MYCANAL – ON DEMAND – DOCUMENTARY SERIES
“It’s crazy how much you can hide behind a smile”, supports Ouissem Belgacem. The former hope of the Toulouse training center and Tunisian international wore for many years the “costume” of “macho”, straight and seductive, to the point of caricature. “I had never seen a homosexual champion, let alone a footballer, in Ligue 1 or in the France team.remembers the young man of 35 years. I told myself that to be champion, it was necessarily to be straight. »
Nothing seems to have changed: in the men’s Ligue 1, as in the national eleven coached by Didier Deschamps, no one is out. The story told by this four-part documentary series, adapted from the eponymous autobiographical story published in 2021 (Farewell my shame, Fayard), it is that of a young footballer who has given up on his dream. But who will certainly not let go of eradicating homophobia in his sport. Because the few coming out of footballers rarely occur other than at the end or at a distance from the career.
From his district of Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône), to the training center of Toulouse, facing the supporters, the management, the classmates, the child then the teenager Ouissem bathes painfully in homophobia and spends all his energy hiding who he is, to the point of making homophobic remarks himself!
His level is stagnating, he can’t verbalize his distress to his trainer, doesn’t dare confide in anyone. “You have played football on three continents, Europe, Africa, America, and the conclusion is the same: your sport is hyperhomophobic”notes the young central defender, barely major. “And therehe said, I made the best decision of my life, I decided to quit football. » And repression.
The documentary series stands out and touches by the authenticity and honesty of the story, quite unusual about football, despite a very controlled storytelling. Ouissem Belgacem opens the doors of his private life, looks back on his psychological suffering – which footballer talks about consulting a psychologist? –, digs the secret furrows of mourning, talks about his relationship to his faith, confronts, like a look in the rear view mirror, the ordinary homophobia of those who succeeded him in football schools. Shocking.
The strength of this four-part documentary series lies in the application that the former player, now an entrepreneur and writer, puts in removing the masks: his first, but also that of the French Football Federation. , which for a long time did not put any means, “financial, human or logistical”to fight against homophobia.
Farewell my shame, sDocumentary series by Ouissem Belgacem, directed by Renaud Bertrand (Fr., 2023, 4 × 26 min).