“Maybe I’ll vote for Le Pen after that”: the film “Bac nord” on the Marseille police is debated at the Cannes Film Festival

“We are in an election year. I saw that with the eye of a foreigner and I say to myself: maybe I’ll vote for Le Pen after that.”

The question of an Irish journalist, launched at the very beginning of the press conference for the film, Tuesday July 13, caused a stir among the team of “North Bac”.

Keeping his seriousness, the journalist continued, without allowing himself to be taken aback by the laughter. “I come from a city in Ireland”, he explained, believing that the inhabitants of the cities are regularly portrayed as “beasts” in the movies.

“It’s a vision that we still have in the French media: the areas where we cannot pass, the areas outside civilization, the areas where we must re-impose French law … The film is great, but There is a problem there. We are in an election year. And I was embarrassed. Really embarrassed. And I was not the only one. “

“I hope she will not pass thanks to me”

Calmly, director Cédric Jimenez replied: “I hope that Marine Le Pen will not pass thanks to me, that would piss me off”.

“On the contrary, with the film I tried to actually tell of areas that have great difficulties. Which can seem really hostile. But I don’t think we have to settle that with a radical vote like Marine Le Pen, not du all.”

The director believes he has “told the anger” police officers “who deal with dealers, delinquents, not with the whole population of the northern districts”. “I didn’t want to take sides (but to show) how their work is more complex than you think”, he clarified.

In “all the problems that we see today (around the action of the police), it is necessary to take into account that: it is also up to the institutions, to the State, to the hierarchy to take its responsibilities and d ‘supervise the police’.

“Neither” pro-cop “, nor” anti-cop “”

Carried by a trio Gilles Lellouche, Karim Leklou and François Civil in “baqueux”, Cédric Jimenez is once again inspired by the judicial-police chronicle in Marseille, after “La French” (2014), which looked back on the rise of the mafia Gaëtan Zampa in the 1970s and the assassination of Judge Michel, but this time puts himself in the shoes of three police officers from the North Bac.

This unit, publicized for its results in the fight against delinquency, ended up being dissolved after the revelation of a series of drug or money thefts, on the sidelines of interventions in the cities of the city.

His victims? Most often petty cannabis traffickers, who were stolen tickets or bars of hash.

Almost ten years after the facts, the case, traced back to the then Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls, gave rise to a first trial which ended with seven acquittals and suspended sentences for eleven defendants, judgment which the prosecution appealed in May.

The film was shot before this decision, and adopts the line defended by the police officers in question: the abuses are the result of the policy of the number maintained by the hierarchy in what was, at the level of statistics, “the best Bac of France”.

“I am three characters who have lived this story for months, such as they experienced it, such as they told it to me”, explained the director to AFP. “I don’t think Bac Nord is a” pro-cop “or” anti-cop “film”.

In the film, the police remain powerless against the gangs of armed traffickers who hold the points of deal and do not hesitate to taunt them. “We no longer serve any purpose, the inhabitants of the neighborhoods, they no longer even have the hope that we will come and help them”, cowardly, disgusted, one of them after an intervention.

The film shows them driven by the sole desire to do their job well. And illustrates their fall, pursued by a justice presented as blind and soulless.

Unlike reference films on neighborhoods, from “La Haine” to “Miserables”, social distress is only sketched here. On the other hand, history develops the financial difficulties of these low-paid civil servants.

“It’s rare in action films to find such a strong background, to speak of a hierarchy that is letting go of its base. It’s a film about people who are a little abandoned, whoever they are.”, added Karim Leklou during the press conference.

A sign of the interest aroused by fictions around the Phocaean city, this nervous thriller was bought in Cannes by Netflix for broadcast around the world and is due out in French theaters in mid-August.

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