A film about the rise of far-right populism has triggered outrage in France after its trailer appeared to showcase a character based on Marine Le Pen, the president of the Front National and a candidate in France’s 2017 presidential election.
Chez Nous (AKA This Is Our Land) stars Émilie Duquenne as a nurse who becomes a political success in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region after becoming involved with the Patriotic Bloc, a thinly disguised fictional version of the Front National. It is due for release in France on 22 February, two months before the first round of voting, and the trailer briefly features a character apparently modelled on Le Pen, played by veteran performer Catherine Jacob.
Leading Front National figures have reacted with disdain, with the party’s vice-president, Florian Philippot, saying it was “scandalous” and “unacceptable” that a “clearly anti-Front National” film was being released so close to the election. “Having seen the trailer … it looks like a real turkey,” he said.
Chez Nous is directed and co-written by Belgian film-maker Lucas Belvaux, best known for the three-film 2002 offering Trilogy. He was quoted by BFMTV as saying: “Philippot has only seen the trailer so it’s a cheap controversy which avoids the debate about the message of the film.”
Belvaux added: “It’s not so much an anti-FN film as a film about the populist message and how people relate to politics. It’s voters that interest me, not political parties.”
Belvaux denied he was taking on the Front National’s politics. “It is not a militant film: it is a committed film, and a civic-minded film. It was made to provoke discussion, not to provoke the FN or fear of the FN,” he said.
3 January 2017