Directed by : Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond

Genre : Documentary

Duration : 81′

Year : 2018

Original version : French

Subtitles : German, English


They’re single, widowed or divorced ; they’ve had children, husbands, a job. They have a life behind them, but also one to come… “Ladies“ reveals the intimate lives of five women in their sixties who are waging a discreet daily battle against loneliness. It’s true that men often prefer younger women, it’s true that one feels invisible in a youth-oriented society, but they are not washed up, far from it. One fills her time with activities, another is recovering from the loss of her husband, others find sustenance in nature… And love? They still believe in it, of course. It’s never too late to dream.



Directed by : Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond

Assistant director : Céline Pernet

Image : Joseph Areddy

Sound : Céline Pernet et Vincent Kappeler

Editing : Karine Sudan

Sound design and Sound mix : Jérôme Cuendet

Music : Nicolas Rabaeus

Color grading : Michael Cinquin

Graphic design : Nordsix

Production : Climage, Stéphane Goël

Coproduction : Radio Télévision Suisse, Irène Challand, Gaspard Lamunière

Swiss distribution : Agora Films

World sale : Rise&Shine

Financial support : Cinéforom et La Loterie Romande, Fondation Leenaards, Fonds de Production Télévisuelle, Pour-Cent Culturel Migros, Office Fédéral de la Culture (DFI), Fondation Ernst Göhner, Fondation du Jubilé de la Mobilière, Fonds Culturel de la Société Suisse des Auteurs, Stage Pool Focal, Lion’s Club Lausanne, Retraites Populaires, Josette et Bruno De Kalbermatten, Switch Prod, Fondation Suisa, Succès Passage Antenne, Lyceum Club, Rwb Group SA, Ciné-Club Cossonay

ISAN 0000-0004-BB1E-0000-6-0000-0000-J © 2018 CLIMAGE – RTS


Director notes

Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond

In 2011, when our film LA PETITE CHAMBRE was released, we noticed that the afternoon cinema-going public was largely made up of retired women. Struck by the phenomenon, we decided to explore this world, both anxiety-provoking and fascinating, a world populated by ladies…

Emotional loneliness is a reality for many women in their sixties whose lives have suddenly taken a new turn, often marked by a separation on the eve of retirement or a bereavement, sometimes coupled with the departure of grown-up children. They have to start from scratch, and not all of them are equipped for that. Many married young, started families and devoted themselves to bringing up their children, whether or not they kept a job at the same time. Today, all that is behind them and they have to adapt to a whole new context: relying solely on themselves and no longer living for others or through others. It’s destabilising. As they are not short of energy, these women take part in a host of activities organised (or not) by associations dedicated to senior citizens: they play music, go to the gym, go to the theatre, visit museums… In fact, it has to be said that senior women are the biggest consumers of culture!

It’s a curious phenomenon: in Switzerland, retired women are very numerous but go strangely unnoticed. Worse still, they feel invisible to men, with the distinct impression that they’re past their sell-by date… It’s a fact that men are often attracted to younger women, and it’s hard to feel left out. Especially as you still have twenty or thirty years ahead of you; life doesn’t stop when you reach retirement age. So what do you do with your desires and your need for affection? Many are disappointed by uninteresting encounters, others say they have given up on sex altogether… but the mention of men rekindles their hearts and their eyes sparkle when we talk about love.

Convinced that there was a film to be made on the subject, we launched a “Call to Ladies” through various media. Over a hundred women responded, all surprised and grateful that we wanted to talk about them, but feeling that they weren’t interesting enough to feature in a film. After all, these women were not particularly valued during their lives, and were part of a forgotten generation…

In the end, we chose five protagonists aged between 63 and 75, five ‘ordinary’ women who are very different from each other, but who share the common quality of being the heroines of their everyday lives: Marion is overflowing with activities and no longer believes in meeting someone to love, Carmen is fighting her phobias and looking for her ‘coup de coeur’, Pierrette is regenerated by music, Odile finds her strength in nature and pistol shooting, while Noëlle dreams of a modern, feminist Prince Charming. We decided to film these women over the course of a year so that we could follow them in their everyday lives and watch them evolve over the months and seasons. It was a long shoot that allowed us to get to know them. At first inhibited by the presence of the camera, they gradually adopted us, even forgetting that they were being filmed. Over the months, they dared to tell their stories, to reveal themselves. We witnessed Pierrette’s rebirth as she recovered from the death of her husband, Marion’s adventure as she registered on a dating website, and Carmen’s ascent of the Diablerets glacier in a cable car, determined to combat her fear of heights once and for all… We listened to their stories, big and small, and got them to open up more intimately, to open their hearts to the question of love and emotional loneliness.

Admitting that you still have dreams and daring to say that you want to please someone at that age is almost out of place. They know it only too well. And although men have deserted their emotional landscape, they have learnt to use other means to ensure that each day brings its share of little pleasures. But they still dream of love, albeit half-heartedly. Because that’s life. We love and we want to be loved, right to the end. That’s what our film sets out to explore.

Watch the film (VOD)

In Switzerland : PlaySuisse, Filmingo, Sky, Cinefile

International : Oval Media

Show the film

(public screenings / festivals)

In Switzerland : Agora Films

World sales : Rise&Shine

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