Being thrown down a flight of stairs, hit by a car or beaten up is everyday life for stuntwomen Virginie, Petra and Estelle. They talk about their extraordinary work, while we follow them during training sessions and on film sets in France and the US, as well as on family visits or at the gym. What does this all this pretend-violence do to their bodies and minds?
The women have to be all-rounders, so they practice fights in the park in high heels or falls with minimal protection. There is always a trade-off between the desire to perform as realistically as possible and their own boundaries. The scenes with burning cars or collisions are spectacular, but the roles in which they are beaten up are much harder to watch.
Usually they play the role of the victim, because few action movies have female heroes. It’s a shocking and fascinating realization: stuntwomen are hired to endure violence, while the task of their male colleagues is to inflict it.