Albert Serra plunges into the ghostly depths of paradise with “Pacifiction.”
Deemed the best film of the year by Cahiers du Cinema, “Pacifiction” stars Benoît Magimel (“The Piano Teacher”) as a French government official who investigates the sighting of a submarine that indicates the return of nuclear testing on Tahiti.
In “Pacifiction,” on the French Polynesian island of Tahiti, the High Commissioner of the Republic and French government official De Roller (Magimel) is a calculating man with flawless manners. His somewhat broad perception of his role brings him to navigate the high-end “establishment” as well as shady venues where he mingles with the locals. Especially since a persistent rumor has been going around: the sighting of a submarine whose ghostly presence could herald the return of French nuclear testing.
Marc Susini, Alexandre Melo, Pahoa Mahagafanau, Matahi Pambrun, Sergi López, and Montse Triola also star in the film from writer-director Serra (“Liberté,” “The Death of Louis XIV”). Serra, Pierre-Olivier Bardet, Montse Triola, Dirk Decker, Andrea Schütte, Joaquim Sapinho, Marta Alves, and Laurent Jacquemin serve as producers, with Grasshopper Film and Gratitude Films distributing.
IndieWire’s Christian Blauvelt wrote in his A-rated review that “Pacifiction” is “not a vicarious experience of luxury; it is an experience of life. Set to its own tidal rhythm, it is one of the most beautiful and rigorously introspective movies of this or any year, a film that makes you deeply ponder the fate of humanity itself.”
Blauvelt continued that the feature is a “vital” film because “it’s a movie for a culture constantly patting itself on the back but in desperate risk of repeating all its previous mistakes,” writing, “We delude ourselves in thinking colonial exploitation was left behind in the 20th century (along with nuclear tests). Or maybe we choose to ignore what’s right in front of us. What do you want next when you already have paradise? Well, it’s only a paradise if you can keep it.”
“Pacificition” premieres at Film at Lincoln Center in New York City February 17, followed by a national rollout.
Check out the trailer and poster below.