Committed but not dogmatic.
The whistleblower figure is popular on the big screen at the moment. and quite rightly so: no one denies the bravery of these new heroes and heroins nor their usefulness for the good health of democracy. But having a character fighting alone for the truth against a system a million times stronger is not enough to make a good film. Of course the genre guarantees suspense and highlights, but to be really successful, the writers and directors must definitely avoid the gaping trap that risks opening up under their feet, that of Manichaeism and self-righteousness. If they do mean to create a strong work of art they should then definitely avoid distributing good and bad points, pointing out the good guys and the bad guys. Otherwise their film will be worth little more than a low-grade soap opera. Regarding Farid Bentoumi's film "Rouge (Red Soil)", which falls into the category described above, we can say, if you pass me the pun, that all the lights are green. Its relevant subject to begin with: the denunciation of a secret affair of toxic discharges, polluting a chemical plant and its neighborhood as well as a lake , the whole thing inspired by real facts having occurred in Ajka, Hungary (but which can happen anywhere on the globe, including at the Lake of Gardannes in the South of France for example). Also to the point is the realistic framework in which the action takes place: the natural setting, an existing chemical plant in Savoie, a good description of the factory's working and health conditions (symptomatic is the scant attention paid to occupational medicine within its walls). Everything in this film simply rings true. Having successfully created a convincing setting, the director can now launch the young Nour on her difficult crusade for the truth to the unreserved adhesion of the viewer.. But who in fact is Nour? Well, the young woman is a hospital nurse who, following a professional problem, has become a company nurse for a chemical company. A key element is that she owes this work to her father Slimane, a specialized worker and staff representative, a respected figure who has been a fixture of the plant for decades. A blessing that unfortunately turns to a curse when Nour begins to understand that there is something abnormal going on in this enterprise. Honest to the core, the young woman soon finds herself facing an insoluble dilemma: should she put gratitude and family feelings first and thus become an accomplice to a system that damages the health of a great number of people? Or should she fight for the truth at the risk of alienating the love of her entire family ? Far from weakening the film by excessive sentimentality, this intimate drama actually gives "Rouge" more relef, while avoiding any soulless (and accordingly counter-productive) dogmatism. With such a rich psychological study it has indeed nothing of a soulless political tract. It is a million much better: a double cry from the heart, both social and sentimental, the one and the other enriching each other. There is no doubt that success could only be achieved with the investment of top-notch players; mission accomplished! Embodying Slimane and Nour, two torn characters, Sami Bouajila and Zita Hanrot are up to the task, the former pointing out the flaws of his character under a veneer of serenity and benevolence while the young actress displays a winning mix of naturalness, energy and sensitivity. To this duo of great quality is added Céline Sallette, convincing as a committed journalist with a dark side. Thanks to their art and direcctor's no one is caricatured : everyone has their reasons, including the plant manager (Olivier Gourmet, too little on screen but mesmerizing as always),who cannot be completely hated. Technically speaking, the film is classic but devilishly effective, well paced and catchy from start to finish. The scope format is skillfully used and the few color effects, including the regular appearance of the color red, both a symbol of aggression (the polluted lake, the toxic mud) or of passionate impulses (Nour's bright red wedding dress, her protective gear),are a welcome artistic plus. Go and see "Rouge", a film not only committed to a good cause but also thrilling, thought-porovoking and moving. You will see red in front of the practices denounced in this excellent work. Your eyes will be reddened by Nour's impossible choice. As for Farid Bentoumi, he has nothing to... blush about!
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An occupational nurse attempts to blow the whistle on toxic waste leaking from a chemical plant.
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Committed but not dogmatic.
Committed but not dogmatic.
Culturally disquieting ...
Broadly this is a tale about Chemical companies dumping waste in the land and lying about it. Some people want to keep the lie as it protects their jobs despite the damage; others get shirty and want something-to-be-done-about-it
This is well-done here; kinda French Arab Silkwood ... OK that is dealt with
But really as a viewer I saw a masterclass in acculturation
Most of the actors here are French Arabs so wedged into France that there is nothing Arab left; apart from the ethnicity
As if you made a film in the US with Chinese American actors who only celebrate the 4th of July and Thanksgiving NEVER mentioning The Chinese New Year; talking about football scores and baseball whilst drinking Bud and banging about the right to bear arms ... 100% acculturation
Here in France it transcribes at a party where waltz is the dance of choice; the speech is 100% French only the sister speaks French with a slight Arab intonation on some words; all the main actors might be called Jean-Claude and Marie and you would be none the wiser. And yet ethnically 100% North African
So no Arab food no mention of Arab anything at any point. The language of Arabic is not used once not even a word ....
The filmmaker here wanted I guess to show full integration
Some might find this disquieting. A blend of cultures is a cool thing; blend of languages seen in many French-Arab films; references; mention of "the old country" etc etc maybe this is what happens with 4th and 5th gen folks; but it is unnerving ...
And then you see the relationship between the father and the daughter and THERE all the values of "the old country" are there he treats her like one treats a girl in the "the old country". He is the boss. She should listen. So like a fake rolex he is a French worker but the dynamics in the family are pure North African. So it kind of irks. Who are you? Where are you? No French father does this in 2021 ... not like that
Very odd ... not sure what to make of all this .... what it bodes for the future of that community ... one could argue it needs to fly two flags culturally not one semi-fake one
The film is average + a 6 or a 7.
Good ecology tale
What I liked in this movie, is that there is no didactic point of view, I mean there is no intent to teach you anything, to tell you that a factory is destined to increase pollution or journalist purpose is to jam the economical system.... Both point of views are exposed. A good character study too, though a bit smooth, predictable, too" french" maybe. A good American film presented for the Academy Awards would have been more powerful. Of course. Sami Bouajila is outstanding here, so is Olivier Gourmet, as the big executive. I will finish by saying that in this kind of issue, you have to choose between economy, employment, business and health, ecology, protection of the.environment. You CAN NOT HAVE BOTH. You see, a very simple problem but unfortunately without any solution. The same with any politics for a president or a prime minister, he has to choose between social care or stock market...A "simple" matter of priority. That depends of the individuals. Socialism or liberalism. Ecology - health- or economy issue is exactly the same.