A film by Valentina Canavesio

France | 2023 | 77 minutes | Color | DVD | French | English | Order No. W231306 |

Set in the context of France's laïcité, (France's version of secularism), MARIANNE follows seven Muslim women challenging bans on wearing hijabs, headscarfs, face coverings, and abayas at school and in public. Their stories resonate globally, urging viewers to reevaluate liberty, feminism, and Western identity.


Named after the French Republic's national icon, which portrays the Goddess of Liberty, MARIANNE follows French Muslim women navigating personal choice and self-expression amidst public bias and media and political stereotypes. Though feminism, laïcité (French secularism), and Islam are frequently a part of the national discourse, these women often find themselves the topic of conversation but are seldom invited to participate in it.

The documentary gives insight into the lives of seven Muslim women from across France, each representing diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and professions. We meet a horticulturist in a mixed-race family, a "mipster" (Muslim hipster) protesting workplace discrimination, a blonde medical student convert, a public-school teacher turned opera singer, a lawyer from the banlieues, a social media influencer, and a once-homeless, single mother now serving on a UK council.

Their stories challenge France's monolithic portrayal of Muslim women as oppressed and regressive. Through their varied perspectives, MARIANNE provokes reflection on laïcité, universal feminism, liberty, and the essence of French identity. At a time when French secularism is growing increasingly intolerant, film participants Leïla, Saima, Narimènem, Hanane, Caroline, Maïmouna, and Emmanuelle urge viewers to reconsider notions of feminism, identity, and liberty.

Beyond France's borders, these women's experiences resonate with Muslim women worldwide, spotlighting a global quest for understanding and representation.


  • Award Winner, Imagine This Women’s Film Festival 2022
  • Honorable Mention, Voices Rising Film Festival 2023
  • UConn, Storrs, CT, USA
  • Festival Pluriel.les, Compiègne, France
  • Broadway Theatre, Barking and Dagenham, London, UK
  • Cinéma Bonne Garde, Nantes, France
  • Eaton DC, Washington, DC, USA
  • Cinélux, Genève, Switzerland
  • Imagine This Women’s Film Festival, NY, USA
  • Montreal Independent Film Festival, Canada
  • International Women Filmmakers Festival, Izmir, Turkey
  • Cultural Center Altrimenti, Luxembourg
  • City of Stains, France
  • De Cinema, Antwerp, Belgium, October 21st


Valentina Canavesio

Valentina Canavesio is a documentary film and television producer whose debut feature, Footprint, premiered at the Sheffield Doc/Fest in 2016 and is distributed by Women Make Movies. Her feature work also includes producing My Italian Secret (2014), These Birds Walk (2013), One Day On Earth (2011) and Welcome to Detroit (2010). Her television work includes having produced the highest rated specials of Italian Public television’s longest running magazine show, Linea Verde.

Her passion for social justice issues has led her around the world for various NGOs and the UN producing short-form content in places such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan and the Philippines, often as a one-woman crew. From this work, her film Biblioburro, shot in Colombia, aired repeatedly on PBS and was selected as one of the audience’s favorite stories of the year. The film was later turned into a children’s book that has been translated into half a dozen languages.

Valentina holds a BA with honors from the University of Southern California and a Master's degree in International Affairs from Sciences-Po University in Paris. She was selected as one of the up-and-coming filmmakers of 2010 for the Berlinale Talent Campus. (10/23)


Director: Valentina Canavesio

Editors: Anne Laure D'hooghe and Mohamed Elsafty


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