Anode is the award-winning creator of popular productions such as “The Name of the Rose”, “Seven Years in Tibet”, “Fighting for Fire” or “The Enemy at the Gates”. In his latest work, based on extensive documentation, he meticulously reconstructs the tragic events. However, it is not a documentary. “A world star championship: Notre Dame. Its opponent is a sensitive and powerful demon: Fire. And at the center of the battle between these two giants, ordinary people are ready to sacrifice their lives to save important stones for their culture and national identity “- said the French director in one of the interviews.
The tragedy of the 860-year-old Mother of All Cathedrals was watched live by millions of people around the world three years ago by millions of people around the world. However, no one was aware of the scale of the drama that took place inside the temple. How difficult and dangerous are the decisions that the leaders of the rescue operation must make and how great are the sacrifices of those who were directly involved in putting out the fire and those who saved the valuable works of art. The Jean-Jacques Anode film shows these people up close. The tension-filled shots can be seen, among other things, behind the scenes of a dramatic fight to save the remains of Christ’s Crown of Thorns.
The screenwriters, Jean-Jacques Anaud and Thomas Bedigen, reveal a combination of seemingly impossible factors that led to the fire. Fully relying on the documents, they reveal many intricacies and obstacles. “If a screenwriter invented such a sequence of events, then this story would seem unbelievable. And yet it was one hundred percent correct” – confirms the director.
The film “Notre Dame is burning” shows that on the morning of April 15, 2019 a series of dramatic events began, which – as it is easy to see in the past – must have ended in disaster, big or small. However, the film is not intended to be a whistleblower or investigation. It describes what is known to the public, and focuses mainly on the heroic rescue of the cathedral dying in a fire. “We show how Notre Dame was saved, not how and why this beautiful building was nearly destroyed,” explains Jean-Jacques Anode.
The walls of the cathedral of Paris have survived, but the work of the French director does not hide the moments when it seemed that courage, experience and specialized equipment might not be enough to save her. “Notre Dame is burning” is also a tribute to the heroic firefighters. It focuses attention not only on the experienced rescuers leading the action, but also on a group of young people, some of whom encountered a raging fire for the first time in their lives. The film is also a portrait of the extraordinary situation of the thousands of Parisians who flock to the temple to support the heroes with prayer. Jean-Jacques Anod’s last painting shows the power of faith and the prayers of ordinary people in the face of the power of the destructive element.
Many people considered the fire a symbolic or even prophetic event. Not only did Catholics hold their breath as they watched hundreds of firefighters struggle to fight the element. The risks were too great. The walls of the “mother of all cathedrals” have survived. “Notre Dame has been through a lot, but it hasn’t given up,” said the director.
The film is distributed in Poland by Monolit Films and Rafael Film.
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