Five questions to Danielle Trottier, author of À cœur beating
Danielle Trottier has the gift of transporting us to the heart of sensitive, little-known universes, where nuances make a difference. We had empathy for the women of Unit 9. Benevolence for teenage girls of All life. Each time, the frames were as rich as they were uncomfortable. Each time, the author succeeded in confronting us with a reality where judgment became impossible.
This time she focuses on a delicate, current and hard subject. To an environment where the limits are no longer to be tested, but rather to be set. She casts her gaze on domestic violence, one that is too often experienced in silence, in intimacy. With Beating Heart, we find Christophe L'Allier (Roy Dupuis), whose mission is to equip and rehabilitate these men, and Gabrielle Laflamme (Ève Landry), a Crown prosecutor without half measures. If their means are different, their mission is common. Every violent gesture is one too many. Impossible for the viewer to be insensitive to it.
When did the idea of continuing with Christophe L'Allier in an organization for violent men arise?
It was present without being conscious. In All life, Christophe was already volunteering with an organization. The family history he has today, he had it 5 years ago. I saw the enormous potential of delving into the heart of violence, but I had oriented my research and my approach to teenage pregnancy. It was the director, Jean-Philippe Duval, who immediately thought of Roy. His experience was becoming hyper-relevant. In 2019, I became interested in the Estates General on homes for abused women. It was necessary for me, as a woman, as a human, to talk about it beyond the headlines that we see.
It's a delicate subject. Was it risky to let men speak?
A man arrested for a serious assault will go to prison, will have a contact ban on his release and will start again. How many times have we seen this? I had to go to the producers of violence. I wanted to see why they give themselves these rights, these permissions. We have to help women, that's for sure. But we must also help those who produce this violence. I'm not talking about gangsterism. I am talking about what happens in private, in families. I wanted to see the problem as a whole, to show people who rub shoulders with violence. I do it for women. It was scary to look in that direction, but it was important to understand her. It is sometimes difficult to detect when it is chicanery and when it is violence. Even for those who do.
Have the sad events of the past year influenced your writing?
I didn't want to go towards feminicides. There are so many women who suffer without denouncing for fear of losing custody of their child, their home. It is not easy to “just” leave. Christophe is connected to his company. He can say whatever you think. He never gets on my nerves. He puts words to difficult things. And Gabrielle also comes to counterbalance. For her, getting angry keeps you alive. Violent men have a verbal, financial and psychological hold on women who become mute. With time, we forget the limits. I reversed the behaviors of my characters. Here, anger can be a strength and set clear boundaries.
Was it important to show multiple archetypes?
Charlène lived moments of great intensity with Yoan. He was loving, he is a good father. He's not just the one who hit her. I don't think he liked himself when he lost control. There are so many facets to violence that I had to individualize it. Marcel is from another era. Today, there are new limits. In Bert's case, he is an excellent policeman. His commander says he is just violent with his wife and with others he is good. Why be violent with someone you love? I try to go where we never go. I'm learning a lot.
There are very intense scenes. Do you ever, when you write, need to clear your mind?
I experience my emotions before and after, and not during the writing. When I sit down, it's technical. It is a job to organize a reality so that it works. It's not the emotions that drive the writing, but the attention I pay to the characters, from the worst to the best.
Tuesday 8 p.m. on ICI Télé< /p>