Even before we meet Sofia and Louise on the maternity ward, there are sirens. The atmosphere is loud and hectic, everyone is stretched to the limit and the waters are not the only thing that are about to break. These two friends and flatmates are starting their first day as midwives together. There is barely any time for an induction. Thrown into the department’s daily routine of crowded corridors, delivery rooms and monitors, Sofia and Louise have very different first days. The pressurised situation of care-giving whilst under constant stress soon begins to put a strain on their friendship.
Léa Fehner’s Sages-femmes is a sensitive and searing exposé of the aberrations of a totally underfinanced health system, and the many facets of a key profession that is too often undervalued. Capturing moments large and small with a camera that, like the midwives, rarely pauses, the director brings us closer to the daily life of the entire staff at the hospital. Her approach is subtle, quotidian and unadorned, and reveals both the personal and political ramifications of a broken system.
by Léa Fehner
with Khadija Kouyaté, Héloïse Janjaud, Myriem Akheddiou, Quentin Vernede, Tarik Kariouh, Lucie Mancipoz, Marine Gesbert, Fleur Fitoussi, Marushka Jury, Toulou Kiki, Simon Roth, Richard Legall
France 2023 French 99’ Colour World premiere


  • Khadija Kouyaté (Sofia)
  • Héloïse Janjaud (Louise)
  • Myriem Akheddiou (Bénédicte)
  • Quentin Vernede (Valentin)
  • Tarik Kariouh (Reda)
  • Lucie Mancipoz (Charlotte)
  • Marine Gesbert (Marilyn)
  • Fleur Fitoussi (Capucine)
  • Marushka Jury (Marushka)
  • Toulou Kiki (Mariam)
  • Simon Roth (Antoine)
  • Richard Legall (Grégoire)


Director Léa Fehner
Screenplay Léa Fehner, Catherine Paillé
Cinematography Jacques Girault
Editing Julien Chigot
Music José Fehner
Sound Design Pierre Bariaud, Sarah Lelu
Sound Emmanuelle Villard
Sound Mixing Gilles Benardeau
Production Design Thomas Grezaud
Costumes Marine Galliano
Make-Up Morgane Leverd
Casting Leila Fournier, Inès Fehner
Assistant Director Delphine Daull
Production Manager Samuel Bilboulian
Producer Grégoire Debailly

Produced by

Geko Films

Léa Fehner

The director studied at La Fémis film school in Paris, France. While studying, she undertook two internships abroad, one at the Film Centre of Bamako, the other in Cambodia with the director Rithy Panh. Her first film Silent Voices screened at numerous festivals including Venice and Deauville, won the Louis Delluc Prize for Best First Film and was nominated for a César. Les ogres won the VPRO Big Screen Award at Rotterdam in 2016. Sages-femmes is her third film.


2007 Sauf le silence; short film 2009 Silent Voices 2016 Les ogres 2022 Sages-femmes (Midwives)

Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2023