Directed by Louis-Julien Petit (France, 2018, 102 min.). Digital. French with English subtitles.
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 slipped 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 is not securing gainful employment for enough people, it is summarily shut down. However, two social workers—tough-as-nails Manu (Corinne Masiero) and the slightly naive Audrey (Audrey Lamy)—decide to keep the shelter 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 scène 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.
Adapted from a synopsis by the Seattle International Film Festival.
With English subtitles