Jean-Xavier de Lestrade conducts investigative journalism

Children who faint while visiting a grain silo, breeders whose cows are sick and an agrifood giant that tries to deny all responsibility… There are so many disturbing clues that drive journalist Claire Lansel (Alix Poisson) to investigate a potential health scandal, while the idealistic deputy Guillaume Delpierre (Laurent Stocker), who has become the Minister of Agriculture, fights with the majority of the agricultural union and the young Chloé Forrest (Marilou Aussilloux) enters the a ZAD.

Then 3 × Manon and its sequel Manon, 20 years old, only the second time that director and co-screenwriter Jean-Xavier de Lestrade has reunited with the protagonists he has previously directed. “ I want to see how they evolve in different areashe explains. But on the condition that they no longer continue in the straight line of what they are doing in the Games of influence. It was necessary to step aside by going with the appearance of a journalistic investigation and also with something a little more sensitive and emotional.. »

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Journalism is a medium that is often portrayed, and sometimes badly, without much realism

After the first season shed light on the operation of lobbies through the pesticide scandal, this second opus follows the step-by-step slow-building investigation of journalist Claire Lansel: herself a former employee of a lobbying cabinet, he returned to his original profession , for a major daily newspaper; its search for evidence and testimonies, with its revelations and its impasses, provides an exciting framework for these new episodes.

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Visit of the newspaper “Le Monde”

Himself a former journalist and still a member of the Albert-Londres Prize jury, the director remains attached to this profession: ” It is a medium that is often shown, and sometimes badly, without much realism, but gives the imagination to the public. So I especially want to stay connected and trustworthy.To follow this idea, the team visited the offices of the newspaper Le Monde and got inspiration from some really curious journalists to feed the main character: ” There was one in particular that inspired us a little more than the others. He lives in Brittany and works at France Culture. He has done many shows on water, pollution and green algae. His life was even threatened at one point, as we see in the series. »

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Moving from fact to fiction, Jean-Xavier de Lestrade himself became the subject The Staircase, broadcast in October on Canal+. This American fiction is inspired not only by its popular series suspicions (2004), but it also features him and his team, from filming to editing: a performance that made him jump. “I was hurt because I was betrayed: I opened my archives and my notebooks to the author Antonio Campos, but, seeing the representation he made of our work, the way we thought, our ascent , and where – somewhere – we manipulate the truth, I saw that terrible scandal.»

Stay close to the truth

From this unfortunate experience was born a new caution for his future project,Sambara fiction for France Télévisions inspired by a real case as before Laëtitia: “You always have to be polite, but as I’ve said in this series, “polite” does not mean “hagiographic”. “Respectful” means being close to reality and the complexity of each of the characters. This is what we owe at least to the people we represent.»Sambarwill follow the investigation of a serial rapist in the north of France between 1988 and 2018, with the protagonists coming of age in the episodes. “It sheds a lot of light on how our society works, and that’s what’s always interesting about the news.»

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As for a third season ofInfluential gamesthe director does not forbid himself what Arte wants: “This field is inexhaustible. What we eat has a direct impact on our health! So we have some “under the pedal”, as they say. We can shift again, go to a different terrain or take a different angle.»

By Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, with Alix Poisson, Laurent Stocker, Pierre Perrier. 6 episodes of 60 minutes. Thursday, 8:55 pm (now available on

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