SCAN THE TELE – This political thriller, designed by Jo Nesbo the writer, imagine an invasion of smooth Scandinavian country by Russia. A chilling plot.
What would we have done during the Occupation? Would we have had the courage to resist the invader or cowardice to continue living almost as before? Such is the haunting question raised by the Occupied series aired from Thursday night on Arte at 20 h 55. At the root of this political thriller budget of 11 million euros, the Norwegian writer Jo Nesbo * , who imagined the invasion of Norway by Russia.
The pitch of Occupied is of biblical simplicity. In the near future that resembles our present, the Norwegian Prime Minister, Jesper Berg (Henrik Mestad), a hardcore environmentalist, announces the abandonment of the exploitation of oil in favor of renewable energies. Hydrocarbons, which made the prosperity of the country, are sacrificed on the altar of the fight against climate change.
With the blessing of the European Union, Russia decides to occupy Norway for boost oil production. The invasion is progressive-ment. No troops or boots noise. First with the arrival of some “advisers” Russian and an interference with more and more prevalent in the country’s affairs.
For politicians and citizens alike (a journalist, a restorer , etc.), decision time has come: to resist or collaborate. Commit to defend democracy at the cost of his life or arrange with this presence that disrupts only the daily.
“if it happened?”
“The Occupied idea came to me long before Russia decided to invade Ukraine, says Jo Nesbo. The war is part of my personal history. My father, whose parents were anticommunist, collaborated with the Nazis to fight the Red Army to the Russian border. The family of my mother was she in the Resistance. In Norway, everyone says son of a former resistant. But in 1940, when Germany invaded our country, most people head down and cooperated. I often wondered what I would have done in 1940. It is very difficult to judge the commitments of that time. This is the starting point for Occupied. “
As usual, the reality exceeded fiction. The annexation of Ukraine by Russia in 2014 now makes feasible a plot that might seem preposterous. “What seemed complicated to me when the project was launched in early 2013, it was his apparent absurdity admits Erik Skjoldbjærg, the showrunner of Occupied. We had to make credible the idea that modern Western society can be occupied overnight. However, shortly after filming began, Russia has invaded the Crimea and the Ukrainian crisis broke out. “
No way to change the scenario of the series whose shooting had already begun. Some details have been reworked according to the news “to make some sequences more credible, more dramatic. However, the correctness of the script was already present, said Erik Skjoldbjærg, thanks to research done upstream to politicians, judges, police officers, military strategists, who we asked the question: “What if it happened?” “L writing, close-quarters shooting, allowed to stick as close to the news and integrate real facts.
Before the Ukrainian crisis
Occupied triggered strong tensions between Norway and Russia of Vladimir Putin (read below). At the beginning of filming, the producer Marianne Gray had yet bothered to consult the Russian diplomacy had no complaints. But that was before the Ukrainian crisis.
Since then, the Russian Embassy in Oslo has expressed strong dissatisfaction with regard to writers who have “forgotten the heroic efforts of the Soviet Army in the liberation of Norway. ” Marianne Gray pleaded not guilty. She claims to have had no intention of provoking a diplomatic incident: “The series is not made to provoke the Russians. They felt stigmatized but we have not sought to designate them as the “bad guys”. Occupied mostly Norwegians questioned on the topic: who are we “
But the series is not directed only to Norwegians. She captivates well beyond the borders of this small country with its universal themes, freedom, sovereignty, the commitment, the power of the press. And ecology, of course, a hot topic about ten days of COP21.
* Jo Nesbo has just published The Son, Editions Gallimard, collection Black Series.