Too Black to be French?

Director: Isabelle Boni-Claverie
Country: France
Year: 2015
Running Time: 52 min.
Language: French with English subtitles

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In 2010, offended by the racist comments against black people held by Jean Paul Guerlain on the France 2 TV news, Isabelle Boni-Claverie organized several demonstrations on the Champs Élysées, negotiated with the LVMH group and obtained a series of measures to promote diversity. However, this incident, which she documents in the film, left her with a bad taste. How is it that today, in France, this is still happening? In response to this question, using a first-person approach, the filmmaker leads an investigation. She invokes the model story of her grandparents, an interracial couple of the 1930s. Reflecting on her upper middle-class childhood, she probes the relationship between class and race. Not without humor, in the manner of: “You know you are black when…”, she asks would-be interlocutors to testify before the camera about the exasperations that they experience. Both personal and collective, the film does not hesitate to call existing policies into question.