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BBFC RatingPacifiction

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GenreDrama, Thriller
Director(s)Albert Serra
Writer(s)Baptiste Pinteaux, Albert Serra
LanguageFrench, English, Polynesian, Portuguese
CountryFrance, Spain, Germany, Portugal
Running Time2HR 45MINS
Extra InfoEnglish subtitles
SeasonMain Programme

One of our programmer's picks of the year so far - Albert Serra’s hypnotic, dark film centres on a government official in Tahiti (played by a superb Benoît Magimel), who embodies the greed, hypocrisy and paranoia of colonial power.

French High Commissioner De Roller (Magimel) travels around Tahiti in his cream suit, attending various engagements where he is always mediating, always performing. In every encounter, whether with indigenous dancers, local politicians or fellow expats, his sense of colonialist entitlement is ever-present.

But growing rumours of a submarine on the coastline and an increased presence of marines arriving on the island stoke fears of renewed nuclear testing, unravelling the Commissioner’s increasingly volatile way of life.

Though there is never an obvious moment of violence or drama, an implicit tension permeates the whole film. Serra (The Death of Louis XIV) is known for his distinctive and provocative style, and here he has created another original, highly saturated cinematic experience. Powered by Artur Tort’s sensuous cinematography and sublimely unhurried performances, Pacifiction is utterly engrossing. Experienced on a big screen, the contrast between the suffocating claustrophobia of De Roller’s authority and the vast, ferocious Pacific waves is overwhelming.

"Set to its own tidal rhythm, it is one of the most beautiful and rigorously introspective movies of this or any year." indieWire

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