“We thank everyone at Electronic Arts, Respawn and Oculus [Studios] “, listed the American director Anthony Giacchino, on April 25 in Los Angeles. He had just received the prize for best short documentary, along with Alice Doyard, his French co-producer, during the 93e Oscars ceremony.
We may be surprised to hear the names of video game studios Respawn Entertainment and Electronic Arts, as well as that of Oculus Rift, the Facebook subsidiary responsible for the development of virtual reality headsets, cited during the ceremony of the most prestigious American cinema: Colette, the award-winning film, was first produced for the video game “Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond”, released on December 11, 2020.
It was commissioned to be part of a gallery of mini-documentaries dedicated to WWII veterans, available in addition to the video game, whose scenario takes place during the conflict. According to a press release by Oculus Rift in March, the studio has “Recognized the cinematographic value of the film” and decided to broadcast it before the game’s release – this is the website of the British daily The Guardian who distributed it, posting it on its website on November 18, 2020.
This moving documentary, nearly twenty-five minutes long, entirely in French, centers on the figure of a former French resistance fighter, now in her nineties. He tells of his trip to the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp, where his brother, resistance member, died. She is accompanied there by a Frenchwoman of seventeen then, Lucie Fouble, presented in the film like a budding historian.
Neither of the two protagonists of the film, however, was able to attend the award ceremony, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As director Anthony Giacchino immediately recalled when he received his statuette, Colette was celebrating her birthday (the ninety-third) on the same day.
Apart from its historical context, this true and moving story, however, bears no relation to the plot of Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond. Released on December 11, 2020, this virtual reality war game offers to immerse yourself in the battles of the Second World War and to face the troops of Nazi Germany.
The title thus proposed to reconnect with a formula that made the success of the series, launched in 1999 on the first Playstation console, and a time spearheading first-person shooters.