The last 30 years of Liliane Bettencourt are so strange that the richest woman in the world would be unviable as a fictional character. We believe her life because that life existed. In The Bettencourt Affair, a French Netflix documentary miniseries, they tell us about her, from the late 80s until her death in 2017. From the arrival of François-Marie Banier into her life until the title of richest woman in the world passed at the hands of his daughter, the disturbing Françoise Bettencourt Meyers.

Banier, another character that no one would have known how to invent, came into Liliane’s life in 1987. Worldly, fun and enjoyable (and homosexual), this photographer became the best friend of the super-millionaire, extremely bored and prisoner of an idea of ​​discretion. and the austerity that Banier considered a waste.

With his new adventure companion, Bettencourt, majority shareholder of L’Oréal, he began to travel and spend. At the same time, he also anoints politicians of all affiliations in exchange for a political influence that is as diffuse as it is effective. His daughter soon became suspicious of François-Marie Banier (it was estimated that the “donations” he received from Lilianne were close to 1 billion euros) while French justice, society and the media were (finally) scandalized by the secret. shouting from the envelopes with a lot of cash that were delivered left and right chez Lilianne. And then some audio recorded in that house came to light.

The Bettencourt case connects the scandals of the French billionaire into a unitary narrative with a clear common thread: at what figure does one lose the notion of what money means? This question, which could give rise to countless in-law arguments, is explored in The Bettencourt Affair in a very interesting way.

In the miniseries, the recordings that France was amazed by are supported by elegant recreations with actors. These, in turn, are explained and commented on by journalists, protagonists of the story or Arielle Dombasle, a priceless French star who does not miss a single one. Like the story of The Bettencourt Affair, it is impossible as fiction. But there you have it, talking about her friend Françoise, about her, about François-Marie Banier and about whatever they ask of her. Born in the US and married to Bernard-Henry Lévi, Dombasle is a bit of the French Ana Obregón. She is also a symbol of how well France knows how to mix culture with cabaret, politics with sequins and money with everything.

In The Bettencourtella Affair it functions as a metaphor: he knew but remained silent, he was scandalized but just enough, he looked the other way but that side did not exist. Throughout the miniseries, we see graphics with the exorbitant figures that moved between Lilianne Bettencourt and the rest of the world. They help us not lose perspective, although sometimes they achieve just the opposite. Lilianne’s fortune was estimated at 30,000 million euros. Her daughter’s today exceeds 93,000, an amount that almost triples L’Oreal’s annual turnover. I get lost. And that’s how it goes for me, of course.