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Final Day – May 1


Marine Le Pen was defeated in the French election that brought Emmanuel Macron to power, but her far right-wing party, with its nationalist, anti-immigrant platform, lives on to feed the fear and resentment that begot Donald Trump’s election. THIS IS OUR LAND is a fictionalized story of an attractive working-class single mother in the North of France who naively agrees to run for mayor, representing the Patriotic Bloc. Lucas Belvaux, who previously directed RAPT, a terrific thriller about a French politician’s kidnapping, deals with another type of kidnapping here: With the help of a charming André Dussollier as the town’s esteemed physician, the Populists’ rhetoric seizes control of the minds of the electorate. With Catherine Jacob as the blonde-bobbed leader who never met an angry crowd she couldn’t make angrier.



“Berthier is played by the always avuncular André Dussollier, so the revelation that he is the local contact for the dark forces behind the charismatic politician Agnes Dorgelle carries some of the shock we felt when Henry Fonda killed the kid in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST (1968). (It) may be a good rather than great film, but it is brave, committed and, in its choice of tone, extremely timely. For once, ‘good’ is what we need.”
– Nick Roddick, Sight & Sound
“The drama is well-paced, and all of the actors are wonderful. Mr. Dussollier, a regular presence in the late works of Alain Resnais, is resourceful in communicating Berthier’s disturbing dual nature, and Ms. Dequenne remains appealing even when her character is making the most grievously ill-advised choices. THIS IS OUR LAND is scariest and most effective in its illumination of the appeal of today’s particular brand of French nationalism. [Catherine] Jacob’s work as Agnes galvanizes.”
– Glenn Kenny, The New York Times
“A slow-motion horror movie.  A gutsy, discomforting movie about going along to get along, and just how dangerous that impulse can ultimately be. Quite bracing to experience the French equivalent of a two-time Obama voter who flipped to Trump.”
– Mike D’Angelo, The AV Club

“A thinly veiled assault on France’s far-right National Front. Candidates and volunteers are briefed on how to subtly play upon the prejudices and fears of potential supporters. These sequences carry a plausible tang of authenticity, while the gradual process by which the ‘apolitical’ Pauline.. is drawn into the (the party’s) web also feels convincingly organic.”
–  Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter

“(The filmmaker’s) theme is the cinematic equivalent of all those articles trying to understand the disgruntled white voters who supported Trump. The parallels between France and the U.S. won’t be lost on anyone, as the combination of shallow thinking with latent bigotry are hallmarks of populist voters in both nations.”
– Jay Weissberg, Variety

Film Forum