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French TV 'postpones' controversial film on Bataclan massacre

© Joel Saget, AFP | Policemen stand guard as people gather around a commemorative plaque in front of the Bataclan concert hall in Paris on November 13, 2016, after a ceremony marking the first anniversary of the Paris terror attacks

Text by Mehdi CHEBIL

Latest update : 2017-12-29

French public television has put a controversial film about the Bataclan massacre on hold "until all of the victims' associations have been consulted".

"Ce soir-la" (That Night) is a love story set on the fateful night in November 2015 when Paris was hit by a wave of terror attacks that left 130 people dead. Filming of the romantic drama finished earlier this month but the France 2public channel said late Thursday that the project was being put on hold after an online petition calling for the film to be scrapped garnered 38,000 signatures in a month.

The petition on change.org was initiated by Claire Peltier, whose partner was murdered during the jihadist attack on the Bataclan concert hall where ninety people were slaughtered by three gunmen as they attended an Eagles of Death Metal concert.

“This project hurts us, upsets us, shocks us… We are scandalised that such a film could see the light of day so soon after such a violent event," Peltier wrote on change.org.

"Two years on our wounds are still wide open, our grief immense, our lives destroyed," she added.

No climate of trust

Several victims' associations welcomed the decision to postpone the film.

“It’s a good idea to postpone the film because we need time for the director to meet the victims’ associations, to talk about the scenario, and create a climate of trust,” Guillaume Denoix de Saint Marc, the director of the French Association of Victims of Terrorism (AFVT), told FRANCE 24.

“I heard about this film project when I received dozens of complaints from victims, who were shocked that they were not contacted by the director. We have been debating how to react and it really comes down to their treatment of the Bataclan attack,” added Saint Marc, noting that there would be “no unanimity” among victims over any film project.

Impossible romance in a wounded city

The plot of "Ce soir-la" focuses on two ordinary people who come to the rescue of the wounded outside the Bataclan concert hall. French actress Sandrine Bonnaire plays Irene, a young woman living near the Bataclan who ends up falling in love with Karan, a refugee from Afghanistan.

“It’s a great, impossible love story. But it’s also the story of renewal in Paris, a romantic but wounded city," France 2 said in their pitch.

The film is expected to explore how the main characters cope with the horrors they have witnessed outside the Bataclan – and how their experience on this fateful night affects their romance.

“A love story between people who met because they were the first to help Bataclan victims doesn’t sound really credible,” Saint Marc told FRANCE 24. “The people who are the first on the scene of a massacre are often traumatised by what they see and that doesn’t help to build a lasting romantic relationship. The day before yesterday, I met a group of 13 gendarmes, professional first responders, who were still suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder two years after their operation at the Bataclan.”

The November 13 terror attacks on Paris are also inspiring the American film industry. According to the Hollywood Reporter, director Rachel Palumbo is preparing a movie about US musicians and art students who get caught in the crossfire of the Parisian jihadist attacks. The film, which is due to be filmed in Paris and Los Angeles in the summer of 2018, is entitled “Violent Delights”.

Date created : 2017-12-29

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