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Wild Side
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Wild Side (2004) More at IMDbPro »

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Release Date:
14 April 2004 (France) See more »
A transsexual who survives prostituting herself in Paris, returns - with her two male lovers in tow - to her family home in the countryside to look after her dying mother. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
6 wins & 1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
A powerful yet confused film about human connection See more (15 total) »


  (in credits order)

Stéphanie Michelini ... Stéphanie
Yasmine Belmadi ... Djamel
Edouard Nikitine ... Mikhail
Josiane Stoléru ... La mère
Corentin Carinos ... Le petit Pierre
Perrine Stevenard ... Caroline
Benoît Verhaert ... Le père de Pierre
Fabrice Rodriguez ... Le client de la boîte
Amine Adjina ... Le frère de Djamel
Christophe Sermet ... Nicolas
Loïc Pichon ... Le paysan
Veronika Pereverzeva ... La mère de Mikhail
Antony Hegarty ... Le chanteur du café
Gilles Forgeas ... Premier client du bois
Pierre Nahori ... Second client du bois
Ozgur Tosunoglu ... Troisième client du bois
Réjane Kerdaffrec ... La femme de la gare
Pierre-Arnaud Jolard ... Le client de la gare
Hugo Sablic ... L'asolescent de la gare
Giovanna ... Fille de la pétanque
Stella ... Fille de la pétanque
Mimouna Hedayati ... La mère de Djamel
Olga Abrego ... La matrone du squat
Tolsty ... Le tenancier du squat
Vladislas Laskevich ... Piotr
Sacha Yatchin ... Ovguéni
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Fatima Adoum ... Mona
Florence Belame ... Une prostituée

Paris Benjamin ... Une prostituée
Emylou Brunet ... L'enfant de Nicolas
Didier De Neck ... Le médecin
Yann Delayaye ... L'ouvrier
Lucas Di Girolamo ... L'enfant du train
Luigi Di Girolamo ... L'homme du train
Angelique Ducrocq ... Le chauffeur du taxi
Aurélie Gibert ... La voleuse des puces
Jean-Marie Groux ... L'ambulancier
Aurélie Guichard ... La bonne soeur
Jean-Claude Joerger ... Le voyeur du bois
Ludovic Leplat ... L'ambulancier
Liliane Nataf ... L'infirmière
Michel Olivès ... Le voisin
Christophe Provost ... L'enfant de Nicolas
Valery Ribakov ... Un russe du squat
Bernadette Seinvin ... La voisine

Directed by
Sébastien Lifshitz 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Stéphane Bouquet 
Sébastien Lifshitz 

Produced by
Chris Curling .... co-producer
Phil Robertson .... production executive producer
Gilles Sandoz .... producer
Christian Tison .... executive producer
Eric van Beuren .... co-producer
Original Music by
Jocelyn Pook 
Cinematography by
Agnès Godard 
Film Editing by
Stéphanie Mahet 
Casting by
Omri Ben Canaan 
Production Design by
Véronique Melery 
Roseanna Sacco  (as Roseanna Sacco-Colas)
Costume Design by
Elisabeth Mehu 
Makeup Department
Anne Moralis .... makeup department head (hair department head)
Production Management
Benoît Baverel .... assistant unit manager
Olivier Guerbois .... production manager
Geoffroy Hassoun .... unit manager
Gaëtane Josse .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Florence Gatineau-Saillant .... trainee assistant director
Julien Selleron .... second assistant director
Philippe Thiollier .... first assistant director
Art Department
Emilie Ferrenq .... painter
Sound Department
Thaddée Bertrand .... dialogue editor
Yolande Decarsin .... sound
Cyril Holtz .... sound re-recording mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Laurent Lemonnier .... electrician
Tom Oversteijns .... key grip
Antoine Struyf .... second assistant camera
Editorial Department
Thaddée Bertrand .... assistant editor
Jason Wheeler .... negative cutter
Music Department
Steve Parr .... music mixer
Steve Parr .... music recordist
Other crew
Christophe Besnard .... assistant to producer
Tatiana Bouchain .... assistant to producer
Sophie Onteniente .... production assistant
Karen Waks .... script supervisor
Mickey Cottrell .... publicist (uncredited)

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
93 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Filming Locations:


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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful.
A powerful yet confused film about human connection, 15 February 2008
Author: anyajzb from United States

Wild Side is an often moving, sometimes heartbreaking French film about a trio of friends centered around the life of pre-op transwoman Stéphanie. She is a sexworker in Paris (I think these scenes were filmed in the Bois de Boulogne, where a large contingent of mostly foreign-born transwomen sexworkers do their trade). She comes back into the life of her taciturn mother, a woman who lost a husband and a daughter and had previously decided to break contact with Stephanie after she transitioned. Now, as the only available caretaker, Stephanie is responsible for the mom, and brings her back to their rundown hometown in the North of France. Along the way, we meet Mikhail, a bi or possibly gay illegal Russian immigrant who is involved with Stephanie and Djamel, an Algerian male prostitute from the dumpy highrise projects north of Paris. How they all met is never really explained and not so important... the story is really about their various regrets and how they feel about this trio (not really a manage á trois since they aren't into group sex).

The spine of the film is the powerful performance and screen presence of Stephanie Michelini as Stephanie. While not a trained actress (this was her first acting job) she brings a quiet longing to the role and never has a false moment. She's female at the core of her soul, often very pretty framed by her beautiful ringlets of hair, even when the camera lingers on some of her face's hard edges. Matching her is Edouard Nikitine as Mikhail, giving a powerful, sad performance with dark, sometimes dead eyes. The two have a silent bathtub scene which is loving and erotic at the same time. Unfortunately, Djamel, the gay prostitute, doesn't add much to the mix. Yasmine Beimadi (a professional actor) gives him a bravado and almost Jimmy Cagney pugnaciousness. But why he's in this trio and what he brings to it doesn't seem altogether believable. Perhaps it was to bring out a conflict in Mikhail about being gay... as if his relationship with Stephanie is his last attempt to hang on to woman.

In my experience, such men never have relationships with transwomen and, as with all her customers, mostly very straight-identified men are into pre-op transwomen. I felt Sebastien Lifshitz (who is gay) tried to weld two very different stories together than don't altogether fit. As I watched Wild Side, I kept hoping for more about Stephanie and Mikhail and that a totally separate film had been made about Djamel. Another wonderful performance is given by Josiane Stoleru as Stephanie's sick mother. The scenes between mother and daughter are altogether tender and loving, even when laced with the mother's intense guilt and total disregard for Stephanie as a woman although she relishes her daughter's caretaking of her.

The cinematography in Wild Side (by Agnes Godard) is stunning and Lifshitz is wonderful at using low key sound and silence to add focus and give the film a elegiac tone. Special mention has to be made of one of the scenes opening sequences of roomful of transwomen being dolefully serenaded by genderqueer singer Antony Hegarty (who fronts his own band in NYC). The women in the room form a kind of chorus of trans beauty, pain, solidarity and regrets that is stunning. The song Hegarty sings is mourning the lose of a dead boy (in this care, perhaps, the 'boy' each of his audience members has lost as they transitioned?) It's a beautiful scene but, again, very much a gay man's take on what being a transwoman is. He focuses on the 'super femme gay male' aspects which is reinforced by the 'required' penis shot of Stephanies' body just before song scene.

Also, I found this film's quiet beauty also marred by having Stephanie be involved in sex work and the graphic scenes this entails (focusing on the hypocrisy of her straight clients). Unfortunately, even most gay men have a view of this as being what transwomen's lives are all about (even though Stephanie obviously wants to get out of it). As sensitive as Lifshitz is, he often stoops to an objectification of her that, while beautifully packaged and with a social/political undertone, sends much of the same message as many far more exploitive films.

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