Macron mercilessly mocked by Cannes film laying bare French President’s failings

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“The Divide” premiered at the world’s largest film festival and claims to present a snapshot of social tensions in the republic. Set in a hospital, it was conceived before the pandemic but filmed during the country’s first strict lockdown when Mr Macron’s fruitless attempts to control the spread of the virus made him look even weaker to critics.

The film centres on characters from distinct walks of life – including a down-on-his-luck truck driver and a Parisian cartoonist – who collide in a hospital during the anti-government “Yellow Vest” protests.

The demonstrations began in 2018 in protest against the high cost of living and often turned violent as the President battled to reform France’s bloated public sector.

Filmmaker Catherine Corsini, who spent time in hospitals and talking to “Yellow Vests” to prepare the movie, said she would above all campaign on behalf of hospitals.

In a direct plea to Mr Macron, she said: “I would tell him to double the salary of all health workers.”

Ms Morsini added its premise was now even more relevant as hospitals had come under additional strain during the pandemic.

Along with the professional actors, a real-life nurse was cast to play a hospital worker who tirelessly tries to cope with a lack of medication, faulty equipment and unhinged or stressed-out patients.

Actress and nurse, Aissatou Diallo Sagna, said: “I have really felt that fatigue, that lack of consideration.”

The film, which cuts from one frantic scene to another, relies on humour to make its point, as tempers fray and the characters argue or bond over the chaos unfolding around them.

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Cannes returned this year after a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic.

It often includes overtly political films and this year’s competition has several entries set in contemporary France.

The news emerged as Mr Macron faces an increasingly tough battle to win another term in office at next year’s election.

One expert said his chances are hanging by a thread after the emergence of centre-right candidate Xavier Bertrand.

Dr Joseph Downing, an LSE Fellow in Nationalism at the LSE’s European Institute, said such was Mr Bertrand’s impact it was now his election “to lose” – especially given Mr Macron’s “extreme unpopularity”.

Dr Downing told “It is very interesting because to a certain degree his party are slightly lukewarm on him with some sources calling for a open Republican primary to select a candidate:

“However, this non-withstanding, I think the election could well be his to lose.”

He explained: “Macron is extremely unpopular and (far-right National Rally leader Marine) Le Pen it seems has failed to capture the imagination of the mainstream.

“At this point we can say that her rebranding of her party has been a failure.

“Additionally, a right-wing candidate would be ‘right’ enough to split the possible support of both (Mr) Macron and (Ms) Le Pen.”

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