Terrorism and espionage in Secrets of State
by Fabien Lemercier
Hitting screens tomorrow is a film about the invisible war between the secret services and terrorist movements: Secrets of State [+see also:
film profile]. This powerful third feature by Philippe Haïm has won over and astonished much of the press.
Produced and distributed by UGC, the film – which combines fast-paced action and in-depth investigation – stars Gérard Lanvin, Vahina Giocante, Nicolas Duvauchelle and Simon Abkarian. The cast also includes Rachida Brakni, Mehdi Nebbou and Aurélien Wiik.
Co-written by the director and Julien Sibony with the participation of Natalie Carter, the film compares the experiences of a young female student recruited by the DGSE (General Directorate of Foreign Security) and a petty criminal enlisted by a terrorist network. Soldiers in a ruthless war fought in the name of opposing ideologies, they nonetheless share the same fate. As the director explains: "They are young people crushed by war machines that use and manipulate them from A to Z".
The plot was developed by Haïm (discovered in 1997 with his debut feature Barracuda) through extensive research and with the help of numerous specialists: an islamologist and doctor in clinical psychology, a former journalist specialised in the Arab and Muslim world, two former French secret service officers, the editor-in-chief of Cahiers d'Orient and a former head of the National Counter-Terrorist Division.
Fascinated by the world of espionage, Haïm cites the influence of US films, including Three Days of the Condor, Syriana and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. The director was also inspired by French films such as Henri Verneuil’s The Serpent, Michel Deville’s Dossier 51 and even Arnaud Desplechin’s The Sentinel.
Haïm commented: "Why should taking a critical look at the world around us be the preserve of US films?" He continued: "Why hide the fact that our secret services, the central administrations of our democracy, operate using mainly illegal methods?"
Produced by Yves Marmion for UGC YM, Secrets of State received co-production support from France 3 Cinéma and France 2 Cinéma, as well as pre-sales from Canal + and TPS Star. International sales are being handled by UGC.
(Translated from French)
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