The Bureau Sales has launched sales on documentary “The Monopoly of Violence,” David Dufresne’s timely examination of police violence. The film was selected recently by Cannes’ parallel section Directors’ Fortnight.
Filmcoopi has picked up rights to the film in Switzerland, and O Brother has acquired rights for Benelux. Jour De Fête will release the film in France at the end of September.
In the film, Dufresne looks at how “as anger and resentment grow in the face of social inequalities, many citizen-led protests are being repressed with an ever-increasing violence,” according to a statement. The film “gathers a panel of citizens to question, exchange and confront their views on the social order, and the legitimacy of the use of force by the state.”
Dufresne said: “All countries around the world are faced with police violence. For democracies, it has become a crucial concern for their own survival.”
The film looks at social scientist Max Weber’s assertion that “the state claims the monopoly of legitimate violence.” It questions definitions of “state” and “legitimate violence,” and asks who should regulate this monopoly.
Yves Blosche at Filmcoopi said the film “questions how we treat each other as human beings.” It uses as an example police violence against the Yellow Vest movement in France, he said, “but it could have been a movement in Switzerland or anywhere else on this planet. It treats the topic of violence without simple stereotyping or pointing fingers, but with a holistic view on the topic. There is a strong message to it and it is important to share it with the public.”
O Brother’s Thomas Verkaeren said: “In the current international context, police brutality is unfortunately too present in the news not only in France but abroad. Belgium and The Netherlands are not left out. Regrettably, the film turns out to be very much universal.”
Dufresne, a former reporter with French newspaper Libération, contributed to Mediapart, a website specializing in investigative journalism. Over the past decade, he has created several online documentary projects, at the crossroads of journalism and cinema, most notably “Prison Valley” and “Fort McMoney.” His book “Dernière Sommation,” inspired by his experience investigating state violence, was a best-seller.
“The Monopoly of Violence” is produced by Bertrand Faivre at Le Bureau.