A Petition Stopped The Broadcasting Of A Romance TV Movie Around The Bataclan Terrorist Attack
Sometimes, petitions are well founded and sometimes they are working. French TV channel France 2 has postponed the diffusion of a TV movie after a petition on Change.org received 40,000 signatures. The movie was a fictional love story happening around the 2015 terrorist attack at the Bataclan in Paris, a tragedy which killed 130 people including 89 inside the theater. The attack, which happened during Eagles of Death Metal’s concert on November 13th, was followed by several mass shootings at café and restaurants, and the gunmen inside the Bataclan even took hostages leading to a stand-off with police. It was a terrifying night for the French capital, but ‘That evening’, directed by Marion Laine, was using the background of this horrific day for a romance between Irène (played by French actress Sandrine Bonnaire) a young woman living near the Bataclan, and an Afghan refugee Karan (played by Simon Abkarian). In the fictional story, both of them meet when helping wounded people who have escaped the attack, and fall in love with each other when they meet again a few days later… meanwhile we are let to decide whether they really fall in love with other or whether they become close because of the trauma they have experienced together.
The victims of the attack were not happy about the premise of the movie, and journalist Claire Peltier, whose partner David (also the father of her 2 children) was killed during the attack, launched a petition to stop the movie to be diffused on TV: ‘This project hurt and chock us… we are outraged that such a project could be made so soon after such a violent event,’ she declared while asking France 2 to give up on the movie.
‘2 years later, our wounds are still open, our grief is still immense, our lives are bruised,’ she writes on the Petition page… ‘Do you really think this project has the intention to pay homage to our dead?’ she continues…. ‘we need silence, modesty, dignity and respect, we don’t need another fictional romance used to wake up the TV ratings of your channel’.
France 2 has announced that the project was postponed until the production hasn’t consulted the association of the victims of the Bataclan attack. So far no date has been scheduled for the movie, which is currently undergoing its editing phase.
The story sure had a very exploitative angle, and I can imagine why people who went through the Bataclan hell don’t want to see this day used for a lame romance TV movie… especially only 2 years after the event. I just wonder why France 2 didn’t think about consulting the victims before launching the project… What were they thinking?
According to French newspaper Le Monde, France 2 program director defended the project by saying that ‘the idea was not to speak directly about the attacks’, adding that the director did ‘talk to people in order to be the most accurate she could’.
Of course there are movies made about the most horrific periods of times, movies about wars and genocides, movies about the holocaust and movies about attacks of all kinds, while war is the background for Russian best novels. However, this one was probably too soon for the victims, while it seemed to trivialize the attack in itself for the sake of another romance movie. To be fair, I haven’t seen the movie, and it may have been either good or the worst exploitation ever, who knows…
If you want to see a movie about the same tragedy, you could watch Colin Hanks’ sensible documentary ‘Nos Amis’, but of course this is not a fiction. At the end, this story walks a thin line between exploitation and artistic expression, despite the empathy we all have for the victims of this tragedy, this could be perceived as censorship of art. What would Eagles of Death Metal’s Jesse Hughes think about it?