"Zone Interdite" filmed the flames as close as possible to the action -

Cover Films

  • This Sunday, M6 offers an immersive documentary with the Paris firefighters in 

    Zone Interdite


  • To be at the heart of the action, journalist Manuel Laigre followed a training course with the Paris firefighters before his shoot.

  • “The day when there is a fire, it's scary because we don't take care of you anymore,” he recalls.

The images are more than impressive.

In the first seconds of the documentary proposed by

Zone Interdite

this Sunday on M6, we witness the formation of the Paris fire brigade.

In a caisson, Dantesque flames are ready to take power over future recruits.

Among them, an intruder: the journalist Manuel Laigre.

As part of his film, the reporter decided to follow part of this demanding training to tame the fire and film the rescue operations as closely as possible.

He tells

20 Minutes

how this training went, the difficulty of doing his job in extreme situations and the fear he may have felt when he had the camera in hand.

Is this your first report with firefighters?

This is my first documentary on firefighters, I am not an expert on the subject.

I haven't worked with rescue too much, I don't know anything about it, I don't even have my first aid diploma.

But I was happy to do it.

It was also the channel's request to do something different so that we have the feeling of learning things, that we are not passive and that we are as close as possible with testimonials to have the feeling. firefighters that we are as close as possible to the flames.

How did you come up with the idea of ​​taking a training course?

I'm being asked to make a different documentary so I tell myself we're going to shoot with another camera to get something more cinematic.

The first traffic light arrives, and the disappointment is enormous.

I arrive at the foot of the building, impossible to enter.

But that's normal: I didn't have the equipment.

It's a huge frustration, I see my characters entering, leaving the building, stories to tell and me waiting in front.

I tell myself that I cannot continue.

We then ask for an appointment with the officers of the brigade and we naively ask them if we can pass the training.

They do not answer us immediately, it takes a few weeks and we manage to set up this training of private lessons with a few group sessions since the training lasts four months, including two months of victim assistance.

But yours didn't last four months in total?

I intervened over the last two months and we managed to eliminate all the lessons that were outside the scope: holding a fire hose, all those things that were manipulation.

What was interesting for me was to familiarize myself with the flames, the heat, the equipment, knowing how to equip oneself alone and especially not to disturb, knowing where to position oneself and recognizing the danger on the fumes, which are dangerous, which can burn you.

The challenge was to find his place.

The problem is also that in training, it is sanitized.

We are in a room, we send heat, flames, it's scary, it's hot, we burn ourselves.

But when you get to a traffic light, there are people walking past you, running out of the building, bumping into you.

It took us a year of filming because there was all this adaptation, you can't come like that and get into a fire.

It took a long time.

How did you manage to do your job as a journalist correctly in these extreme situations?

Sometimes I was told that this was not the time to ask a question, whether it was about the fires or about the training.

When it comes to training, I would arrange to do that at more appropriate times.

But on the fires, very often I asked my question and I did not have the answer.

The danger, I do not see it as they do.

Sometimes, I go a little too far so I have the right to a little sign.

But it was never bad.

I fought to have this training, to convince them, to succeed because if they had detected a problem, they would have told me stop.

I managed to get everything and the day there is a fire it's scary because you are no longer being looked after.

Were you sometimes afraid then?

You enter this hall of a building, it smells very strongly of burning, you meet people in the wrong way.

You can read the fear on their faces.

At one point, I thought to myself “is that what I'm doing?

What did they see?

What are the things that scared them?

There was a little wavering on the first fire.

It is no longer sanitized, everyone shouts, the firefighters too.

We do not know all the dangers, we do not know if there are victims, if it will explode.

I was scared the first time, but afterwards, it goes quickly because the building is invested.

It lasted a few minutes, even on the other lights it passed.

Is it easy to take some distance from your subject for a documentary like this?

The doctors I have met tell me that it takes a little empathy to be good, so it's already complicated.

Very often, I projected myself on the interventions.

It's complicated to put barriers between the victims and us.

Then, with the characters, you had to be close to them in such complicated situations because we team up.

When we arrive at an event, we enter into the intimacy of these people who are going through a horrible situation and who see a camera that arrives.

We had to be one with the medical team to make this documentary.

The presence of the camera had to not disturb the intervention.

I started my shots quite far away and then I gradually approached, I gained the trust of those around the victims to try not to disguise reality.

The goal was not to change anything in reality.


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  • Television

  • Fire

  • M6

  • Firefighters

  • Restricted zone