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Pacifiction, director Albert Serra


Tourment sur les îles

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Albert Serra casts his eye on the tropics with this beguiling, satirical film. Benoît Magimel plays De Roller, the High Commissioner of French Polynesia, who has a problem on his hands: the French Marines have arrived on the islands, and their presence coincides with rumours that nuclear testing is soon to commence. De Roller sets out to investigate, but he’s repeatedly stalled and stymied. As the threats to his power grow, so does his pique, and soon he’s lost in a miasma of suspicion and resentment.

Shooting in widescreen, VIFF alumnus Serra conveys the lushness and languor of the tropics. From the menace of a darkened nightclub to the of the vastness of the Pacific waters, he conjures a milieu that is equally intoxicating and mysterious. An added delight is the colourful cast of characters: the beautiful, demure Shannah (Pahoa Mahagafanau); the drug-addled Admiral (Marc Susini); and the menacing Portuguese (Alexandre Melo). Pacifiction is moody, mellow, and (as storytelling) very murky, but it casts a haunting spell.


Supported by


Benoît Magimel, Pahoa Mahagafanau, Marc Susini, Matahi Pambrun, Alexandre Melo, Sergi López

Country of Origin





In French and English with English subtitles

Film Contact
165 min

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Albert Serra headshot, Pacifiction director

Albert Serra

Born in Banyoles, Spain in 1975, Albert Serra is a Catalan artist and director. His first feature, Honor of the Knights, was presented at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight in 2006. In 2013, he received the Golden Leopard at Locarno Film Festival for Story of My Death, a film inspired by Casanova’s memoirs. The Death of Louis XIV, starring Jean-Pierre Léaud as the Sun King, was an official selection for Cannes in 2016. Liberté won the Special Jury Prize at the 2019 Un Certain Regard section in Cannes.

Filmography: Honor of the Knights (2006); Story of My Death (2013); The Death of Louis XIV (2016); Liberté (2019)