Seen at the 2021 London Film Festival, 'La fracture' (English title: 'The Divide') would be very much at home on the stage, as it is mostly set in one location (a Paris hospital emergency department) in which a small group of characters play out their stories while confrontations between Gilets Jaunes protestors and the police take place outside - confrontations which eventually threaten the safety of the hospital itself and those in it.
The long-term relationship of lesbian couple Raphaëlle (Valeria Bruni Tedeschi) and Julie (Marina Foïs) is on the rocks when Raphaëlle damages her elbow, putting her career as a cartoonist in jeopardy ("It looks like a knee on my elbow!" she wails when she sees the swelling). Truck driver Yann (Pio Marmaï, as grubbily sexy as ever) is brought into the hospital with a leg riddled by police bullets and uses much of the time he spends waiting to espouse the Gilets Jaunes' cause. Rounding out the quartet of top-notch leading performances is Aïssatou Diallo Sagna, very convincing as a harrassed but competent nurse (she is, apparently, a medical worker in real life).
This is a very political film and that provokes its weakness - just one point, but a major one: it is extremely one-sided in its sympathy with the Gilets Jaunes' cause. To some, the Gilets are a group of heroes fighting for 'economic justice' and political reforms; to others they are a mob bent on achieving - at best through disruption, at worst through violence - the reversal of political decisions taken by a democratically-elected government that can anyway be voted out at the next election. Discuss! But the film puts forward so heavily the 'heroes' argument that by the time, close to the very end of the film, a police officer comments how scared he has been by the violence - the first time any even remotely anti-Gilets comment is heard - it is as if director/co-writer Catherine Corsini has included that scene merely to refute any allegations she has produced a very long party political broadcast. But by that stage it is far too late - Corsini's colours are nailed very firmly to the mast. Personally, I prefer to be treated as adult enough to make up my own mind, so at least one sympathetic main character putting the French State's case would have been welcome.
Do watch this film - the story is engrossing and the performances are brilliant. But - whatever your political opinions - do not treat it as a documentary!
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