Director Christophe Honoré still looks pained at the memory of the protests against gay marriage that rocked France seven years ago. The adoption of same-sex marriage in the country, a flagship policy that President François Hollande had campaigned on, was supposed to have been a smooth process. It became law in 2013, but only after a protracted backlash that saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets – more overall than the recent gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement.
“I realised there was still a cloud of suspicion hanging over gay citizens,” says Honoré, best known internationally for comedies and musical films including 2007’s Love Songs. “I felt hurt, but also responsible, because in my work I’d never thought that gay visibility might still be important. I felt like I’d failed,