On the set of Germinal, the future historical saga of France 2 in the form of a “mining western”

REPORTAGE – Twenty-eight years after Claude Berri, France Télévisions is investing heavily in adapting Émile Zola’s masterpiece with Alix Poisson and Thierry Godard in the shoes of the most famous striking miners in literature. This series will be broadcast next fall.

We can spot it from afar, this white light that stands out against the dark shallot fields. The 18,000-watt spotlight illuminates what is advertised as the great fictional fresco for fall 2021. Pointing to a street stained with straw and mud, it illuminates black coal figures. We are on the side of Valenciennes, in Marchipont, on the set which is nearing the end of the series Germinal. A new adaptation of Zola co-produced by France Télévisions, the Italian RAI and the Salto platform. A budget of 1.3 million euros just for the sets and 2,400 extras in total.

To hide the plaster of the houses in the village, half-timbered sections imitate red bricks. Exterior day. Under the rain. Families of starving miners throw stones at the church where the director has taken refuge. Coming out of an artificial smoke, seven mounted gendarmes fall on them. The stuntmen fire blank. Three cameras and a three-meter boom capture this scene

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