‘The Artist’ Director Michel Hazanavicius to ISIS: ‘You Can’t Win’

Michel Hazanavicius ISIS Letters
Matt Baron/BEI/REX Shutterstock

Michel Hazanavicius, the helmer of Oscar-winning “The Artist,” “OSS 117” and “The Search,” is a leading figure of the French film industry, as well as an outspoken advocate for social/political issues and civic liberties. Hazanavicius, who has a taste for burlesque comedy and provocative satire as shown in Jean Dujardin starrer “OSS 117,” penned a razor-sharp open letter to ISIS explaining it can’t defeat France’s epicurean lifestyle and values.

Here are some excerpts:

Daechois, Daechoises (Daech is a word for ISIS):

So that’s it, it’s official, you are at war against us. What’s frustrating is that you wear no uniform or distinctive sign so we don’t know how to identify you, and we therefore have no one to fight against.
Frustration which I hope won’t lead to wrong accusations.
Even if every death represents for you a victory, you must know that you will not win any time soon. In reality, it’s even impossible.
Because no matter what you do, you will not win. Here in France, what we love is Life. And all the pleasures that go with it.

For us, between being born and dying the oldest as possible, the idea is mainly to have sex, laugh, eat, play, have sex, drink, nap, have sex, discuss, eat, argue, paint, have sex, walk, garden, read, have sex, offer, argue, sleep, watch movies, scratch our balls, fart to make friends laugh, but more than anything have sex. We are the country of pleasure more than morale.

We like doing what we want. We try not to disturb others, that’s the idea, but we don’t like it very much when we’re told too loud what we must or must not do. That’s called freedom. Remember this word because deep inside that’s what you don’t like about us. It’s not about being French, caricaturists, Jewish, clients of cafes or fans of rock and soccer, it’s the freedom.

The second thing is that by killing that way, blindly, you run into the risk of killing French folks who are increasingly more representative of France.
At least by killing only Jews or cartoonists, the non-Jews who didn’t how to draw could always find you excuses or feel like strangers in this war, but now it’s going to be more and more difficult. Because by hurting a sample which is so representative of France, you’re going to hit the core of who we really are. So who are we, really? Well, that’s the beauty of it. We are many things. Of course there are some French French French. But there are also French Italians, French Spanishs, French Arabs, French Polishs, French Chineses, French Rwandais, French Senegaleses, French Algerians, French Berbers, French Ukrainians … French Catholics, French Jews, French Muslims, French Taoists; French buddhists, French atheists … left-wing French, right-wing French, Far-Right-wing French, there might even be French jihadists or even future French terrorists who you might killed.

The list could go on and on indefinitely. There are even people who are not French because since France is so beautiful, there are always and constantly a portion of our population that’s made up of tourists. That without counting the clandestines, who may not be officially French but who live here so technically you could kill them too. That’s what’s called equality.

When it comes to death, you can target whatever you want, you will hurt all of us. And we understand what you’re attacking. Our values. Simple. The ones that make life here the way it is. Imperfect, granted, with its injustices, that’s true, but there are the values that allow us to live here in the most dignified way as possible.

It’s the country that our fathers, the fathers of our fathers, and the fathers before them chose to live in and for which many before them fought for. And what’s going to happen, at one point or another, is that we’re going to act in solidarity, thanks to you. We’re going to understand that these values are in danger. And we’re going to cherish them even more. Together. That’s called fraternity.

That’s why you can’t win. You will cause deaths, yes. But in the eye of history, you will be nothing but the abject symptoms of a sick ideology. Of course we won’t win either. People will die, for no reason. Others will vote for Le Pen (s), Assad (s) or Putin (s) to get rid of you, and we might lose twice. But you will not win. And the ones who will remain alive will continue to have sex, drink, have dinner together, remember those who die, and have sex again.

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  1. Lisa says:

    He forgot to mention French-Canadian, which is an entirely different type of French, but French still.

  2. I love paris, the french people, and everything this wonderful have given to the world. These terrorist will never ever win!!! Viva la france!!!

    • Bill B. says:

      I’ve never been and regrettably probably never will, but I’ve always wanted to. My last name is French, so I gather I am from French decent and I have a friend who knows me well who says it’s where I belong. Unfortunately, a ticket to Paris didn’t come along with that comment. Sigh. Terrific letter.

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