November 13: Attack on Paris

Country: France (2018)

Duration: 3 episode

Directors: Gédéon and Jules Naudet

 5/5 

The November 2015 terrorist attacks on Paris were truly horrifying. Taking place only seven months after the terrorist massacre in January at the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, they ended a bloody and barbarous year in the city of lights and romance.

For many months afterwards, people all around the world made the French tricolour flag their Facebook profile picture in solidarity with not only the victims of these atrocities, but also a country which stood for so much wonderful art, culture, food, philosophy, love, and fun. All the things that make life worth living.

In November 13: Attack on Paris, a Netflix Original documentary series, the survivors of that wicked attack relive the cool Autumn night when they were plunged into the most terrifying situation imaginable, one that they could not have possibly anticipated as they set out to enjoy their respective Friday evenings at a soccer match, a rock concert and various brasseries in the city.

Be warned, this is incredibly emotional viewing. It is impossible to get through this film without feeling a mixture of sadness and anger at the sheer senselessness and brutality of what these innocent people had to endure. All of them are so candid and articulate about their memories from that night, even managing to add in moments of dark humour.

Emergency service personnel who were on the scene are also interviewed in the documentary and they are very honest about how shocked and disturbed they were by what they saw. Nothing could have prepared them for it. One said that it reminded him of Dante’s Inferno.

There is also some new information about what the people who were taken as hostages went through, as they were caught between the suicide bomber terrorists and the heavily armed French police.

November 13 is about desperation, loss and unbelievable human cruelty, but also bravery, the will to live and survival. Hopefully, the latter is mostly what you are able to take away from this film.

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