A drink with Mélissa Theuriau: “Becoming Claire Chazal was my anti

To tell the truth, we feared that this aperitif lacked fire, limited tap of lukewarm water. Before meeting the journalist and producer Mélissa Theuriau, we had gone through, as usual, all the interviews given to the press in recent years and the observation was rather chilling: the same sentences, the same anecdotes and the same “confidences” from page to page. page, signature of those who perfectly control their image and their word. The meeting place, Chez Julien, a delightful Belle Epoque restaurant on the quays of Paris, had itself been used so many times for other meetings that it was almost annoying. In her defense, Mélissa Theuriau has all the excuses in the world to present herself to others in chainmail: explosive celebrity before the age of 30, decked out with the qualifier “most beautiful woman in France”, marriage to one of the country’s star comedians, Jamel Debbouze. A paparazzied life where every gesture, every word is scrutinized and commented on, enough to encourage caution and discretion.

She arrives in a celadon blue jacket over a camel sweater, jeans and boots, chic and cool, as an attempt to tone down an extraordinary beauty. She bends over, smiling and well-mannered – it will not be said that she tell it” – At the photographer’s instructions, glide from the table set up in the window to the carpeted steps of the staircase, passing by the inevitable pose at the bar, glass of smoked Pouilly in hand.

Under the painted ceiling of this former 19th century bakerye with walls covered with speckled mirrors, she then settles into a corner sofa out of sight, while the first tourist couples discover the menu. We approach it quietly while chatting aperitif. She looks reasonable, “A glass of wine from time to time, in the summer, during the holidays, never alone of course”. Obviously. Then the voice relaxes and she recognizes, with a giggle, that she has a privilege card at the local wine shop, the one reserved for the best customers. Her husband, who got into it later, is starting to know a lot about Burgundy. With them, the wine does not keep: “We don’t have time: we open it and drink it!” », she laughs, with a slight bantering accent that reminds us that she has not always lived on Île Saint-Louis, in the chic historic heart of the capital. We breathe.

Far from the woman-trunk

The last documentary she produced, Fight their violence, a punchy and chilling film that gives voice to men guilty of domestic violence, Mélissa Theuriau had difficulty selling it to television channels (it was broadcast on November 16, on France 2, in the second part evening). Until then, since the creation of her production house in 2008, she had been more interested in the victims: school harassment, hatred on social networks, women in prison, poor housing. The next report, currently being edited for Arte, retraces the journey of a young Malian, a dishwasher in a trendy Parisian restaurant, a “teacher who finds himself cleaning up the shit of the French”she summarizes, with a hint of anger. “I wanted to tell what immigration means, the hope and the frustrations that this entails, the loss of identity, the enormous sacrifices, the salaries sent to the country, the feeling of not being from here and less less than there. » Whether she speaks of the victims or the executioners, Mélissa Theuriau claims films “engaged” and pulls out the fangs as soon as one evokes injustices, racism or the extreme right, which was the subject of one of the twenty-seven documentaries that it produced. We are far from the woman-trunk who glamorized the antenna of LCI in the heyday of the news channels.

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A drink with Mélissa Theuriau: “Becoming Claire Chazal was my anti-model”