Directed by Romain Cogitore, A Place To Fight For is a French-language romance thriller centered around an eco-activist, Myriam, and an undercover police officer, Greg. The film focuses on a ZAD (Zone to Defend—land that is occupied to block developmental projects) where eco-activists gathered to block the construction of a dam. The police brought the protestors under control using tear gas and grenades. Greg started helping out the activists and, in the process, got injured. Even though he was a new face, he was immediately accepted as their own because of the dedication and commitment that he demonstrated. He met Myriam amidst the chaos. She helped him dress his wound and introduced him to the other protestors. Greg had successfully infiltrated the collective.
‘A Place To Fight For’ Plot Summary: What Is The Film About?
Myriam could sense the undeniable spark between her and Greg. Greg was initially hesitant about getting intimate with her, but he ended up going with the flow. At dawn, Greg woke up and stole a laptop from the room. Greg replaced the original hard drive with a spare one and kept it in a stranger’s car. The next morning, when the members of the collective realized that the laptop was missing, they doubted Greg. But soon they found the laptop in a red car and accused the owner of theft. That morning, the police destroyed the houses that the collective had built to curb the protest. They watched the house that they lived in the previous night crumble. Even though the police crushed the houses, they could not crush the spirit of the protestors. Soon, a protestor was informed that the new environmental impact study had been accepted by the court, and for eighteen months, no one could start any work on the land. While the protestors celebrated, Greg knew it was time for him to leave. He had a special connection with Myriam, but he was also aware of the consequences he would face if he got emotionally attached to her.
Greg handed the hard drive to his supervisor, Severine. She was impressed with how quick he was with his undercover tasks. Even though Greg wanted to be assigned to another project, Severine informed him that the minister wanted to keep an eye on Busset ZAD and that he was best suited for the job. While Greg had spent some time with the collective, his opinions had not changed. He believed that a power plant was necessary for the people and that a decision that was made democratically must be respected. His beliefs did not align with Myriam’s, but when it came to identifying the activists present there, he chose not to disclose her name.
Why Did Greg Return To Busset Zad?
After eighteen months, Greg was asked to return to Busset ZAD to find two Germans who had been involved in high-speed train sabotaging. According to the collected information, they were hiding among the activists. Greg returned to the zone and was surprised to find a baby living with the group. He also met his German targets, and he had to find a way to enter their room. But before focusing on his assignment, he had to come up with a way to silence the baby. Suzanne was the only person Greg knew in the house, and she asked him to look after the boy. The baby enjoyed watching Greg make a duplicate copy of the target’s room key with a used can.
Myriam returned home that night and found Greg with little Theo. She gradually revealed that Greg was Theo’s father. After finding out that she was pregnant, Myriam tried to contact him, but she could not find him anywhere. Greg was completely shocked by the turn of events and left the room. He knew that Theo would make it difficult for him to leave, and he tried to find a way to hand over the job to someone else. Severine was not ready to listen to his excuses, and he was asked to leave a gun in the Germans’ room to frame them.
Why Was Greg Arrested?
Greg left the gun in the room as instructed, but something happened in between that changed Greg’s mind. He found out that Theo was not registered as a French citizen, and he was worried that when the police entered the house to arrest the Germans along with the activists living with them, Theo would not have a place to go. His job would also be at risk if his secret ever came out. He decided to abort the plan and instead promised Severine that he would come up with a better plan to catch the Germans red-handed. He instigated the activists to destroy the bulldozers parked in the industrial area. The plan was to pour sugar into the tank so that once it caramelized, it would ruin the bulldozers. It was a protest to make it clear to the oppressors that they would destroy the tools that were used to silent them. Greg’s plan was working, but it backfired when Myriam decided to join as well. His plan was for the police to arrest the activists and Germans once they were in the industrial area, but he was afraid of any harm befalling Myriam and Theo. Greg started to question the decisions taken by the Government against individuals who were simply planning to pour sugar into tanks. He wondered how they were a threat to democracy when their actions could not be classified as violent. Severine explained that the decision was not based on the action but rather on maintaining the image of France globally. She advised Greg to work on the sabotage plan while she handled the paperwork for Theo.
When Myriam noticed strangers on bikes in ZAD, she decided to warn her friends about a possible police attack. Greg was not ready to risk Myriam’s life; he requested the group abandon the plan. The activists were not ready to leave without getting the work done. Greg was a little relieved when he could not spot any policemen on their way back. But suddenly, there were flood lights all around, and the activists were attacked by the police. Greg risked himself to protect Myriam, and he was arrested with the rest of the group. The policemen on the scene did not know that Greg was an undercover officer, and he was released the next day. Since his task was complete, he had to leave, but he was afraid that he would be considered a traitor if he suddenly disappeared. He needed to be arrested to make it look genuine, and he asked Severine for help.
‘A Place to Fight For’ Ending Explained: Why Did Greg Fake His Own Death?
Greg had grown attached to Myriam and Theo. What started out as another undercover task turned his life upside down. He was in love, and he cherished the time he could spend with his son. If it were up to him, he would have spent his entire life with them, but the situation he was in made it impossible. Myriam did not know who he was, and the truth would only hurt Myriam. There was no other option but to move away from them, and the decision was extremely painful. Greg informed Myriam that he had been called back to the police station. But before leaving, he decided to take a leap of faith and asked Myriam if she and Theo would travel abroad just to be with him. Abandoning the cause was not something Myriam had in mind, and she believed that Greg would be released from prison soon.
Greg left with Theo and drove to the city to discuss his situation with his mother. She advised him to return Theo to Myriam, and he realized he had made a mistake. He contacted Severine and asked her to send men to arrest him to prove to Myriam that he was not lying. Even though Myriam was disappointed in Greg for being irresponsible, she stated that she was ready to travel abroad with him. She wanted the three of them to be together, and she was ready to take her chances. They attempted to escape, but the police caught up with Greg. He was arrested, and Myriam did not hear a word from him. She received a postcard two months later with Theo’s citizenship documents. She contacted every Greg Bernard she could find on the internet, but none were the ones she was searching for. Without Greg and Suzanne, Myriam started to grow distant from the collective.
Meanwhile, Greg, with the help of his colleague, kept track of Myriam. He loved listening to her voice, and the phone calls she made were his only way to know what was going on in her life. Through the calls, he found out that Myriam had contacted the judge presiding over the construction equipment sabotage case. She admitted that she, too, was involved in the plan and wanted access to his file. Greg immediately contacted Myriam and asked her not to get involved in the case. Myriam was confused and emotional; she desperately wanted to help Greg. Ultimately, Greg decided to confess the truth. Everything that Myriam was trying to protect started to fall apart. She trusted Greg, and when he turned out to be a cop, the family she dreamed of suddenly became impossible to imagine. She had dedicated her life to the collective and the movement, yet their sacrifices went unnoticed. She realized that their anger was wasted, and everything that they tried to build with love and sweat could so easily be reduced to dust. She started to question every decision she made, and in that moment of confusion and frustration, she came across the beanie that Theo’s grandma had gifted him. She realized that the man she loved was not Greg Bernard but Gregoire Maynial and that he was indeed a cop.
Myriam wanted the world to know about how the Government illegally infiltrated a collective to gather information against them. Greg contacted Myriam and requested that she not disclose the truth to protect herself and Theo. Myriam was ready to step down if only Greg agreed to tell the entire truth to the whole world. Greg was initially hesitant, but he decided to take the risk. He believed that he could start over again if he contacted the journalist interested in covering the truth. As it turns out, Greg confessed the truth to the world, and as a result, the trial for the construction equipment sabotage case was canceled. We can also assume that the construction project would also take a backseat considering the unlawful means the police used to fight the protestors. Meanwhile, Greg seemed to have committed suicide after confessing the truth, knowing the consequences he would have to face otherwise. He once discussed how a colleague who was in a similar situation had disclosed his relationship to the headquarters, and he disappeared soon after. The door of his car was left open, and there was no trace of him. Greg’s scene was just the same: his car door was left open, and he was gone. Was it a disappearance or a death?
A Place To Fight For fast-forwards to three years later—Myriam had moved abroad with Theo and taught at a local school. It is also soon revealed that Gregoire Maynial neither disappeared nor died. From the moment he decided to contact the journalist, he knew that he would have to start his life all over again. By setting the disappearance scene similar to his colleague’s, he seemed to have convinced everyone else that he was killed by the Government. Meanwhile, he used his contacts to find a way out of the country. Since he was an undercover officer, he did not have any trouble blending in. In the end, it is up to Myriam to decide if she wants to trust the man who once betrayed her or continue living her life with Theo. Since Gregoire confessed the truth and lived up to his promise, we can assume that Myriam will forgive him and that he will get another chance to make things right. A Place To Fight For ends on a positive note, with the lovers reuniting after going through harsh situations. Myriam also teaches the future generation about the importance of keeping Mother Nature alive and the damage that developmental projects can bring to the world. Myriam found a rhythm to her life, and hopefully, her dream of living with the man she loved will finally get fulfilled.
Is It Based On True Events?
A Place To Fight For is inspired by true events. In 2011, there was a raging scandal about cops infiltrating green protest groups. There were accusations that the infiltrators attempted to disturb peaceful protests. Not only that, they were found to be the ones planning and paying to execute disruptive ideas. Undercover cops even had children with the activists, and once their missions were terminated, they disappeared. One is left to wonder how conflicted the infiltrators must have always felt. They were lying and deceiving every minute and betraying the people who considered them their friends. Arrests were made on charges of conspiring to occupy the Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, and later, when it was discovered that an undercover cop played a crucial role in instigating the entire idea, six activists were released from prison.
Romain Cogitore had spent a considerable amount of time studying environmental issues, and he lived at a ZAD to understand the situation better. While the film is partially inspired by true events, Cogitore adds elements of romance and conflict to make it all the more interesting. The character Greg embodies the external conflict. At one point, he realizes that the eco-activists are not the terrorists they were portrayed to be, but at the same time, he has to work against their interests. Theo changed Greg’s perspective completely. He no longer wanted to be a part of the dirty politics and strategies used to bring about destruction. He started to think about the future, and the importance of protecting the environment and the people he loved became crucial. The short-term satisfaction of getting promoted was replaced by the long-term desire to provide a better life for his son. Even though fictitious, the added romantic touch does wonders for the film, and the emotions strike the right chord.