Our 1st Movie Night: talking about French-Portuguese integration// Nosso primeiro Movie Night: falando sobre a integração luso-francesa

a-gaiola-dourada

One of our missions in FAJDP, the Federation of Youth Associations of the district of Porto, where we are volunteering, is the organization of one event per month in the Story Board Café, located in its building. We welcomed that mission with enthusiasm and decided to go for a Movie Night for the first one, which took place last Tuesday night.

In order to find the right movie we asked around some advice to some Portuguese friends of ours and all of them recommended “A Gaiola Dourada” (the Gilded Cage in English), a French-Portuguese comedy about a family of Portuguese immigrants living in Paris, which was a big hit in both France and Portugal in 2013.

Uma das nossas missões como voluntárias na Federação das Associações Juvenis do Distrito do Porto é a organização dum evento cada mês no Storyboard Café. Para o nosso primeiro evento decidimos fazer um Movie Night com um filme famoso em Portugal. Várias pessoas recomendaram-nos “ A Gaiola Dourada” (2013), um filme de comédia luso-francês, que trata duma família de emigrantes portugueses em Paris e que teve muito sucesso em França e em Portugal.


The Gilded Cage (2013), by Ruben Alves

A working-class Portuguese couple, Jose and Maria Ribeiro, living as concierges in a very fancy neigbourhood of Paris receives an unexpected inheritance and has to go back to Portugal to get it. But, they have become so indispensable that their employers and friends won’t let them go.  

As the Hollywood Reporter underlines: « The simple but clever paradox at the heart of the screenplay is that the Ribeiros have worked hard for three decades to provide for their family, but that the result of their efforts, namely that they’ve become completely essential for their employers, actually prevents them from potentially enjoying an early retirement. »

Maria e José Ribeiro são um casal de emigrantes portugueses que vivem há mais de 30 anos na sua casa de porteira de um prédio situado num luxuoso bairro de Paris. Maria é a porteira e José é um trabalhador da construção civil. Certo dia, José recebe a notícia de que irá ser herdeiro de uma grande herança do seu irmão que vivia em Portugal. Mas há um grande entrave: a família Ribeiro tornou-se imprescindível, e todos os amigos decidem arranjar um plano à sua maneira para que ela fique.


porto-movie-nightTo begin, let’s underline the fact that our first event went pretty well: we started the night with a glass of wine in Ribeira, the pop-corns were nice, the film started almost in time, the room was full, we heard most people laugh a few times, and the audience was still awake enough to ask some questions during the conversation after the movie! We are now going to prepare out next event, a Turkish Warm-Up and we hope to see you there!

However this article’s main objective is not self-satisfaction but rather to share what we learned and discovered about Portuguese immigrants in France thanks to this event. First, let’s starts with some basic elements about the characteristics of Portuguese immigration in France:

Antes de mais, sublinhamos o facto que o evento correu bastante bem: começámos a noite com um copo de vinho na Ribeira, as pipocas eram boas, o filme começou quase no tempo e ouvimos rir a maioria das pessoas! Agora já estamos a preparar o nosso próximo evento, um Turkish Warm-Up, não se esqueçam!

A few dates and figures about Portuguese immigration in France

HOW MANY? According to the French sociologist Michèle Tribalat, in 2011 there were around 1.5 million people that are Portuguese or with Portuguese origins in France, which represents 2.7% of the French population under 60 years-old.

WHEN? Marie Christine Volovitch-Tavarès, a historian specialized in the field of the portuguese immigration in France, distinguished 3 periods

  • 1916-1931: The first wave. The first immigration wave was due to the first world war. The first political refugees arrived after the 1926’s military coup d’état.
  • 1930-1956: The weak years. A lot of Portuguese went back to their homeland during the 1930’s due to the economic and political crisis in France.
  • 1957-1974: The Portuguese, the biggest group of immigrants in France. With the important economic and industrial growth a lot of workers were needed in France. Most of Portuguese immigrants came from the northern and rural Portugal. 

WHERE? Most Portuguese immigrants settled down in urbanized and industrialized parts of France: A lot of them came in the Parisian region, and lived in slums there during several years in the 1960’s.

Alguns valores e datas sobre a emigração portuguesa em França

QUANTOS? Segundo a socióloga Michele Tribalat, em 2011 havia cerca 1.5 Milão pessoas de Portugal ou com origens portuguesas.

QUANDO? A historiadora francesa Marie-Christine Volovitch-Tavarès estabelece 3 períodos diferentes :

  • 1916-1931: A primeira onda. O primeiro fluxo importante foi causado pela Primeira Guerra Mundial. Os primeiros refugiados políticos chegaram a partir do golpe militar em 1926.
  • 1930-1956: Os anos ocos. Muitos emigrantes portugueses voltaram durante a crise económica e política dos anos 30.
  • 1957-1974: Os Portugueses, o maior grupo de imigrantes em França. Por causa do importante crescimento económico e industrial, a França precisava de muitos trabalhadores. A maior parte dos emigrantes eram das partes rurais do Norte de Portugal.

ONDE? Principalmente nas mais urbanizadas e industrializadas partes de França. Durante os anos 60, muitos emigrantes estavam a viver em bairros de lata, perto de Paris.

The photograph Gérald Bloncourt witnessed Portuguese immigration in France during the 1950’s and 1960’s. Here are some of his pictures that have been shown in the Contemporary Art of Lisbon in 2008.

In line with Story Board Café’s habits we wanted to have a small talk after the movie, with people who had a similar experience: growing up in France with Portuguese origins. Obviously, most of them are still in France but we managed to meet 3 French-Portuguese girls living in Porto or nearby who agreed to share their experience with us and the audience: 

  • Cynthia, French teacher, is now living in her family’s village near Aveiro. Her maternal grand-parents immigrated to France when Portugal was still a dictatorship. Her mother went back to Portugal briefly and married a Portuguese man who quickly decided to immigrate to France himself. Cynthia grew up in a town in the center of France and decided recently to spend one year in Portugal to rediscover her roots. Her parents speak mostly French at home but often mix both languages.
  • Mélanie, Erasmus in Porto. She was born in Portugal and arrived in France when she was a child. She grew up in Paris, near Montmartre, a fancy neighborhood, and, thus, her experience is quite similar to the one presented in the Gilded Cage. Her parents speak Portuguese at home almost all the time and her family is used to come to Portugal every summer.
  • Amanda, Erasmus in Porto. Her father is from Portugal but her mother is fully French. She’s used to come to Portugal every summer but does not speak fluently Portuguese.

Além de mostrar o filme nós organizámos uma pequena conversa com as 3 raparigas luso-francesas para que elas partilhassem as suas experiências.

  • A Cynthia está a viver na aldeia da sua família, perto de Aveiro. Seus avós emigraram em França quando Portugal ainda era uma ditadura. A sua mãe voltou para Portugal mas o marido dela rapidamente decidiu emigrar de volta para França também. A Cynthia cresceu numa cidade pequena no centro da França e decidi passar um ano em Portugal para conhecer mais o seu país de origem.
  • A Mélanie, uma Erasmus no Porto: Ela nasceu em Portugal e chegou em França quando era uma criança. Ela cresceu em Paris, perto de Montmartre, um bairro bastante rico. Portanto a experiência dela foi similar ao filme. Os seus pais falam português em casa e a sua família vai a Portugal todos os Verões.

3-fillesautre

 

The Gilded Cage: full of clichés, yes, but matching the reality

The Gilded cage was very successful and generally appreciated among the French-Portuguese community. One thing that is often underlined is that, indeed, it’s a comedy with a lot of clichés but that they are based on truth and resonate with the experience of a large part of this community. Ruben Alves, the director and scenarist, knows what he’s talking about: his parents were Portuguese concierges.

In a French news website the sociologist Jorge de Portugal Branco noted: 

« It is always a cliché to invest what 1.2 million people have lived. Not all the Portuguese were construction workers or concierges but there are some things that match the life of the community:  the fado, the Porto wine that you give to French when you get back from holidays, the dream to buy a Porsche. There is also a king of paternalism from the French which has sometimes been hurting for those immigrants.”

Melanie, Cynthia and Amanda said more or less the same thing when one girl asked them if the movie was not exaggerated:

It’s pretty much it. Yes it’s full of clichés but we are full of clichés. My mother was a cleaning lady, my father a construction worker. The apartment’s decoration? It’s my house!”

The movie also talks about the clichés that French have about Portuguese immigrants: cleaning lady, construction workers, hairy girls with a mustache, the accent (with a lot of “chhh”). The 3 girls underlined the fact that not all French people are like the snobbish / paternalistic bourgeois we see on the film, but Mélanie recognized some behaviors that she had to face grewing up in a fancy neighbourhood in Paris when her mother was a cleaning lady. 

In France, in which people from diverse countries and regions of the world (Maghreb, Portugal, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Eastern Europe) have been immigrating for several decades, a lot of humorists talk about the specificities of growing up between two countries and cultures. About the French-Portuguese community, the most famous ones are Ro and Cut, a duo posting humoristic videos on Youtube since 2009. Ro, Rodolphe, is from Portugal and Cut, Mohamed, is actually from Algeria. Their videos are mostly famous in France but also in Portugal.

A Gaiola Dourada, cheio de clichés, sim, mas perto da realidade

“A Gaiola Dourada” foi muito apreciado na comunidade luso-francesa. A maior parte reconheceu-se nesta família. Ruben Alves, o director e argumentista do filme, conhece bem o assunto, ele tem pais portugueses e a sua mãe era porteira.

Num site francês, o sociólogo Jorge de Portugal Branco disse que:

“É sempre um cliché de descrever o vivido de 1.2 milhões de pessoas. Mas há coisas que correspondem a este vivido: o fado, o vinho do Porto que tu trazes aos Franceses, o sonho de comprar uma Porsche. Há também um tipo de paternalismo dos Franceses que tem magoado os imigrantes.”

Melanie, Cynthia e Amanda estão de acordo:

“Sim, é cheio de clichés mas somos todos cheios de clichés. A minha mãe era uma mulher-a-dias, o meu pai era um pedreiro. A minha casa tem quase a mesma decoração do que aquela do filme”.

O filme também aborda os clichés que os Franceses têm sobre os Portugueses: mulher-a-dias, pedreiro, raparigas com bigode, o sotaque (com muitos “chhh”).

Em França, há pessoas que vêm de vários países e regiões do mundo. Por isso, as diferenças culturais e o facto de se crescer entre dois países são utilizados por muitos humoristas. Sobre a comunidade luso-francesa os mais famosos são um duo, Ro e Cut que publicam vídeos divertidas no Youtube desde 2009. Ro, Rodolphe, tem origens portuguesas e Cut, Mohamed, é da Argélia.

D’jal, a French humorist with Moroccan origins became famous thanks to his shows playing on clichés about Portuguese immigrates in France, imitating their accent.  

D’jal, um humorista com origens marroquinas, tornou-se famoso com seus sketches sobre os imigrantes Portugueses e o sotaque deles.

Education: cultural and intergenerational differences

In the movie the educational gap between Jose´s boss’ family and the Ribeiros is obvious: the French family is very “cool” when the Ribeiros put a lot of pressure on their children to behave well and be hard-workers. Their adult daughter, who still live at their place, is afraid of telling them she has a non-portuguese boyfriend etc. This gap reaches its peak when Jose gave his daughter her slap in front of his boss.

Cynthia told us that this difference between the strict education she was given and the education of her French friends was always obvious for her: she was not allowed to go out to meet her friends, she waited a long time before telling her parents she had a boyfriend etc. She respected these rules but felt more free in school where she could do a lot of things that were “forbidden” at home.

The ideal boyfriend for my parents would be a hard-working, Christian Portuguese.”

But she also pointed out another gap, not shown in the movie: the one between the rigid education her parents gave her and the evolutions that have been taking place in Portugal.

My parents repeated with us the same educational pattern they experienced as children, but in the meantime, my family in Portugal was evolving with the Portuguese society: my cousin could have tattoos before me, and now I can see that it is way more accepted to have girlfriends and boyfriends. Since I’ve been living here I can also see that gender equality has been increasing.

Educação: diferenças culturais e geracionais

O filme mostra as diferenças na educação entre a família portuguesa e a família francesa. No lado francês, os pais são mais relaxados e abertos enquanto a educação portuguesa é mais tradicional: por exemplo a filha, que é adulta, tem um pouco medo de apresentar o seu namorado aos seus pais.

Cynthia disse que esta diferença era muito óbvia para ela quando ela estava a crescer. Sua família era muito mais severa do que as famílias das suas amigas. Ela sentia-se mais livre na escola onde ela podia fazer algumas coisas que eram proibidas em casa.

“ Para meus pais, o namorado perfeito seria um rapaz trabalhador, cristão e português!”

Alem disso, ela apontou um outro fosso educacional que não é mostrado no filme: aquele que tem-se escavado entre a educação severa dos pais dela e as evoluções que estavam a acontecer em Portugal.

“Os meus pais reproduziram connosco a mesma educação que eles tinham recibo, mas ao mesmo tempo a nossa família em Portugal estava a evoluir com a sociedade portuguesa: minha prima pôde ter uma tatuagem antes de mim por exemplo. E agora eu vejo que eles podem apresentar os namorados sem problema. Eu também posso ver que a igualdade entre as mulheres e os homens tem progredido.”

Football and Portuguese identity (and pride)

pauleta_thumbs_upFootball is a very important deal in Portugal and it is present in the Gilded Cage through the apparition of Pauleta, former player of the Seleção and of the Parisian football club PSG. When asked if football was really important in the education of French-Portuguese children, especially boys, Cynthia answered: 

“My father hated the fact that my brother was not into football. As a consequence he put everything on me, I am an addict now! Maybe the importance of football in Portugal is due to the fact that it is pretty much the only sport where Portugal is doing really good.”

Together with Amanda and Mélanie they also underlined that a very large majority of French-Portuguese people strongly support Portugal over France in football:

I think every French-Portuguese supports Portugal in football. Since we are children we are taught to support it. I’m fully French but I enjoyed watching Portugal beating France in France.”

This was very obvious last summer when Portugal beat France during the final of the European Football Cup in Paris. Portugal’s victory was celebrated in many parts of France but these demonstrations were not always welcomed with fair-play by French-French supporters. Amanda was in Paris, supporting Portugal, and told me she did not expect such aggressiveness. But that did not prevent them to celebrate loudly, as you can see here in Paris: 

O futebol e a identidade portuguesa

O futebol, uma coisa muito importante em Portugal, está presente no filme também com a aparição do Pauleta, que foi um jogador famoso da Selecção e do Clube de Paris PSG.

Mélanie, Amelia e Cynthia sublinham que a maior parte das imigrantes portugueses apoiam profundamente a equipa de Portugal:

“Acho que todos os luso-franceses apoiam Portugal no futebol. Desde a infância, ensinaram-nos a apoiar Portugal. Sou francesa mas gostei muito de ver a vitória de Portugal em França.”

Isso foi muito evidente no verão passado, no momento da vitória do Portugal em Paris. Houve muitas manifestações nas ruas, como neste vídeo:

Ro and Cut also celebrated in their own way:

Ro e Cut também celebraram:

 


Let’s not change good habits and conclude this post with music! Linda de Suza left her homeland, Portugal for France in the 1970s. In the late 1970s she managed to record music albums, mainly fado and popular song in both French and Portuguese. Here is one of her song that you can hear in th Gilded Cage: “L’Etrangère”, meaning the foreigner in French. 

Linda de Suza é uma cantora luso-francesa, que chegou à França nos anos 1970. Ela principalmente cantou fado e canções populares. Aqui está uma das canções dela “L’Etrangère”, a estrangeira em português, que está na Gaiola Dourada.

 

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