Reportage. Chez Nous, a new film by Lucas Belvaux, unmasks the National Front’s fascist tactics.

A new French film has Marine Le Pen scared

A film is scaring the National Front. The movie Chez Nous by the Belgian director Lucas Belvaux (screenplay with Jérôme Leroy, a great connoisseur of the far right), released this week in French theaters, tells the story of a nurse from the old mining regions in northern France. She is a good person, appreciated by everybody, who is recruited by a far-right party. It sheds light on the double talk of the National Front, which seduces the working classes. They even “emulate Goebbels,” in the opinion of the National Front MP Gilbert Collard.

The film unmasks Marine Le Pen (the character played by Catherine Jacob is inspired by her) and her “populist discourse.” Belvaux asks: “Why do some people vote against their interests? Why do the working classes intend to vote for the National Front? How can they adhere to this cause and the people who seem so far removed from what they are? Because people join anything that excites them or hurts them, because there is denial, amnesia.”

The extreme right has not liked it. Florian Philippot, right arm of Marine Le Pen, never misses an opportunity to attack Belvaux. “He exudes so much class and superiority.” On Wednesday, in front of a cinema that was showing Chez Nous in Hénin-Beaumont — the city evoked in the film, in which the mayor is a member of the National Front Party — the far right staged a protest.

Two months prior to the first electoral round, on April 23, Wednesday there was a clarification in the chaotic and uncertain situation of the campaign.

François Bayrou, centrist leader of the Democratic Movement, offered an alliance to Emmanuel Macron, acknowledging the “gravity of the situation” and to avoid “a dispersion of supply and votes.” After weeks of uncertainty, Bayrou resigned and will not show up for the fourth time in the presidential elections.

His proposal to Macron is based on four points: a real alternation of practices and guidelines; the moralization of political life and the end of conflicts of interest; protection for the weakest and defense of wages; and more diversity in parliament.

Bayrou has always been associated with the right, though in 2012 he endorsed Hollande, something the Républicains have never forgiven. In the right-wing primaries, Bayrou sided with Alain Juppe, who was defeated by Fillon. But Fillon is mired in the Penelopegate scandal and the Democratic Movement leader decided to cast his lot with Macron.

Bayrou, who is perhaps hoping for the prime minister post, does not bring to Macron a great political consensus — less than 6 percent today, down from the 18.5 percent it had reached in 2007. But he brings the experience of decades of political life and the weight of the past that pulls him to the right of the political spectrum. But Macron also received Wednesday the support of François de Rugy, the ecologist who had participated in the primaries of the Socialist Party. The door of the social democratic wing’s alliance is open.

None of this is good news for the PS candidate Benoît Hamon, especially since Macron appears as a unifying force. On the left the attempts of unification are ongoing: The negotiations with Yannick Jadot of Europe Ecology are difficult and Jean-Luc Mélenchon closed the door. Bayrou’s adhesion to Macron is bad news for François Fillon too, in spite of the fact that the polls show he has recovered some ground, despite the scandals.

The National Front isn’t only dealing with the cultural unmasking caused by the film Chez Nous. On Wednesday, there was a new chapter of judicial unmasking: Le Pen’s former bodyguard, Thierry Légier, and her Chief of Staff Catherine Griset (and former sister-in-law) were questioned and detained. They must answer for the wages perceived from the European Parliament for a fake job in Strasbourg while they worked in France for the National Front. The European Parliament asked Le Pen to pay back €339,946. The National Front headquarters were raided again, followed by another raid at the home of the former bodyguard. Le Pen called it “political games” intended to harm her.

The far-right leader has just returned from a trip to Lebanon, where she met with President Michel Aoun and the former military leader Samir Geagea (both long-time friends of Jean-Marie Le Pen), but she did not have the success she had expected because she refused to wear a veil for the meeting and did not encounter Beirut’s Great Mufti.

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