Brexitanie, and the British in Occitanie


Brexitanie is a film created by film director Bérengère Casanova, who lives in Faugères, Hérault.  It features interviews by Anglophones in the region.  The hour long film will be transmitted on Monday 2 December at 10:50pm on France 3.

Twenty-seven thousand British people in Occitanie are facing Brexit, all the rules of the game will change. With humour, energy, sensitivity, whether they are winemakers or students, retirees, musicians or bistro owners, they explain their choice of a life made in France, in the Hérault or in the Gers, and their will to remain European.  It’s a co-production with France 3 / Equipage.

Bérengère first got the idea of the film while she was at the famous Cracker Fair last year!  She had this to say about the origins of the film.

As December approaches, it will not have escaped you that, in our region, the most beautiful Christmas markets are those organised by the British. The interest of these markets also lies in the muffins and other Christmas cakes to taste in a typical British atmosphere. Last year, under the awning of a “food truck” of fish and chips, an old Citroën tub repainted in the colours of the Union Jack, I asked myself about the influence and implication of the Anglo-Saxon community in the region.

Mr Fish and Chips, behind his stove, was having a conversation on the probabilities of a British departure from Europe. The tone was mostly anti Brexit. It was explained to me that the Pro-Brexit people had already left the region, it being difficult to continue living in France and to display emotions against Europe …

I perceived questions tinged with anxiety.  I started asking questions to my fish and chip neighbours: what were they doing in France?  Where did they come from? What did they think of Brexit?  Would they go back to England or stay in Occitanie?  In fact, the same question asked to the British during the June 2016 referendum: leave or remain?

The political soap opera that has been playing for three years in London and Brussels has suddenly taken on another reality. Because 27,000 Britons live in Occitanie, the waves of English politics are creating a stir right up to the edge of the Mediterranean.  I wanted to understand what they had come to look for here, in this southern culture so far from their roots, to know what their identity is today, and what it would be tomorrow.

A few months later, my English neighbours organised a party. They wanted to thank their French friends for welcoming them on what they call “a small piece of land”, and to testify to their desire to remain citizens of Europe in Occitanie. The movie started that night.

Here’s a clip of the film, and you can watch it in full on Monday evening at 10:50 pm on France 3.