The Hardline Right - France
The Hardline Right (A Droite Toute, 2009)
Modern politics may seem cutthroat, but they’re positively tame compared to 1930s Europe. It was a time of intense political strife, economic hardship, and old rivalries; the perfect era for the rise of the extreme right-wing. The results of this political chaos are well known, but less examined are the causes. Now, the hit French mini-series, The Hardline Right makes its debut on Eurochannel, presenting an uncompromising look at the rise of fascism in Europe.
This series, produced in 2009, is divided into four 53-minute films following the life of François Salmon (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu), a wealthy industrialist and a member of one of Europe’s most prominent families. His life is thrown into chaos when he joins up with a group of right wing extremists just before the Second World War.
Salmon begins his journey as a man of privilege who is concerned for his family. As the founder of a car manufacturing company, and a leading figure in France’s high society, he begins to feel threatened by the rise of the left wing party, and the anti-industrialist rhetoric they endorse. However, when he joins the hard-line party known as “Cagoule,” led by the enigmatic Deloncle (Didier Bezace), Salmon soon finds himself swept up in the group’s fiery rhetoric. Soon he begins to endorse the party’s anti-communist and anti-Semitic ideals, and even begins to actively sabotage the war effort of his own homeland. As the series progresses, Salmon spirals deeper and deeper into the depths of extremism, becoming something monstrous.
The year is 1935, and Francois Salmon (Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu), founder of Salmon Automobile Assembly, is in over his head. His business is overwhelming him, the demands of high-society seem endless, and worst of all his family is in chaos. His most beautiful daughter Danielle (Helene Degy) is caught up with an event for her Racing Club, his youngest daughter Annie is being fawned upon from afar by the militant communist Adrien Gerard (Loic Corbery), and the girls’ mother Simone (Beatrice Agenin) is cheating on him. Simone’s lover is none other than Lequesne (Samuel Labarthe), the lead writer for a fascist, anti-Semitic paper. The paper, which is financed by Salmon, is tied to two men, Darnand and Deloncle, founders of the “Cagoule” movement, a group of right-wing extremists whose goal is to overthrow the Republic. Salmon’s politics soon become a critical part of his life when, a year after his daughter’s marriage, his lifestyle is threatened by the political victory of the left wing party. To the wealthy aristocrat, this is a dire warning, and a signal that the communists have taken over his country…
The year is 1937. Three months have passed since the strike. Adrien (Loïc Corbery) and Elie (Florian Cadiou) sit together in Studio 28, watching the Grand Illusion by Jean Renoir. The two of them speak in hushed tones about Adrien’s beloved Annie Salmon. Annie (Delphine Chuillot) and Dalayrac (Nicolas Beaucaire) are growing closer, and their blossoming relationship drives Adrien into deeper fury. His jealousy begins to mingle with his political passions, and to Elie’s surprise, Adrien decides to quit his new job and enroll in the “International Brigade,” a revolutionary force pledged to fight alongside the Spanish Republicans.
The flames of war are beginning to heat up in France, but still life goes on. Lequesne (Samuel Labarthe) decides, oblivious to the drama unfolding around him, to write a novel. Deloncle (Didier Bezace) warns him that there might not be time for that; “Cagoule” is growing more and more active, and the plot to overthrow the left wing republic is about to go into the next stage. The two talk on, and meanwhile someone reading a newspaper quietly watches them from a nearby park bench. On the cover of the paper, the headlines proclaim in bold font the evils of communism. The hardline right is winning…