Alizée Chiappini and Adèle Flaux
YAMI 2 – Christophe Nick
After a summer 2018 marked by the heat wave, the wildfires and the resignation of Nicolas Hulot, part of the youth, panic-stricken by the inaction of governments in the face of the climate crisis, decided to join forces to awaken consciences. A HQ, La Base, is rented in the heart of Paris. In the making since COP21, an informal climate international links different European protest movements: Extinction Rebellion, Ende Gelände, Alternatiba, ANV-COP21… Among the French leaders are young people under the age of 30. Some, like Élodie and Pauline, have resigned from a prestigious position to devote themselves to a fight they consider crucial. After a first victory – the petition called “The Affair of the Century” and its 2 million signatures in two weeks – the activists of La Base organized 134 portrait stalls of Emmanuel Macron in town halls, retransmitted on social networks, in order to denounce “the emptiness of his ecological policy”. A triumphant march in Place de la République closes with the announcement of a mass action of civil disobedience. But at the time of the TV news, there is disappointment: the media do not mention the demonstration at all, focusing instead on the excesses following a demonstration of the “yellow jackets”.
By following a handful of French leaders, shown in action but also intimately, the film captures the emergence of a new generation of activists who, in their own pragmatic, open and combative way, are reinventing civic engagement. Operating as a network, the activists of “La base” don’t hesitate to cross the Channel to take lessons in non-violence from their British cousins or to get closer to the “yellow vests” to bring social and environmental struggles together. Punctuated by strong moments, such as the blockade of La Défense, symbol of the “republic of polluters”, in the face of ulcerated or approving executives, this limpid story, traversed by a sense of urgency, brings to life from the inside a year and a half of unprecedented mobilization, a courageous struggle that will earn its “leaders” arrests, gassings and lawsuits. This documentary is at the same time a manual of contemporary activism, a citizen epic and an initiatory novel, the adventure going through different phases: enthusiasm giving way to disillusionment, when this peaceful movement will be overrun by the black blocks, before finding a new breath.