In Charles de Gaulle’s France, while most students searched unsuccessfully for the beach under the cement of Paris’ cobblestones, a group of pregnant girls and adolescents have been committed to a catholic boarding school. Marianne is 19 years old and, as the other girls she lives with, she keeps a secret that must never leave the walls of the school. Each of the girls has her own story, one that has been silenced by their families, due to their social position or because abortion, illegal in France until 1975, is not a possible option.
The committing of pregnant girls and single mothers into convents is not something the film industry has forgotten. The documentary Convents of shame (Christopher Weber, 1999), The Magdalene Sisters (Peter Mullan, 2002) or Philomena (Stephen Frears, 2013) are only some of the numerous films that denounce the abuse, mistreatment and forced silence that thousands of girls and women were subjected to in these religious institutions, which were abundant in Europe for over 150 years. A reflective 2015 feature film, Les innocentes (Anne Fontaine), portrays this situation from another perspective. In Fontaine’s film, the pregnant women are nuns, the owners of the convent who, having being raped by soviet soldiers after the ending of the 2nd World War, decide to impose upon themselves the same rules that all the other “charity houses” offer, designed for morally irresponsible youth, such as those that star in the medium-length film Veil of Silence.
Julie Gourdain was born in Paris in 1986. She studied Film Theory at the Paris VII University. Thanks to an exchange program, she studied one year abroad at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. She followed up her studies with a Film Direction Master at ECAL/HEAD in Lausanne, Switzerland. Veil of Silence (Un grand silence) is her directorial debut.
Veil of Silence is part of the Official Section of the 9th edition of the International Medium-length Film Festival La Cabina that will be celebrated from the 3rd to the 13th of November.
A VEIL OF SILENCE | Julie Gourdain · France/Belgium · 2015 · 30 min