The documentary “Douce France” accompanies the awakening of citizens of high school students

The opinion of the “World” – To see

Sweet France sweeps away the clichés about young people who have lost the taste for debate and ideas. Geoffrey Couanon’s documentary follows a handful of high school students (in Economic and Social First) who are carrying out a study on the EuropaCity project, a mega-complex of leisure and shops, which was to be built on the agricultural lands of Gonesse (Val-d’Oise ), in the Parisian suburbs – the government finally buried him in November 2019, in front of the sling of opponents denouncing ecological nonsense.

As a reminder, EuropaCity promised to attract 30 million visitors per year, with its leisure parks (there was even a question of ski slopes), its cultural facilities, its hotels and shops, at the cost of the artificialization of 80 hectares of land. cereal crops.

Read also Europa City, or the art of building ski slopes in the Parisian suburbs

The film focuses on three young people in particular, Amina, Sami and Jennyfer, who take charge of the file and try to get an idea, by going in contact with the local population, by listening to elected officials, by discussing the issues with their teacher and their class. The film captures the silences and the faces of high school students, who are sometimes taken aback. The exchange of arguments can shake their certainties, instill doubt.

Debate without fighting

To Sami, who discovers the peasant world and wants to save farmland from concreting, a friend asks this poisonous question: “Do you see yourself a farmer later?” “ The profession is not necessarily attractive, seen from afar, but when the trio of investigators take the time to meet a couple of farmers and take an interest in the functioning of an AMAP (association for the maintenance of peasant agriculture ), the agricultural world suddenly seems more in tune with their times.

Sweet France tells a new generation that is wary of the old consumerist world promising wonders: a shopping center will create jobs, boost real estate, they are told, but the chorus is starting to date. Sweet France refers to the song by Charles Trenet (released in 1943) and to the attachment of young people to their territory. But the film also has a little air of Sentimental crowd (1993) who would not “Only non-commercial things”, Alain Souchon’s hit. Each in their own way, Amina, Sami and Jennyfer embody a gentler France, where you can debate without fighting, which is not so common in today’s times.

French documentary by Geoffrey Couanon (1 h 35).