Five people whose faces are malformed or severely disfigured have their photos taken in the famous Parisian portrait studio Harcourt, where all of France’s biggest stars have been immortalized at one time or another. In everyday life the five subjects try to stay as inconspicuous as possible, but here they make sure they look their best for the photos. It gives them a chance to redefine the way they look at themselves and how they are looked at. The result is confronting, for both the protagonists and viewers alike.
Behind the scenes they talk candidly about their otherness, about preconceptions, and about the process of acceptance. One young woman, who was shot in the face during the attack on the Parisian rock venue Bataclan, talks about the reconstructive surgery she has had to undergo and a humiliating experience at a supermarket checkout. By going into detail about their struggles, they force us to reflect on our own preconceptions and insensitivities. A man whose jaw has been destroyed by cancer concludes that it is not he who is the “monster”: “The real monstrosity is the rules society sets.”
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