This article is also available in: Italiano
Les Blues – Une autre historie de France tells the epic of the Bleus from 1998 to 2016 and the role it played, willy-nilly, in the history of integration in France. One of the most complete socio-sports documentaries ever, thanks also to the many interviews with the protagonists.
Les Blues – Une autre historie de France
The documentary addresses the changes underway in French society from 1998 to 2016, focusing on the contribution that the national team has played in the integration process. For those who do not know, in fact, for years the Bleus have been considered one of the greatest symbols of cohesion of the French people, thanks also to the countless second generation stars. Characters such as Zidane, Henry, Anelka and Benzema have literally transformed public opinion thanks to their sporting achievements, earning the difficult role of symbols rather than players.
Zidane of France
The documentary divides the French epic into 3 major historical moments, starting with 1998, the year of the World Cup and the birth of the “Black-blanc-beur”. The latter was a way to identify the French national team when it began to introduce more and more players with different origins and “colors” into its staff. The absolute emblem of that generation is Zinedine Zidane, thanks to whom for the first time the “beurs”, or children of Maghrebi immigrants in France. In fact, Zizou was one of the first to jealously defend his family’s homeland, coming to hope for a draw during the first friendly match against Algeria.
It was precisely in that match in 2001 that the controversy about “French identity” was rekindled stronger than ever, questioned more than ever by the fans. These whistled the Marseillaise and launched into continuous invasions of the field, which caused the game to be suspended in the 75th minute. The episode marked the beginning of an increasingly disastrous fall for the Blues, as well as the beginning of the fortunes of the National Front. In fact, with the defeats of the national team, Le Pen began an ever stronger rise in the hearts of the French, combining more and more football and politics.
Domenech and Blanc
In 2004 Raymond Domenech will take the reins of the team, a coach considered by many to be eccentric but who will greatly contribute to upset, first for good and then for bad, the locker room. With him, the players are led to inform themselves, to get to know their opponents and to rediscover their origins. Not surprisingly, with him in charge, France will play their first match in Fort-de-France, the capital of Martinique. It was the first time that the Bleus played in these territories, an incredible opportunity for players such as Thuram and Henry, originally from those places. It is useless to dwell on the 2006 World Cup because we Italians remember it all too well, but it is very interesting from 2010 onwards, a period of real crisis.
In fact, a real scandal broke out in the South African retreat in 2010, with Nicolas Anelka going from symbol to becoming a real enemy n ° 1 of the national team. A disagreement with Domenech will lead him to an early retirement, which will bring the whole team into revolt and to an increasingly “repressive” attitude of the federation. At the end of the dramatic African world championships, in fact, Laurent Blanc will be placed at the helm, a perfect representation of the political change of the Sarkozy era. The new coach will oblige his players to learn to sing the Marseillaise and forgo halal meals. I do not pay, it will also be said that I agree to impose “quotas” on the maximum number of Arab-Africans present in the national team.
Media and non-media bombs
For this reason, and for poor sporting results, the coach then made room in 2012 for Didier Deschamps, current coach of the Bleus. The latter’s work was above all to recompose, to design a new mentality and a new group, especially in light of the upcoming French Europeans in 2016. The undertaking was made difficult above all by what exploded out of the locker room and that, unfortunately, it will not always hit only the team. In particular, 2015 will prove to be a year of lead, with 2 attacks and a scandal to have a strong impact on the national team.
On January 7 there will be the Charlie Hebdo attack, but it will be that of the Bataclan in November that will shock the players, marking them and all of France deep scars. The subsequent story involving Benzema, Valbuena and compromising photos makes the group even more vacillating; who, however, will find the strength to get up for the European Championship, coming one step away from the dream.
Really beautiful and interesting, as well as being full of interviews with the protagonists of these events. One of the best socio-sports documentaries we’ve ever seen.
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