Disney+’s ‘A Place to Fight For’ (also known as ‘Une Zone à Défendre’) is a 2023 romantic thriller film directed by Romain Cogitore and starring François Civil and Lyna Khoudri in the lead role. The French-language film follows Greg, an undercover police lieutenant sent to spy on eco-activists at a ZAD (Zone to Defend). However, he meets Myriam, and they fall in love before Greg is forced to leave. Greg becomes torn between love and duty when he learns that Myriam has given birth to his child. The movie explores environmental and ecological conflicts in tandem with human drama, which resonates with the viewers. As a result, it is natural for viewers to wonder if the film is based on true events. If you are looking for details about the inspiration behind ‘A Place to Fight For,’ here is everything we know!
Is A Place to Fight For Based on a True Story?
‘A Place to Fight For’ is partially based on a true story. The film is based on a story by writer-director Romain Cogitore, who is primarily known for his work in French cinema, both in fiction and documentary filmmaking. Cogitore collaborated with screenwriters Thomas Bidegain and Catherine Paillé to write the screenplay for the film. The premise follows an undercover police lieutenant’s relationship with an eco-activist living in a ZAD (Zone to Defend). It deals with the complex politics of a ZAD and sheds light on the life of activists known as Zadists. The film is, at least in part, inspired by real events in England around 2011.
According to an interview with director Romain Cogitore, the concept for the film was inspired by true stories that occurred in England, where police officers infiltrated the eco-activist community. According to Cogitore, after their mission ended, police officers went to Kenya and were never seen again. A similar account is presented in a 2011 news report by The Guardian, which details the real-life account of two undercover police officers who had been sent to spy on political campaigners but secretly fathered children with them and later disappeared.
The film’s script was developed through a TorinoFilmLab script development program in 2016. In an interview, Cogitore revealed that he was touched by the fight of the eco-activists living in ZADs. Their radicalism and the sacrifices they made for a noble cause partially inspired him to make the movie. According to a press release on the TorinoFilmLab, Cogitore revealed the real-life 2011 scandal revolving around police officers and eco-activists in England. As a father, Cogitore was shaken by the news and compelled to explore it.
“Looking at this world, I see two sets of values clashing: the one of a rush towards modernity against the one of a return to nature. I believe both of them struggle inside us in our Western 21st century. And that is precisely what interests me in the character of Greg, this internal conflict in him that grows,” Cogitore said about the movie’s central conflict. “Rather than a militant movie, I want to get hold of this eco-fight-zone matter to deepen this issue. Looking to the future is also looking to one’s own disappearance,” he added.
For writing the script, Cogitore extensively researched ZADs and the people living there. To authentically capture the voice of the issues in the ZAD, the director spent time in a ZAD, living amongst environmental activists. Cogitore stated that he wanted to be extremely faithful, not to be above ground while telling the story of the ZAD and the investment of activists without glorifying or glamorizing any of its aspects. He also cited the book ‘Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police’ by journalists Rob Evans and Paul Lewis and spy films as an inspiration for the movie’s story.
From Cogitore’s words, it is evident that true events partially inspired the film, and the writer-director remained faithful to the experiences of those living in the ZADs. However, the film itself does not tell any singular true story but draws inspiration from real events to tell a fictional one. The environmental and political issues are merged with the philosophical and ethical issues faced by the fictional characters and layered into a love story, adding a sense of realism to the story.
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