Paris. With a good disguise and with the name of Mama Weed it will create its own crime network.
The center of the story is the respectability, against which the protagonist fights with sarcasm. The habit of leading a comfortable life thanks to her husband’s affairs led her to seek other ways to maintain this well-being, even after his early death; the affairs he carried out in life are unspecified and let the viewer understand their illicit nature. And that’s why Patience, as soon as she gets the chance, will enter the criminal world and become one the Godmother. The many masks that Patience is forced to carry with her in her daily life, explain to the viewer the reason for her actions, giving great importance to the path and the choices made. Patience’s difficulty in living a “legal” life like everyone else arises from her disagreement with social differences, which will lead her to take actions that anyone would deem unfair. She is certainly a light character, sometimes clumsy and sensitive to what happens around her, the nonchalance with which she solves problems makes everything very humorous.
The character of Philippe, the police commissioner in love with her, is exactly the antithesis of the protagonist, in fact we are shown through him the opposite of everything Patience thinks and does, Philippe chooses not to see some of her actions and prefers to overlook them, understanding the harmless nature of the woman. The characters of Scotch tape (Rachid Guellaz) And Chocapic (Mourad Boudaoud) that together with the protagonist form the “comic” trio of the story.
Two sides of the same coin
We come to the great denunciation that this story brings with it. The Godmother, is a film full of veiled meanings, under-texts and sarcastic jokes full of morality. Not surprisingly, we are shown a reality in which emancipated women, having experienced firsthand the difficulties of emigrating from their own country and rebuilding a life from scratch, face the events of life. All this leads the viewer to consider them as gods heroines. The director deepens the theme by adding other points of view, he inserts a character similar to Patience but of a different ethnicity, Madame Fo (Jade-Nadja Nguyen), the Chinese neighbor with a past similar to that of the protagonist. These will be so similar to the point that Patience defines it “My Asian copy”.
In short, a grotesque story, with scattered moments of comedy, a slight suspense and a happy ending that brings with it a great moral. Finally, Patience represents the two sides of the same coin: one is the mask of the “normal” woman who leads a normal life in the eyes of people, and the other is the “illegal” woman who has no masks.