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"Nos Amis": A Documentary, And The Paris Terrorist Attacks

  • Sam Mire
  • Feb 12, 2017 11:37AM

I am a fan of documentaries.

In particular, HBO has produced a number of reality-based films that I have thoroughly enjoyed. So when I saw the trailer for ‘Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis’ I naturally added it to my list.

What I did not initially consider when I saw this preview was how the families and friends of the 130 victims lost in the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris would receive the film, or if they would even be able to watch.

The Eagles of Death Metal were the band performing at the Bataclan music hall when the attacks commenced, with 89 victims being gunned down in a frenzy of confusion and subsequent terror.

The film explores the attacks, but also documents the Eagles’ return to Paris three months after to finish the show that was interrupted by tragedy- though they would not be performing at the Bataclan.

As is the case with any act of mass violence, there is a heated debate over whether it is appropriate to give such a horrendous act of evil more publicity. Those who produce such a film almost always dedicate it to the victims of the respective attack, but the contention that terror-related documentaries force victims and their relatives to relive the trauma has merit.

In the case of ‘Nos Amis,' the sister of one of the Bataclan victims has voiced her concern about the motives of the filmmakers, as well as how the advertisements have caused her anguish:

“I feel I am living through the nightmare of that night once again,” Nathalie DuBois-Sissoko said. “The teaser is everywhere on social media, the media, interviews and HBO has been announcing it a few times a day on its channels. I reached out to the filmmakers and got no answer. Our lives will never be the same. This is exploiting the deaths of dozens of innocent people.”

She notes a particular scene in the trailer in which the screen goes black, followed by a barrage of gunshots. She was told that her brother was one of the first victims to be struck, and that she cannot help but be reminded of this each time she hears those shots.

Not only do I completely understand her perspective, I cannot even imagine what it was like to lose her brother, Fabrice DuBois, so unexpectedly and violently at only 46 years of age.

Before I proceed, I should make clear that I am not telling those who lost friends and family how to feel, but I am going to play filmmaker’s advocate in attempting to explore how this documentary can result in some positives, the profit anybody makes from the film not being included.