Emmanuelle Ducros 08:56, November 29, 2023

Every morning after the 8:30 a.m. news, Emmanuelle Ducros unveils her "Journey into Absurdity" to listeners, from Monday to Thursday.

It's the story of a film that struggles to find its audience, as they say. And that's quite a story...

This film is one of the most resounding blunders of 2023. It's called Before the Flames Go Out, directed by Mehdi Fikri. A film adaptation of the Adama Traoré case. This man with a long criminal record who was killed in the Oise department in 2016 after a chase with the police. The film stars singer and actress Camélia Jordana, in the role of this man's sister. She will fight at the peril of her family to bring the truth to light. Camélia Jordana, Assa Traoré's film double, muse of the fight against police violence and systemic racism.

A story that has been talked about a lot, with a well-known actress playing a media character. The long-awaited film was released on November 15. And it didn't work out very well.
Euphemism. 118 prints had been planned, not huge, but not zero. The film registered only 18,000 admissions in its first week. It's very, very little.

What explains this underperformance?

If we are to believe Camélia Jordana, it is the fault of the fascists, who would have done everything to stifle a disturbing film about police violence. According to Libération, which devotes an article to the case, the far right sabotaged the film's rating on the reference site Allo Ciné. She is said to have led a raid to award him few stars. It has 2 out of 5. There is indeed a lot of activity on the rating of the film, the Allo Ciné website had to point this out. But that this is the work of the far right is unverifiable. The comments are mostly mixed, not particularly insulting.

Libération, which denounces the torpedoing of the fascists, also gave the film two stars out of 5, and a scathing comment: speaking of "policed violence that does not go beyond the stage of good intentions".

And the accusations of systemic racism that would have prevented this film from being a success?

The film's budget: €2.7 million, more than a third of which comes from public money. 500,000 euros by France television, 50,000 euros by the CNC's diversity fund and 250,000 euros by the Grand Est Region, held by the right. €38 of public money per spectator. The system may be racist, but it is generous.

Camélia Jordana has not been forgotten.

It was received everywhere, on national airwaves, at prime time, for promotion. The print media has devoted dozens of articles to him. It's not called being silenced or ostracized.

The film materializes a discrepancy. On the one hand, the media hype surrounding Assa Traoré, and on the other, real life. It's possible that viewers have had enough of the anti-heroes and aren't very interested in the saga of the Traoré family, better known for their works in the legal chronicle than in the Cahiers du cinéma. That they are a little fed up, too, of the accusation of systemic racism unleashed for a yes for a no, for a failure at the box office. This is a hypothesis.