local politics, star of the big screen

While the television channels are talking, from interviews to banners, on the search for sponsorship, the fluctuations of the polls or the calibrated movements of the candidates declared in the presidential election, it is another policy which occupies the cinema screens. On January 26, by chance, two films will be released in theaters that focus on municipal campaigns.

Their forms, at first sight, seem poles apart. The promises, directed by Thomas Kruithof and selected at the Venice Film Festival, has the trappings of a drama. We follow, transformed into the mayor of a dilapidated Parisian suburb confronted with substandard housing and slum landlords, an Isabelle Huppert alternating authoritarian stiffness and warm handshakes, hesitating to represent herself and flanked by a devoted director of cabinet ( Reda Kateb).

At the opposite, Municipal, by Thomas Paulot, unveiled in preview at the last Cannes Film Festival, is a UFO-like docufiction in which an actor (Laurent Papot) is propelled as a candidate for the real municipal election of 2020, in Revin, a deindustrialized town in the Ardennes.

The pragmatic figure of the suburban mayor

The two projects are born around the presidential election of 2017 and before the success, beyond the 700,000 entries, d’Alice and the mayor, by Nicolas Pariser, released in the fall of 2019 and worn by Fabrice Luchini, who portrays a city councilor from Lyon at the end of his rope. “Initially, I wondered about the representativeness of citizens on a local scale: how to show these people that we never see in the cinema? », explains Thomas Paulot, whose grandfather was, for three decades, the mayor of Tailly, in Côte-d’Or, a village of less than 200 inhabitants.

Read the interview: Article reserved for our subscribers Nicolas Pariser, director of “Alice and the Mayor”: “I wanted to represent a monarch in his stronghold”

At the same time, Thomas Kruithof follows the 2017 campaign with a desire, “to make a film about political courage”. He specifies : ” I did not want to limit myself to the conquest of power but to question the local level as a means of changing, or not, people’s lives. » His desire begins to take shape when he meets Jean-Baptiste Delafon, co-creator and screenwriter from the Serie dark baron. « dark baron depicted very ideological issues, the fractures of the left, the confrontation of values, the strings of the media, around a character ready to do anything to make his ideas triumph. There, on the contrary, I wanted to work around the pragmatic, applied, almost “de-ideologicalized” figure of the suburban mayor. Delafon explains.

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