FESTIVAL DE CANNES – “It will take time to overcome the traumas of recent years. And filmmakers relate these realities of life, they help us make sense of the world”, predicted Forest Whitaker during the opening ceremony of the Cannes Film Festival. If the actor evoked the war in Ukraine and the Covid pandemic, we can not help but see another resonance there, while several films presented this weekend on the Croisette tell the same trauma: that of the attacks of 2015.
See Paris againat the Directors’ Fortnight, follows the journey of two survivors of the terrorist attack on a brasserie, who meet in a support group who returned to the scene a few months later. November (presented out of competition) is a dive into the heart of anti-terrorism the days following the events, with Jean Dujardin. More than six years after the attacks that killed 130 people, including 90 at the Bataclan, cinema is committed to telling this part of our collective history. From two completely different points of view.
In See Paris again, filmmaker Alice Winocour films the daily life of Mia (Virginie Efira, with incredible accuracy), three months after surviving an attack in a bistro. If her physical scars are closing, she has still not managed to resume the course of her life and only remembers the event in snatches. She then decides to investigate in her memory alongside, in particular, other survivors including Thomas (Benoît Magimel) who would have preferred to forget the smallest details of this night engraved in her head.
If Alice Winocour preferred to stage an “imaginary attack” which does not avoid difficult images of collapsing bodies, she says she was above all “nourished by [ses] meetings with survivors” including his brother, who was at the Bataclan on the evening of November 13, 2015. The subject is heavy, but See Paris again is a tender film, about reconstruction and the return of life. “I wanted to tell the story of someone who didn’t just want to survive, but above all to live,” whispered the filmmaker, won over by emotion on the evening of the film’s screening in Cannes.
November seen by the cops
It is in a completely different register that Cédric Jimenez unfolds a story that has the same starting point. One year later North ferry on the cops of Marseilles, the director immerses himself this time in the anti-terrorist sub-directorate of the judicial police to tell the intense first hours of an investigation started on the night of November 13 to 14.
For five days, the results hoped for by the whole of France are long overdue: the police (led by Jean Dujardin, also with Anaïs Demoustier and Sami Outalbali) fight against bouts of fatigue and anger and accumulate false leads. A testimony from a friend of the “landlady” of the Islamists (incredible Lyna Khoudri) will ultimately prove decisive in leading them to the apartment in Saint-Denis where they were holed up.
Fast-paced detective film between heart-pounding spinning scenes and a deafening final assault, November is precise, cold, almost sanitized. A desire of the director to place himself solely from the point of view of the investigation and above all not to “show the attacks”, he assures us. “A lot of sobriety, no emphasis. We try to stay on top, with sobriety. Whether in the game, in the staging, in the music, in the editing. Of sobriety and righteousness.”
Screened at the Cannes Film Festival as the trial of the November 13 attacks continues in Paris, See Paris again hits theaters on September 7, and November October 4. Until then, we will know the verdict reserved for the twenty defendants – including the only living member of the commandos, Salah Abdeslam – involved in these attacks which left 130 dead and hundreds injured on November 13, 2015. And to shoot a new page of our collective memory.
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