The Yellow Vests movement and the ensuing crisis in 2018 are among the events that have severely shaken the first five-year term of Head of State Emmanuel Macron. Released in 2021, “La Fracture” takes this movement as its context. The film did not only make friends at the Élysée, especially after the words of one of its actors.
The divide : punch film
In October 2018, while the French government was struggling to appease the anger of citizens following in particular the increase in the price of gas and fuel, a movement is born. The latter, known as the Yellow Vests, multiplies demonstrations and illegal blockages. Overwhelmed by events, the government responds through the police. It is then reported very violent repression against the demonstrators, which creates a deep rupture between the people and their President Emmanuel Macron. It is this political and social context that director Catherine Corsini wanted to show in 2021 through her new film entitled The divide.
Thereby, The divide follows Raf and Julie, a couple in crisis who find themselves in a stressed hospital emergency department. In fact, they go there the evening of a Yellow Vests demonstration that went wrong. Their meeting with Yann, an injured and angry demonstrator, will turn their night upside down.
With a cast composed of Pio Marmai, Valeria Bruna Tedeschi, Marina Foïs and Aissatou Diallo Sagana, La Fracture was well received by critics, also garnering 5 nominations for 1 award (Best Supporting Actress for Aissatou Diallo Sagna).
The divide was already a big thorn in the side of the Macron government, because of its complex subject. The situation then worsened when the presentation of the film at Cannes. Thus, during the feature film’s press conference on the Croisette, Pio Marmaï answers a question and launches into a tirade with strong words, which is broadcast everywhere.
Macron, I would like to go to his house through the toilets and through the pipes and kick his ass, obviously, a bit like everyone else, in absolute terms…
The video extract obviously aroused an outcry, especially among LREM elected officials like Christophe Castaner who ironically awards the actor the “Palm for the most vulgar remark”. Minister Elizabeth Moreno also denounces the statements of the comedian of The divide during his interview on LCI.
However, the controversy was quickly extinguished by several media, including Paris Match which calls for a recontextualization of Pio Marmaï’s intervention. Indeed, the actor is questioned by a journalist who asks him what he would say to Macron if the latter invited him to watch a screening of the film at the Élysée. The actor then responded by detailing the character of Yann, a protester revolted by the government. The violent words he addresses to the Head of State are in reality the thoughts of the character he plays. Case closed…