November is a race against the clock to stop another terrorist attack in Paris

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November is an adrenaline-filled feature film from director Cédric Jimenez, putting us at the heart of the terrorist investigation in the 5 days after the 13 November 2005 Paris attacks as the police urgently try to find those responsible and stop them from striking again.


The first sign for the police that something is seriously wrong in the French capital is that all the phones begin ringing one by one until all the phones in the office are ringing. It being a normal Friday night there is only one investigator in the office. It soon becomes apparent that something is very wrong. There have been a number of attacks on bars and a stadium in Paris.


Soon the empty office becomes filled to the brim with staff, all tasked with finding the perpetrators and stopping further attacks. The news soon comes that armed men have now entered a concert at the Bataclan. As the number of victims starts to mount, so does the pressure on investigators to work as quickly as possible.


Investigators are faced with an avalanche of calls to the terror hotline, with the unenviable task of trying to work out the relevant from the irrelevant. There are false leads and close calls, and shady characters who are engaged in criminal behaviour and acting accordingly shiftily but don’t have anything to do with these attacks. There are those suspected of links to the attacks and the attackers brought in for questioning who have no interest in helping the police.

November Novembre
Lyna Khoudri in the role of Samia
©Palace Films

Among all the callers is a woman named Samia played by Lyna Khoudri (The Extraordinary, the opening night film from AFFFF 2020), who calls and mentions a detail about the attackers that makes investigator Inès played by Anaïs Demoustier (who was in Incredible but True and Smoking causes coughing at this year’s AFFFF and in Anaïs in Love at last year’s AFFFF) think this information is worth pursuing. However, her colleague, Marco, played by Jérémie Renier (who was in 2021 film The Man in the Basement and the 2014 film Saint Laurent), is dubious and thinks Samia may be self-serving or simply lying to them. Both Anaïs Demoustier and Lyna Khoudri were nominated for the Best Supporting Actress award at the César 2023 for their roles in November. Both actresses have an impressive ability to portray intense emotion and tension on screen.


November also shows the toll on the investigators. Working day and night since the attacks, the investigators will and do make mistakes. They will show emotion and go too far. They will act in ways they wouldn’t normally if they were cool, calm and collected. These are humans after all. Humans doing everything they can to track down the remaining attackers before they attack again. The tension and pressure felt by the investigators is palpable. Moments of silence are few and far between and a strong juxtaposition which highlights just how chaotic the situation is.


November is a uniquely French terrorism film and in stark contrast to how Hollywood cinema would treat the subject. There is no need for dramatic music to make sure the audience is aware of the tension (Guillaume Roussel’s score was perfectly balanced for the film). Little is exaggerated. Even the scene depicting what was in reality an hour-long shootout with 5,000 rounds fired was short yet still accurately portrayed the intensity of that battle. Similarly, whereas in American crime shows and films, police are shown zooming in on blurry photos to get crystal clear images, in November, investigators are working with technology in the state that it actually exists – you cannot get a crystal clear image of a face from a blurred CCTV photo – is the person in that blurry image the person you think it is?


November is a film about the aftermath of the attacks, not the attacks themselves. The screenwriters and director together decided that they didn’t want to show the attacks – they didn’t want to re-enact them. Director Cédric Jimenez says he would never have made the film if it involved recreating the attacks, saying “I would have found this obscene, truly obscene”. Screenwriter Olivier Demangel said that “More than the shock, I wanted to work on the shockwave”. Those portraying victims of the attacks are on screen only briefly, but it is in the service of the investigation.

Fred played by Jean Dujardin may be supervising the investigation but is not the lead in the film. There isn’t one. 
©Palace Films

There is also no main character in November, which is apt as the investigation involves the pyramid structure within the DSAT. Supervising the investigation is Fred played by Jean Dujardin, who was nominated for the Best Actor award at the César 2023 for his part in the film (and was also in On the Wandering Paths at this year’s AFFFF). He reports to Héloïse played by Sandrine Kiberlain (Hear me out and Another World from last year’s AFFFF. Co-ordinating the investigators is Marco. Then there are Inès and the other officers working on the investigation and surveillance.


November was nominated for an impressive 7 awards at the César 2023: Best Director, Jean Dujardin for Best Actor, both Anaïs Demoustier and Lyna Khoudri for Best Supporting Actress, Best Editing, Best Sound, and Best Visual Effects. Sadly, it didn’t win in any of the categories but as always, it was tough competition.

November/ Novembre
Anaïs Demoustier in the role of Inès was nominated for the César for Best Supporting Actress
©Palace Films

November is a nail-biting, adrenaline-charged film looking at Paris’ 2015 terrorist attacks though a new lens – the police investigation of a lifetime. With a superb cast and factual storytelling, it’s definitely worth seeing.


Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Palace Films at an advanced media screening of the film


November was released in France in October 2022 and made its Australian debut at the Alliance Française French Film Festival ahead of a general release by Palace Films next week on 11 May 2023.


Another film from the AFFFF which has since been released is The Innocent. Read our review of that here.


You may also like read our other reviews of AFFFF films:

A good Doctor delivers a dose of hilarity in the unexpected

Country Cabaret: a fun farm film to see at AFFFF 2023

Everybody Loves Jeanne: a funny and touching exploration of our inner thoughts and overcoming grief

Final Cut: a comedic zombie film that’s even for people who don’t like horror or gore

Happy 50

Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde is a fun adventure

Lie With Me

In On the wandering paths, Jean Dujardin takes the path less travelled

Paris Memories

Ride Above is an inspiring, but predictable, film about finding the courage to ride again

Silver Rockers: a film inspired by the story of rocker retirees from Normandy

Sugar and Stars: an inspiring tale about the road to sweet success

The Colours of Fire: an heiress seeks revenge

The Origin of Evil is a must-see film this AFFFF

The Tasting is a film with depth and elegance

Umami is a feature film that should have been a short

For events with links to France, French language and culture and the francophonie happening in Australia this month, check out our What’s on in May.



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