• Golden Globe Awards

France (France)

France de Meurs is a star reporter and anchor for a top news channel. In a way, she is a cross between Christiane Amanpour and Marie Colvin, only not as honest and not as tragic, at least at the beginning. She fashions herself a combat zone reporter, albeit one who knows how to stage drama when she puts her interview subjects, soldiers and refugees, in scripted situations and instructs them to act hurt or shocked or at least puzzled. Like so many war reporters, she lives in a world of extremes: there are the dangerous, boots-on-the-ground situations and there are the luxury hotels with the cocktails at the swimming pool.
Back in Paris, she is a star, one that is asked for and happily obliges her fans with selfies. She also has a personal assistant named Lou with a phone glued to her ear, a total suck-up when it comes to important people but nasty to anyone she does not deem so. The truth means nothing to her. Lou reminds one of a typical Hollywood publicist. “It’s amazing how much the people love you, you’re the biggest journalist in France, France,” she flatters her couture-wearing boss who seems to have the perfect life, the pre-requisite marriage and son, the grand apartment styled by an interior decorator right out of the pages of Architectural Digest.
But all does not bring happiness or even contentment. France’s life is turned upside down when she causes a traffic accident that leaves a delivery guy injured, prompting her to quit her job and retreat to a sanatorium in the French Alps. What is supposed to be a refuge, a sanctuary and a place to regroup, mentally and psychologically, turns out to come with its own sets of problems. Especially when she gets involved with Charles (Emanuele Arioli), a stranger battling his own demons. France is played by Léa Seydoux (No Time to Die, The French Dispatch, Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Inglorious Basterds). The score is by Christophe.
The inspiration for France was the novel Par ce demi-clair matin by Charles Péguy. The film, at first, has shades of other biting satires of the media and news business, like Network or Wag the Dog – but then evolves into a darker look into the human soul.
Writer-director Bruno Dumont, whose 11th film this is, has won numerous awards for his previous works, most of them in Cannes and Venice: The Life of Jesus (winner of the Caméra d’Or Special Mention ) Humanity (Cannes’ Grand Prix and Acting Awards for its two non-professional leads); the road movie Twentynine Palms, shot in Joshua Tree National Park desert (2003 Venice Film Festival); a second Cannes Grand Prix for Flanders, the biopic Camille Claudel 1915 starring Juliette Binoche, the musical Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (2017 Cannes Film Festival’s Directors’ Fortnight) and Joan of Arc (winner of Special Mention at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival’s Un Certain Regard).
France had its world-premiere at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.