PARIS — France refused to accept smiles, including a Mona Lisa smile, in passport photos, according to a ruling by a French appeal court on Thursday.
An unnamed French civil servant sued the French authorities after his initial passport application was rejected for a smile in the passport picture. He lost the suit in 2014 as a French court ruled that he grinned obviously in that photo.
Both French courts made their decision based on regulations concerning passport photos, which provide that “the expression (of the applicant) should be neutral with the mouth closed” and “you must certainly not smile.”
The plaintiff and his lawyer both insisted that on the controversial photo it’s just a “smile with one’s mouth shut while keeping a neutral expression,” like what Mona Lisa does in that famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
The regulations are of no legal value, the lawyer Romain Boulet said before Thursday’s ruling.
Furthermore, their argument emphasized that the smile was to give depressed France “a morale boost” and hoped the appeal court’s approval would make French people smile.
Unfortunately, their good wish failed to amuse French justice and the authorities. People have to endure the fact that no matter you are cheerful or depressed, the passport photos only show poker faces.