The series enters the political arena

The series enters the political arena

On the occasion of the 2024 European elections, a spotlight on these fictions which shed light on the contemporary political machine from the inside, in France and among our neighbors.

In the middle of a meeting of the European Parliament, Samy Kantor (Xavier Lacaille), a young assistant, jokes with his neighbor about the difficulty of an MP pronouncing “Kyrgyzstan”, then about the canteen satisfaction questionnaire. He then sees one of the directors general of the Commission arrive, with a serious face, who will tell him that Europe is in danger. On the set of the final season of the series Parliament, we discover this scene which sums up its brilliance, between comedy and depth: making the little hands of the European Union laugh, while revealing their humanity and their commitment. Since its launch in 2020, the fiction, which follows the candid Samy who comes to assist a deputy lost in the institutional labyrinth, Michel Specklin, has fascinated 7 million French people.

On the chessboard of political series, Parliament, created by Noé Debré, is one of the rare ones to play the humor card. In France, we can also cite Under control (Arte, 2022), satire by creator and screenwriter Charly Delwart who propels a humanitarian to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the vein of Anglo-Saxon successes: The Thick of it (2005) and Veep (2012).

Machiavelli's thrill

More often, the representation of power fascinates by its dark side, a field where American references have imposed themselves. To the White House (1999) or House of Cards (2013). But, for around fifteen years, Europe has also left its mark with dramas and thrillers such as Borgen (2010, Denmark), 1992 (2015, Italy) and Black Baron (2016, France). The latter, by Éric Benzekri and Jean-Baptiste Delafon, narrates the shenanigans and then the redemption of a socialist elected official, Philippe Rickwaert (Kad Merad).

Their specificity? Awareness of the fragility of democracy, according to Nils Ahl, co-author of Dictionary of television series : “Unlike stories from across the Atlantic to the glory of a hero, they reveal the collective work of the headliners and their collaborators, prey to doubt and worried about the rise of demagogues. » Verisimilitude is cultivated there by authors and consultants who know the political structures of their country inside out and nourish the episodes of their experiences. Pierre Dorac, former administrator within the EU who became co-writer of Parliament, sketches characters “who are never the replica of one personality, but the sum of several”. Éric Benzekri uses his experience as a socialist advisor to Julien Dray and Jean-Luc Mélenchon to build “a dramaturgy of speech”, according to the director of seasons 1 and 2, Ziad Doueiri.

As for the expectation In the dark, with a classic but gripping style, it is based on the novel by former Prime Minister Édouard Philippe and his advisor Gilles Boyer, who participated in its adaptation. The series begins during the right-wing primary. The measured Paul Francoeur (Melvil Poupaud) wins his nomination against the radical Marie-France Trémeau (Karin Viard) and goes on the campaign trail. All against a backdrop of fraud. “Coming from the field, we have a fairly precise idea of ​​what is said or not, of what is played out in the looks,” recognized Gilles Boyer during the Séries Mania 2024 festival.

Beyond reality

Entertainment offers more than a faithful reflection of the greats of this world. ” In Black Baron Or Borgen, fiction was able to get ahead of reality,” notes Nils Ahl. In France, elected officials consider Éric Benzekri as an oracle of the recomposition of parties; in Denmark, Helle Thorning-Schmidt was appointed Prime Minister a year after Birgitte Nyborg's character. From there to deduce that the series would have an impact on real life… In the eyes of the expert, “they accustom the viewer to look at politicians differently” and to reposition themselves as citizens. Pierre Dorac thus imagined “eight spots with the heroes of Parliament to appeal in a smiling manner to voters to make their voices heard on June 9.” In the first clip, Michel Specklin laments that he no longer feels concerned by this deadline, because he “dropped out too long ago”. And Samy remotivates him: “Michel, it’s like cycling, you can’t forget it! » Before explaining to him how to renew his electoral card on the Internet. What if, from the sofa to the polls, there was only one step?

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