This is Our Land

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France | 2016 | 114 minutes | Lucas Belvaux

In northern France, a beloved and devoted nurse is offered a candidacy for mayor by a far-right party, leading to a political campaign that will test her will in this timely and sharp study on how populist ideology can quietly but decisively contaminate “good” people.

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Practically bursting from today's headlines, This Is Our Land dramatizes how the siren song of populism has taken over politics in parts of France, leading to the rise of real-life right-wing presidential candidate Marine Le Pen. In this fictionalized account of the rise of Le Pen's Front National (FN) party, the film focuses on Pauline (Emilie Dequenne), a single mother of two making ends meet as a nurse and taking care of her elderly father, a socialist former union organizer. When she reconnects with a high-school sweetheart, now affiliated with the FN surrogate "Patriotic Bloc" party, the previously apolitical Pauline becomes seduced by the narrative that hard-working "regular" people like her (read: white, poor) have been marginalized by "outsider" politicians. Soon, Pauline agrees to run for mayor as the Patriotic Bloc's "woman of the people" candidate, dyeing her hair blonde to better fit the crypto-fascist tinge of the rhetoric. The setting of Lucas Belvaux's scathing film in Pas de Calais is no accident—as the scene of countless incursions on Gallic pride, northern France is a Le Pen stronghold. While Belvaux's cautionary tale is decidedly French, This Is Our Land's themes are universal—and particularly relevant to the resurgence of xenophobic movements elsewhere in the world, such as the U.K.'s "Brexit" vote and a certain Twitter-obsessed, part-time White House occupant.

Director Biography

Belgian filmmaker Lucas Belvaux debuted as an actor in 1980, starting with the television film L'enfant dans le corridor and going on to star in films such as Grand bonheur (1993) and Army of Crime (2009). He made his directorial debut in 1992 with Parfois Trop D'amour.

Sponsored by Alliance Francaise de Seattle, French American Cultural Society, French Immersion School of Washington, The French American School of Puget Sound, TV5MONDE

  • Original Language Title: Chez Nous
  • Director: Lucas Belvaux
  • Principal Cast: Emilie Dequenne, André Dussolier, Guillaume Gouix, Catherine Jacob, Anne Marivin, Patrick Descamps
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: France, Belgium
  • Year: 2016
  • Running Time: 114 minutes
  • Producer: David Frenkel
  • Screenplay: Lucas Belvaux, Jérôme Leroy
  • Cinematographers: Pierric Gantelmi d’Ille
  • Editors: Ludo Troch
  • Music: Frédéric Vercheval
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: 38 Witnesses (2012); Rapt (2009); The Right of the Weakest (2006); After Life (2002); An Amazing Couple (2002); On the Run (2002); Just for Laugh (1996); Parfois Trop D’Amour (1992)
  • Language: French
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Le Pacte