Nanténé Traoré – Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs
Literaturquelle: Jean Genet: Notre-Dame-des-Fleurs (Our Lady of The Flowers)
Our Lady of The Flowers takes place in the infamous Paris neighborhoods, focusing on the small Pigalle community. We follow the journey and everyday life of performer(we’ll now say « drag-queen »), sex-worker, and sensitive young Divine, and his relationship with beautiful but yet completely insane Notre-Dame, a youngkiller with whom he’ll fall in love. Genet portrays the magnificence and the darkness of these margins, with empathy, tenderness, and love. Despite the censorship, he creates gender a large amount of gender non-conforming characters, that reclaim the freedom of being outsiders, without dehumanizing them.
I chose this book to create a whole series around gay masculinities and self-representation. It’s largely inspired by the visual codes of gay culture in the 80’s, but tries to stay true to what Jean Genet created in his work : representing ourselves rightfully, in dignity and fierceness. I’ve always loved how Genet was true to his characters. He never lied about what was violent in those communities, he never hide anything from the reader, but he always protected his characters by writing them like they were icons – untouchable, beyond reality, greater than the outside world.