“Right now, fiction is the best way to tell how the world works. It is what captures reality or, at least, a part of it.” So says director Xavier Giannoli, son of famous French journalists. “If you look at the front pages of French newspapers, it is difficult to find a single aspect on which they agree. There are no more facts, only opinions remain,” complains the director in Paris, where he presents blood and moneywhich is his first television series.
It was the newspapers that made Giannoli aware of the so-called scam of the century that inspired his fiction, taken from the book of the same name by journalist Fabrice Arfi. The scandal began in 2005, when the European Union adopted a carbon tax to fight global warming. The measure gave rise to an organized gang with members in various parts of the world who in the following years defrauded between 10,000 and 20,000 million euros with VAT from shell companies.
What has been the great success of recent French fiction is a thriller financial and emotional that does not need grandiloquence or explosions to build its strong tension. In its first six chapters (already available on Filmin, which will distribute the other six on March 26), the foundations are laid for a story of passions that go beyond greed.
In the fiction created with Giannoli (which he just adapted Lost illusions, based on a text by Balzac), a police officer with a solid moral code and a tragic look played by Vincent Lindon investigates the case. It tirelessly follows the unlikely union between a group of criminals from Belleville, the Parisian neighborhood built by immigration, and a millionaire addicted to gambling and risk.
blood and money investigates the controversial and gigantic scam. Although, still being a fiction, she constructs her own chronology of events and reinvents or merges some of her main characters to diagnose today’s Europe, sick of the most cynical of capitalisms.
Giannoli applies a pinch of Dostoevsky to Balzac’s realism. “Fabrice Arfi is a journalist and in his book he collects the facts. To do this, he focuses on the characters. I preferred to focus on the shadows of the characters; I wanted to show how current times speak through them,” says the director, a great follower of Martin Scorsese’s narrative precepts.
His father, Paul Giannoli, who died during the filming of this series, was unintentionally responsible for his cinematic vocation. At the age of eight, during a dizzying boat trip from Corsica to Marseille, he took him to the small cinema on the boat to see Wild bull. Even through cinema he instilled a moral code in him. “His favorite movie was Fire engine. When those runners who looked like angels who had fallen from the sky appeared, I said to myself, ‘this is the kind of man you need to be like,'” she recalls. The antagonists of blood and money They are the exact opposite of that reference. But Giannoli can’t help but be attracted to a type of character who is “victim of themselves”, he says.
To demonstrate that corruption and base passions colonize all French strata, Niels Schneider plays in blood and money to the rich young Attias, a role that Gaspard Ulliel began filming shortly before he died in a skiing accident in January 2022. Ramzy Bedia rounds out the main cast as Fitous, one of the swindlers who blends his street tricks with those financial companies of Attias, to create these shell companies in the organic sector. The two embody that class conflict that the director knows so well. His father was a self-made Corsican through journalism and his mother was a daughter of Parisian high society.
a tragic hero
The person in charge of indirectly explaining to the viewer the scam that triggers the plots of blood and money he is the most complex character, played by Vincent Lindon. The fictitious former director of the National Judicial Customs Service Simon Weynachter ferociously prosecutes this gang of criminals. He also does it for himself, to escape his personal chaos. Even though he skillfully masters the intricacies of this financial conspiracy, he is unable to help his drug-addicted daughter.
“As Simon’s reality reflects, no one controls or fails to control things. You can be the best in your career, the most powerful, the most moral, but there is nothing that allows you to avoid external aspects, such as the illness or pain of those close to you,” says Lindon, also in Paris.
The actor would have liked to collaborate again with Giannoli, with whom he had already met in the film I wait (2018), attracted by a story that contains in 12 chapters: “crime, money, love, taxes, ecology, drugs, the difficulty of being a father, and of being a son…”, he lists. The success he is achieving is just an extra that was not part of Lindon’s calculations, even if he extends a good period of success in his career that began almost ten years ago. Hero The law of the market (2015), by Stéphane Brizé, gave him his first awards after more than 30 years of profession: nothing less than the César and the award for best actor at the Cannes festival. It also allowed him to participate in other recent milestones of French cinema, such as Titan AND Fire.
Since nothing is in our control, Lindon tries to have fun along the way. “The law of the market It was a no-budget film that cost two euros and that we would shoot in less than two weeks with a camera smaller than my hand. I did it because I had nothing to lose. It’s easier to deal with failure by doing something that you’re at least passionate about than doing something that bores you,” he defends.
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