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Netflix teams up with Naudet brothers for exclusive documentary on Nov. 13 Paris terror attacks

Paul Morigi, GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA, AFP | Jules Naudet (left) and Gédéon Naudet (right) at The National Press Club on November 18, 2015 in Washington, DC

Almost two-and-a-half years after the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris, which left 130 people dead, Netflix has teamed up with French director duo, the Naudet brothers, for a documentary depicting the "human stories" behind the tragedy.


The three-part documentary “November 13: Fluctuat Nec Mergitur” -- named after Paris’s Latin motto “[She] is tossed but doesn’t sink”, which became a resistance slogan following the attacks -- is based on some 40 exclusive testimonies gathered from survivors and rescue workers who lived through the carnage of that fateful November night in Paris in 2015.

In a statement, the streaming platform said the project will explore "the human stories" behind the tragedy.

“Those who lived through that night are now ready to speak,” directors Jules and Gédéon Naudet told French daily Le Figaro in an interview over the weekend.

The project, which is scheduled for launch in mid-2018, also contains interviews with several French officials, including Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo and then-president François Hollande, who recall their version of events as the city descended into chaos and forced France into a near two-year-long state of emergency. During the night of the attacks, Hollande was attending a football game at the capital’s Stade de France stadium, which was one of the terrorists’ targets.

“An entire country was hit on the night of Nov. 13, 2015. Everyone was touched by it. It’s important to talk about it. The people who we’ve interviewed are full of wisdom and hope,” the directors said.

In New York on 9/11

The Naudet brothers, who live in the US, shot to fame in 2002, with their documentary “9/11”. Their personal accounts of the 2001 terror attacks in New York, aired by American broadcaster CBS, came about through a bizarre twist of fate. The brothers were working on a documentary on New York City firefighters when the younger brother, Jules Naudet, suddenly found himself embedded with one of the first firefighting units to respond to the attacks. The documentary won several prestigious television prizes, including Emmy, Peabody and DuPont awards.

The brothers told Le Figaro that their 9/11 experience left them permanently marked and is one of the reasons they chose to document the Nov. 13 attacks in their native France.

“This documentary which has taken its name after Paris’s motto is linked with what we experienced on September 11, 2001. When you go through such trauma, you see the worst of humanity, but also the best of it, helpful gestures and bravery,” they said, noting that “November 13" is “neither an investigation nor a report [of what happened]. We want to use as few images from that night as possible. We reject sensationalism. [The documentary] puts faces on the victims and it also talks about how to rebuild afterward, evoking a sense of resilience.”

It was the first time many of the people interviewed for the documentary spoke publically about their experiences.

“We told each and every one [we spoke to] about our experience of September 11, and our point of view of it. The [victims’] associations helped us find participants.”

The directors said they had chosen Netflix as their preferred broadcasting platform for their project because it will allow their audience “to take their time, and discover it at their own pace. If they need to take breaks while watching this difficult narrative, or to watch it in several sessions, they’ll have the opportunity to do so”.

Previous film attempts have failed

A total of 130 people were killed and 413 injured when terrorists in 2015 unleashed the deadliest attacks on French soil since WWII, targeting restaurants, bars, the Bataclan concert hall and the Stade de France football stadium.

Previous attempts to bring the Nov. 13 Paris attacks onto the screen have failed after receiving widespread criticism, not the least by the survivors themselves and the families of the victims.

In November, public broadcaster France 2 was forced to postpone a movie project about the Bataclan massacre, where 90 people were killed that night, after an online petition called for it to be scrapped since none of the victims’ associations had been consulted.

The France 2 project, “Ce soir-la” (That Night)", was described as a romantic drama that told the fictional tale of two strangers who fall in love after rescuing survivors from the Bataclan attack.

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