Police (Night Shift) press conference with Anne Fontaine, Virginie Efira and Omar Sy
The prolific and always dependable Anne Fontaine came to this year’s Berlinale with a lot of justified confidence in her project, given that the international distribution rights were sold shortly before the film’s premiere as a Special screening. Police has elements of a procedural, while also delving into the private lives of a trio of three Parisian police officers tasked with transporting a prisoner to Charles de Gaulle Airport for deportation. The officers begin to query the order, and the question of disobedience raises its uncertain head.
It was the ambiguity of the character Virginie (played by Virginie Efira) that first attracted Fontaine to the story. The director said, “What’s beautiful is that this young policewoman – she’s on a mission which she has not fully understood; she is not trained to do such a deportation. And this person is going to be shaken. So the choice is, does she obey orders, or does she say no: we do not read the file, we do not take interest in the destiny of this man, otherwise we cannot be cops. So there is a subversive element in her. She disobeys, and this is also her salvation.”
Elfira was equally enamoured with her character, with the actress saying: “I really liked the idea of bravery, and this is something that you cannot decide way in advance. It’s something that takes hold of you, and it’s something that’s linked to your thoughts about the world. You don’t think, oh – in 30 minutes I will be courageous and brave. It’s the body that decides – it takes over. And she cannot stay and not do anything. So it’s her body that starts moving. It’s not her mind that tells her, well, what are the pros, what are the cons? So this bravery just arrives, and it contaminates the others.”
Omar Sy continues to alternate between French-language projects and Hollywood fare (the actor appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past). Asked if he could identify with the hidden, sensitive side of his character, Sy said: “I was sensitive before I did the film, and this is why I agreed to do the film. And of course, as I go along I understand maybe even more, but the sensitivity was there from the onset.”
Police (Night Shift) does not have a UK release date yet.
Read our review of Police (Night Shift) here.
Read more reviews from our Berlin Film Festival 2020 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Berlin Film Festival website here.