L'Ordre à tout prix
Samuel Lajus
2021 - 61 min - Video Full HD - Couleur - France

The maintenance of order is a very French specialty. What citizens cannot get from the state in the hemicycle, they have to win in the street. When France rumbles, the strategy and control of public order become a crucial political issue. Between protecting the institutions and guaranteeing the right to demonstrate: the right balance is subtle.
December 2018. At the beginning of the Gilets jaunes movement, the principles of "French-style" policing are shattered. The ransacking of the Arc de Triomphe, the hundreds of injuries among the demonstrators and the forces of order... the unheard-of violence of these images and their symbolic power deeply marked the minds. The Republic felt threatened. The government ratified a new, harder line, which was going to undermine the fundamentals of public order. In return, the distrust of a part of the population towards order and power, already well established in the streets for the last ten years, is reinforced to the point that some fear that the right to demonstrate will be called into question. How did this come about?
In order to understand, the film takes the option of interviewing the so-called "legitimate" force and confronting them with the images of these confrontations. They are CRS, mobile gendarmes, members of the BRAV (Brigades de Répression de l'Action Violente): on the front line during the demonstrations, they tell us about the reality of their job, the need for training, the evolution of their relationship with citizens, their perception of political choices... On the other hand, the hierarchy, Laurent Nuñez, Secretary of State to the Minister of the Interior, and the police prefects, Michel Delpuech and Didier Lallement, explain and justify their tactical and political choices. And political.
If the multiplication of images amplifies the perception of police violence as well as that of the demonstrators, is the situation really unprecedented? Is the street more violent than yesterday? Does the maintenance of order legitimise certain forms of violence? Is the protection of property in competition with that of fundamental freedoms?
The stakes are high: how can we reconcile political demands and the management of new forms of protest, while guaranteeing the possibility of expressing oneself, which is the basis of our democratic society? How can we avoid being trapped in a logic of camp against camp? While the social climate promises new tremors at the end of a health crisis that has become an economic and social crisis, this documentary reveals the art of protecting and controlling angry crowds.


Distributor : CLPB Rights