The Ouistreham film in 5 anecdotes: an unforgettable adventure for the actresses of Caen

The Caen actresses of the film Ouistreham during the preview in Caen, in October 2021.
The Caen actresses of the film Ouistreham during the preview in Caen, in October 2021. (© Grégory Maucorps / Liberty)

the movie Ouistreham comes out this Wednesday, January 12, 2022 on the big screen. The vast majority shot in the Calvados, this film by Emmanuel Carrère is a free adaptation of the bestseller Ouistreham quay by Florence Aubenas, released in 2010.

The journalist had worked under a false identity for six months as a maintenance agent in Calvados and in the ferries of Ouistreham, before making a book.

I am very happy and impatient, we have been waiting for the film’s release for two years.

Emily Madeleine, one of the Caen actresses in the film.

Except Juliette Binoche, the five main actresses of the film are non-professional and from the agglomeration of Caen. They also insist on talking about a maintenance agent and not a cleaning lady. “Cleaning lady, it’s you and me, at home.” While a maintenance agent is a job, we get paid for it ”. Return on a magnificent adventure in five anecdotes.

1. The Ouistreham film at the initiative of Juliette Binoche

It is Juliette Binoche who is at the origin of the adaptation of Florence Aubenas’ book to the cinema. Very touched by this bestseller, the actress had called her to convince her. “If Emmanuel Carrère wants to adapt the book, I am not against”, then replied the writer. The director accepted the project while wishing that it would be non-professional actresses from Caen and maintenance agents who would take part in it for more authenticity.

Only Juliette Binoche surrounds this unprofessional casting. It was immediately unanimous with Patricia, Emily and Hélène, the Caen actresses.

Juliette was adorable. When we met him, we were waiting for him at the restaurant. She arrived disheveled, no makeup, that set the scene. She is a simple and humble woman. There were no barriers. She was always there for us on the set and guided us.

Emilie Madeleine

Same story for Patricia Prieur. “We dreaded the meeting, but it was not stuck. She gave us a lot of advice. We made her a chocolate cake for her birthday. And for the end of the shoot, she gave each of us a little gift ”.

2. Two actresses from Caen worked with Florence Aubenas

Among the five non-professional Caen actresses in the film, Evelyne Porée and Emily Madeleine are the only ones to have worked with Florence Aubenas in 2009: at the campsite for Evelyne and on the ferry for Emily. They also appear in the book.

I should have recognized her Florence because I knew who she was, but my brain wouldn’t. She told the truth of what we were going through but we didn’t know she was writing a book. It immediately merged with Florence, our friendship has remained ever since. She came to my wedding and was at my house last fall.

Evelyne Porée

3. Wild casting in Hérouville or in a garden!

Evelyne Porée and Emily Madeleine met in the film Ouistreham through Florence Aubenas. “One day, Florence comes to my house and says to me: I am bringing Emmanuel Carrère with me, the brother of Marina Carrère d’Encausse”, tells Evelyne. “I even tried it out in my garden on my birthday! She smiles.

Patricia Prieur still works as a maintenance agent in Hérouville at Legallais and had a wonderful adventure with the film Ouistreham.
Patricia Prieur still works as a maintenance agent in Hérouville at Legallais and had a wonderful adventure with the film Ouistreham. (© Grégory Maucorps / Liberty)

For her part, Hélène Lambert was spotted in her temp agency at the Grande Delle in Hérouville Saint-Clair, in May 2018. “I had come to submit my hours sheet. They gave me a wild casting. I was there in the right place at the right time! “. Patricia Prieur’s friends run a brasserie at Carrefour Lébisey in Hérouville. “They gave me Emmanuel Carrère’s business card, who came to eat at their place and was looking for cleaning ladies. I called in the evening at 8 pm without believing it and someone answered ”. After a test on Thursday, Patricia was called on Monday to validate her place in the film.

Evelyne, Emily, Patricia, Hélène and Léa were brought together by Emmanuel Carrère every Saturday in Caen for three months, between November 2018 and February 2019, to meet and tame. The director had them do workshops during this period.

It allowed us to get to know each other, to de-stress and to become friends. Emmanuel Carrère gave us little advice and got us used to playing together, because he wanted authenticity, that we speak with our own words.

Emilie Madeleine

“It’s a magnificent human adventure, because we have remained friends and we see each other at least twice a month”, adds Patricia Prieur.

The filming of the film Ouistreham took place mainly in Calvados: of course on the Côte de Nacre, as well as in Caen, Hérouville Saint-Clair, Merville-Franceville, Bavent or Fleury-sur-Orne. Scenes were also shot in Cherbourg and on the ferry between the Netherlands and England.

4. The steps of the Cannes red carpet

In July 2021, the team of the film Ouistreham went to the Croisette in Cannes. Indeed, the adaptation to the cinema of Quai de Ouistreham opened the Directors’ Fortnight. In the company of Juliette Binoche, Evelyne, Emily, Patricia, Hélène and Léa had the pleasure of mounting the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. “It was exceptional! We had this chance and people congratulated us, it was great ”, knows Emily Madeleine.

It was a great moment, magical. I would have climbed the stairs at least once in my life! We had an apartment together that overlooked the Croisette. We had been pampered, it’s a great memory.

Patricia Prieur

5. Preview with families and national release expected

In mid-October 2021, a preview of the film took place at the University of Caen, in the presence of the director Emmanuel Carrère and the Caen actresses, as well as their families. An important moment for this first. “We were very apprehensive, we had a stomach ache,” remembers Patricia Prieur. “My grandchildren told me that I was not beautiful with red hair in the movie and that they actually preferred me! My daughters’ messages made me happy ”.

If she hates herself on screen, Emily Madeleine has also been appeased by those close to her. “It went very well, my parents and my twin brother reassured me and only said positive things to me.” “Being in a movie at the cinema is crazy! », Slips Evelyne Porée.

The national release of the film this Wednesday, January 12, 2022 is a relief for the whole team. “We couldn’t wait for it to come out. We have been amazed at the start of the adventure, but we can’t wait to get the feedback, ”says Emily Madeleine. “This profession has existed since the dawn of time. We have the impression that this is something taboo when it is a job like any other. The book hardly changed anything. I hope that the film will change mentalities and that people will have more respect for the cleaners ”.

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