Paul Grappe’s story is one of remarkable courage and resilience in the face of extraordinary circumstances. During the First World War, Paul was a French soldier who deserted his post. Rather than face potential execution, Paul assumed the identity of Suzanne – a woman – and lived as such for over seven years.
During this time he inhabited the vibrant yet seedy underworlds of 1920s Parisian cabarets. As Suzanne he led a lavish lifestyle and even found some success through singing, dancing, and acting in films. However, his mental health deteriorated as he grew older and his life became increasingly chaotic.
His story is now being told in a documentary film called “Suzanne: The Woman Who Wasn’t There”. This beautiful film captures Paul’s incredible journey through archival footage, interviews with those close to him at the time, as well as through dramatic re-enactments of key moments from his life.
The captivating story follows Paul’s journey towards liberation from his past identity as Suzanne – an identity which enabled him to survive the horrors of war but eventually posed risks to his mental wellbeing. Viewers are taken on an emotional rollercoaster ride witnessing Paul’s struggles with self-acceptance, loneliness, depression and anxiety after living for so long under false pretenses during such tumultuous times in history.
This story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. By watching this documentary we gain insight into what it means to be human while also bearing witness to Paul’s relentless strength of character throughout his life’s struggles. We encourage you to watch “Suzanne: The Woman Who Wasn’t There” for an opportunity to experience first hand this profoundly moving tale of survival against all odds.