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The protagonist, a shameless male chauvinist, gets a taste of his own medicine when he wakes up in a world dominated by women in I Am Not An Easy Man, a thought-provoking Netflix original French-language film (with English subtitles).
I have recently developed this fascination for watching international cinema. Netflix makes it possible, and is easy with English subtitles or dubbing in English. It feels like travelling the world, experiencing different cultures, and meeting various characters while sitting in the comfort of your living room. For this new-found interest, I have watched quite a few international movies by now but this one that I accidentally & thankfully stumbled over, and am going to talk about, is very interesting. Not only is it a feminist movie, but is directed by a woman French filmmaker Eleonore Pourriat, who also wrote the film herself!
In I Am Not An Easy Man (released worldwide on April 13, 2018), the male protagonist is Damien (Vincent Elbaz), a man who would qualify as a MCP (male chauvinist pig). He is not exactly a creep or a criminal, but a womanizer and a flirt, whom any and all women would loathe.
One day, Damien gets banged on his head and is knocked out. When he wakes up, the world has turned upside down. Unlike the patriarchy that he has lived in all his life and is so comfortably used to, the world is now a matriarchy where women are in charge, and men are subjugated to subservient positions and dress to entice their hedonistic bosses. He is forced to deal with the new ‘gender-reversed’ world and meanwhile, he falls for a headstrong writer Alexandra (Marie-Sophie Ferrante).
In this hilarious film, the unsaid rules of a male-dominant society go overturned. The social gap between men and women has been there since times immemorial, and even though time and again we talk about ‘gender equality’, what happens when we turn the tables in real? This movie makes you think what it would be really like if women had all the power. It satirically touches all aspects of life like familial roles, sex, fashion, jobs, and general behaviour and attitudes of people in the reversed-world.
The film does not try to preach about how all men and women should conduct themselves, but it successfully addresses the prejudices many people hold, with the men saying they just want to be treated equally.
The movie illustrates the experiences of almost every woman; being pointed at for her dressing, being ogled at in work places and on the streets, feeling vulnerable by and large, in situations that could be perfectly okay for men. This is established throughout the movie since men get played down, face discrimination, get selfish and dominating sex, intellectual dismissal, ogling, mocking, whistles, catcalling and harassment, which is pretty much a norm in an ordinary woman’s life in the real world.
I Am Not An Easy Man is a provocative film that stimulates thinking. Not only do the audiences enjoy watching it, they also gain awareness and realize more deeply the gender discrimination that is still so prevalent in the modern world.
Now, why do viewers find it so hard to digest when a woman holding a powerful position wears a suit, drinks beer or passes casual sexist remarks? Objectification of women has been the norm, so why does objectification of men seem so weird? One of the most interesting scenes in the film is a conversation in which a very interesting question is asked, “Shouldn’t men be grateful for their ‘special treatment’ in society, like receiving gifts and having doors held open for them?”
The best way to make someone understand your struggles is to put them in your shoes. This message is emphasised in the movie – in one instance it says, “You can’t realize if you haven’t been there”! Despite the predictability of the movie, it is definitely worth watching.
I suggest you watch this movie with the men in your lives; boyfriend, husband and male friends. The discussion afterwards is guaranteed to be exciting!
A full time professional based in Toronto, Canada. Takes keen interest in women issues. Bibliophile, cinephile, wanderer, seeker, nature addict, dreamer, a novice wordsmith and a hopeless romantic.
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